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At only 8 years of age, love of horses turns Miami rider into competitive equestrian

At only 8 years of age, love of horses turns Miami rider to competitive equestrian
At only 8 years of age, love of horses turns Miami rider to competitive equestrian 02:38

MIAMI - At only four years old, young Sophia Prado, knew what she wanted to do. Her love of ranch life and horses has developed into a true passion.  

Sophia, now 8, is an equestrian who will represent Team USA in the Puerto Rico Youth Mundial of Paso Fino Horse competition.

"Since day one, she loved it," said Serina Prado, Sophia's mother. 

As CBS News Miami cameras captured Sophia cleaning the dirt from a hoof, spotting her parents' beam with pride was easy. 

"It's one of the parts of the sports that's the best," said Manuel Prado, Sophia's dad. "It's not just riding it. But you have to prepare it, you have to communicate with it. It's beautiful to watch."

"Amazing because you have a one-thousand-pound horse and a 50-pound girl," added Serina Prado. "Tap it to lift the hoof to clean it. So, it's nerve-wracking for me, but she does it."

Prado does more than prep horses. Sophia loves to ride and compete.  

Hearing her coach walk her through training on Friday morning, "Walk to the light post, and then we're going into your individual work off."

The young equestrian trains as much as she can for competitions at the Esperanza Equine Connections in Miami.  

"It feels good because horses are my favorite animals," shared Sophia. "Just getting used to riding horses, and now I'm starting to trust them. Pat them to make sure everything's ok."

Trust blossomed into her first competition at five years old. Competing as an equestrian led to victories and greater opportunities. 

"It means that, like, I've accomplished something I've wanted to do for a long time," said Sophia. 

CBS News Miami reporter Joe Gorchow asked her mother, "Are you amazed how she gravitated to something and put forth these goals and, at eight years old, achieved such a high mark at such a young age?"

Serina Prado said, "Yes. I know her personality because she's a type of personality and a perfectionist. I tell her no matter what happens, you're walking into that arena wearing the American flag representing our country. You've won, you've won."

Gorchow asked the rising star, "It's a thousand-pound horse... is it hard to handle?"

"No. Not really. Pull towards you, move your body. Grab the reins and pull it backward," said Sophia.

And for Prado, her journey moves forward, only beginning its trot toward wherever her passion and determination may lead.

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