By Tawnya Plain Eagle

The Calgary Stampede First Nation’s princess visited to the Piikani youth riding program earlier this month.

On June 12, the princess surprised the youth at the rodeo grounds with a meet and greet and photo opportunity.

This is all part of Tyrone Potts initiative for the youth program which gives the girls a positive role model to look up to.

“I was really glad to be a part of the youth riding program in Piikani,” said Astokomii Smith, Calgary Stampede First Nation Princess.

The Youth Riding Program allows the kids to get comfortable with the horse through interaction and horse safety.

During the Calgary Stampede First Nation Princesses visit the youth were able to ride with her in the barrel racing and poll bending categories.

Photo courtesy of The Calgary Stampede First Nation Princess.

It allowed for the youth to interact with her and get to know her better.

“The program is great for the youth as they get to go riding every week, make friends and gain confidence because the horse feels what they feel so it encourages them to be confident,” she said.

This is the third year The Calgary Stampede First Nation Princess has come out to Piikani.

“It was an honour to have her come out, there are a lot of girls in the program that are very shy,” Potts said.

He hopes that her experience’s will inspire the youth of Piikani to take positive paths in life.

The youth riding program will continue through the summer with horse trail rides and the opportunity participate in the youth rodeo during the Piikani Nation Celebrations in August.

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