Friday was all about honoring military veterans at the 2021 All American Quarter Horse Congress. The day began with a welcome breakfast for those participating in the Heroes On Horses classes and their families and coaches, with a presentation of colors and the national anthem prior to the competition Friday afternoon. It was a clean sweep by Army, with the Congress champions in both the Supported and Independent divisions serving in that branch of the military.

Larry Scott Named Unanimous Champion Supported Rider

In the Supported division of the Heroes On Horses class, Larry Scott, riding Nothing But My Best, was named the unanimous champion among the judges.

Larry is 71 years old and an Army veteran who served in the Army Corp of Engineers. “I taught people how to run heavy equipment. I was in the Army for six years,” he said. “I’ve been around horses for 66 years. This is my fourth time to do the Heroes On Horses class. Partners For Progress, especially Jamie, have really helped me.

“Doing this class is the nicest thing I could do for myself and my family. I was told I would never walk again, and now I can.”

Earning the reserve championship was Gerald Groves Senior, who showed Shesz Leavin Lopin. Gerald is also an Army veteran.

Miranda Burkett Reaches Her Goal To Win Heroes On Horses Independent Championship

Miranda Burkett followed up her Heroes On Horses win in Tulsa at the NSBA World Championship Show by winning the Congress champion title in the Independent class as well. For both classes she showed MTC Easy Tiger, owned by Corbett Ryan.

The Army veteran spent four years commanding drones, and teaching NATO forces to operate unmanned aircraft, including two years in Germany and time at Fort Campbell. “I grew up showing horses,” she said. “I fell in love with the Quarter Horse breed. Trainer Ryan Cottingim doesn’t live very far from me, and through a client, he connected me to Partners For Progress, and I was able to show ‘Jag’ in both of the classes. The class today was a little bit trickier because the arena was different, but we made it work.”

Miranda has her own horses at home. “I’m lucky that I get to look out my window and see them, and when I feel bad, I can just go to the barn and pet on them and brush them,” she said. “Horses have a very powerful affect, especially with post traumatic stress disorder. They help you push the demons away.”

Miranda had been eyeing the Heroes On Horses classes for a while. “When I first learned about it two and a half years ago, I was too late to try to compete. I had watched the live feed for the classes and I knew I wanted to come. It was a good goal. I know that I can’t afford to show at this level in the other classes, but I had the opportunity to ride a horse in it, and it’s been great.”

The reserve champion in the Independent Heroes On Horses was Jackie Egan, showing Megas Playboy. Jackie is a Navy veteran.

Welcoming Equestrians With Abilities

In addition to the Heroes On Horses classes, the Congress and NSBA officials welcomed Equestrians With Disabilities and their families and coaches to the 2021 Congress with a welcome dinner and answered any questions before the exhibitors begin competing in their division classes on Saturday.

The group gave a rousing “Congress We Are Here” cheer as they gathered for instructions, food and fellowship.

Dr. Scott Myers Becomes A Congress Hall of Fame Inductee

Ohio Quarter Horse Association’s chief executive officer, Dr. Scott Myers, was inducted into the Congress Hall Of Fame just prior to the start of the Professional Bull Riders performance on Friday evening. The induction was a surprise to Scott, who had his wife, Dr. Leslie Myers, and daughters, Taylor and Mallory, by his side.

Scott has served as chief executive officer of the Ohio Quarter Horse Association since 2012. Prior to that, he served as a board member and president of the association for three years. He is also a past president and director of the Northern Ohio Quarter Horse Association. Scott has been an AQHA director since 2011, and currently serves on the AQHA Executive Committee as first vice president. He will lead AQHA as its president in 2022. Scott is also a past national director with the National Snaffle Bit Association.

The weekend’s classes at the Congress will include several Small Fry and Equestrians With Disabilities events as well as Working Hunter and Equitation Over Fences. The popular Freestyle Reining will also take place Saturday evening. The All American Quarter Horse Congress continues through Sunday, October 24. To view the complete class schedule, show results or the live video feed, please visit www.quarterhorsecongress.com.