RICHMOND, Va. -- Skill. Determination. Tenacity. Accuracy — all of these are considered important qualities in a leader, and are all key when choosing a sport that relies on a keen eye and steady hand to produce results.
Arwen Adams, just 14 years old, is a mounted archer. She does the activity while mounted atop her trusty steed Prince.
"I fell in love with him the day I met him," Adams said. "I felt something for him. I felt like we had a connection. That we, that when I looked at him, I was like, this is the horse I want. This is the horse I want to be with and ride."
Mounted or horse archery is a sport taking hold in the country. It already has a strong foothold globally.
"Well, it is an international sport. You can go to the other side of the world and compete."
The eighth-grader has spent some time on the road competing.
"I've been to Tennessee, Florida, down to Virginia Beach. I've even been to Michigan once," Adams said.
She currently sits 23rd on the United States Horseback Archery National Ranking.
"All the top five right now are adults that have been competing for a lot longer than I have," Adams said.
In competition, participants shoot sharpened arrows at inert targets.
"I want to spread the sport as far as it can go. I want to become a trainer and help youth grow into the sport because, without youth, the sport wouldn't grow," Adams said.
Her love of the sport has grown out of her love for animals.
"Animals help us in ways that we sometimes can't see," Adams said. "I thought it was amazing how animals can empower people and make them happy and joyous."
This led her to want to share what she knows about animals and how they make people happy.
"Families that are going through challenges, children that are going through challenges, such as childhood illnesses, come out here and sometimes, you can see that when those families first come, they look stressed, but when they leave this farm, they look happy, they're just happy," Adams said.
The farm started a nonprofit called Heart of a Warrior. The program gives families in need a positive and empowering experience.
"I believe God wants me to. I believe he led me to this path, he led me here and he wants me to do this and I'm listening to him," Adams said.
In April, a competition will be held at Meadow Event Park with competitors from across the country who will ride and shoot in the national ranking event.
The event will also be a fundraising effort for the Heart of a Warrior foundation.
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