Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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May 4, 2013

Lockport girl takes the reins

Autumn Cercone, 10, rides 'Dealer' to Russo ribbon.

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Autumn Cercone, who won the prestigious Carol Russo Memorial Walk-Trott Award last summer at the Erie County Fair, is ready to start the 2013 Niagara County equestrian season Sunday at the county fairgrounds.

Autumn, now 10, is a fifth grade student at Emmet Belknap School. She was 9, and a recent fourth-grader at Anna Merritt, when she captured the perpetual award named after Carol Russo. Russo was a champion competitor who taught children while igniting a love for horses. 

Autumn showed her mother’s interest in the sport when she was 4-years old, according to her mother, Amanda Cercone, who works at Royalton-Hartland School as a computer programmer. Amanda grew up on her family’s horse farm in Sanborn and began showing horses at  an early age.

When Autumn a was pre-schooler, her parents, Amanda and AJ Cercone, saw their little girl was ready to saddle up. Autumn was a natural and when she was 5, the girl was introduced to “CSS Done Deal,” a gelded quarter horse.

Autumn and “Dealer” have been equestrian partners ever since.

”He gives you all he he can give you,” Autumn said. “You ask him something and he tries to do it.  We have a good relationship.”

The Cercones, who live on South Niagara Street, lease “Dealer” and Autumn visits her horse almost every day at the Niagara Equestrian Stables on Bartz Road.

Autumn said she has never been afraid of  horses. “They’re really nice. They’re lovable,” she said. “I’ve gone to the barn my whole life. I go every day ... He kicks down when I walk through the door because he’s happy to see me. I talk about him non-stop.”

Dealer has had some problems, however. About seven years ago, he broke his jaw in a barn bay. In 2011, Dealer’s heel became caught in a stall door and was ripped to shreds. Still, he perseveres.

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