By Regan Davis
Every horse has its story, and Hollywood Premier’s story is one-of-a-kind. The mare earned the Horse with the Most Heart award at the Sherry Cervi Youth Championships in Tucson, Arizona, from January 27–29, 2023.
When one chapter ends, another is soon to begin. The journey for Lexie Miller and “Lady” started five years ago, with the help of the Millers’ neighbors, Sherry Cervi and Sherry’s niece, Patsy Alexander.
Not long before Lady came to the Millers, Lexie’s previous horse sustained a serious injury. Patsy led the Millers to Lady. Lexie, at the time only 9 years old, and Lady, a little 16-year-old mare, joined forces. It was the perfect combination; a meant-to-be situation.
“I say a little prayer before my run, but I don’t have to think during my run,” Lexie said. “After her run, I give her a kiss and a cookie.”
Lady and Lexie grew together as an unbreakable team. Lady made adjustments to building Lexie’s confidence and skills into the horseman she is today. The mare took her job seriously, ensuring the safety of her partner and slowing down to the speed Lexie wanted.
“She’s always taken such great care of Lexie,” Lexie’s mom Juli Miller said. “She would only go the speed Lexie wanted. She knew she had a kid on her.”
In the beginning, the pair would occasionally hit the 3D. Over the years, confidence and speed gradually increased, as did their times, working up the ranks to clocking consistent 1D times.
Some horses have something about them that separates them from the rest. Lady has that thing. Regardless of the situation at hand, Lexie can guarantee Lady will pour her heart into her job.
“Horses with this heart go out there and do their job every time,” Lexie said. “They try no matter what.”
The Millers refer to these types of horses as tough and gritty beyond any outside circumstances.
However, just over two years ago, heartbreak struck for this team. An unusual accident resulted in broken withers for Lady. During this same timeframe, Lexie was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.
After time and healing for Lady, she made a full recovery, making her first run back after the accident at last year’s Sherry Cervi Youth Championships in Tucson. Not long to follow, Lexie and Lady won second in the average at the Arizona Junior High School Finals Rodeo, qualifying for the National-level competition.
“We really didn’t know if she was going to run again,” Julie said. “That was probably the first time their runs brought tears to my eyes.”
Lexie has been saving money to breed Lady for years with the dream to futurity the foal. Lady has rightfully earned her place in retirement where she will produce the next generation of winners for Lexie.
During Sunday’s competition, Lady made her final run for the Millers before starting retirement. Lady entered retirement a winner, claiming the 3D win. Beyond the Millers’ knowledge, Lady would soon be recognized as the 2023 Sherry Cervi Youth Championships Horse With The Most Heart recipient later that day.
“This win mattered more than anything she’s ever won,” Lexie said with gratitude in her voice.