Gorba corrals talent with passion

After winning the Western Horsemanship competition Sunny Gorba continues to improve her skills
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Sunny Gorba knows about the pageantry and precision it takes to compete in horse shows. But the 11-year-old Weimar Hills student would rather get her boots dirty and rope a calf. Gorba displayed her horsemanship skills back in July at the California State Fair. She won first place in Western Horsemanship in the FFA, Grange and Independent class on her horse, Gracie. Gorba enjoys the more practical side of riding, when she can ride trails or corral cattle. “It’s not the glittery, silver-plated show riding,” Gorba said. “It’s hard to describe the feeling of roping, it just feels happy. I love galloping.” Gorba began riding more than five years ago. Her grandfather introduced her to trail riding and she has since honed her skills in all aspects of riding. Chris Bugenig at Rafter 6B Ranch has been a valuable teacher for Gorba over the past four years. The ranch offers monthly clinics for riders of all ages and abilities and Gorba has enjoyed learning the different aspects of horsemanship. “She does the ranch work, which she’s been teaching me,” Gorba said. “I like the cattle work, which is when a cowboy brings a cow to the herd. You run past it and block it off. It’s kind of like in football when a player is covering a receiver.” Bugenig said Gorba’s skills are impressive, along with her horse, which was raised at Rafter 6B Ranch. “She’s quite advanced for her age group and the disciplines she does,” Bugenig said. “Before the state fair she had only had a few lessons in the horse show type events. She’s mostly been working in ranch work. You have to have a good horse too. She was raised her and we sold her to (the Gorba family).” Gorba said she plans on riding for many more years and may consider a career that involves horses. For now, she’s riding two to three times per week, preparing for the Versatility Ranch Horse Show at Rafter 6B Ranch on Oct. 31. For more information on the show, visit