The final Thursday of the All American Quarter Horse Congress saw several repeat champions taking additional titles as well as some first time Congress champions named. The weather turned blustery and rainy but it did not stop the enthusiasm of the Congress exhibitors.

The Tale Of Trail

Trail classes were the order of the first half of the day on Thursday. A whopping 98 horses maneuvered the pattern in Level 2 Senior Trail, but it was Beyond Expectations and Sara Simons who took top honors for owner Lila Owens, scoring 245 for the winning run.

Sara saw the class from inside the pen this year, with a very different view from one year ago when she was a judge of the same class. “Last year, we had the Level 2 division, but it showed in one class with the Level 3, and we judged it over two days because it was so big,” Sara said.

“This year, they broke it out as two separate classes so it didn’t have to be judged over two days, so this was really nice. On a judging level, it was hard to judge the class over two days.”

Sara liked the pattern for the class from the beginning. “When I saw this pattern on paper, I thought it looked like a very fun pattern,” she said. “It’s very technical and I like that. He has a lot of expression, so I knew he would go out there and show well and show a lot of expression. From a judging standpoint, I think that’s special in a horse – some of them have it and some of them don’t and it’s not something you can train for. They either love their job and want to do it or they don’t.”

Sara talked about her show partner for the class. “His name is Marshal, and I’ve only had him about a year and a half,” she said. “He is by Machine Made and he’s seven years old, so he’s fairly young getting going in the All Around. He’s done well in our program.

“He won the world in Green Western Riding last year and he was reserve here in Western Riding the other day. He has a great mind and he’s just super easy. He’s a full double (AQHA/APHA) horse, so he’s also done the whole Paint circuit. He’s just got a huge personality. He’s just all about the treats and all of the attention needs to be on him the whole time – but he deserves it. He does a lot of things very well.”

On the Amateur side of the Celeste Center, Ty Dougherty and Best To Be Zippin won Amateur Trail, scoring 232 for their Congress title, while Cynthia Roth and Pass The Black Gold earned the Congress champion award in Amateur Select Trail.

A Congress Select-ion

In the Level 1 Amateur Select Hunter Under Saddle, Al That Matters and Susan Phillips were named Congress champions.

“Maddy and I have been together for about a year,” Susan said. “Scott Jones found her for me when she was a three year old. Laura and Wade Spell had her at the Premier. I didn’t get to go to that show, but I saw a video of her and knew she was the one I had to have. It’s been a fantasy ever since. She is by Allocate Your Assets and out of Sleeping Bomb Shell.

“She warmed up really well and she handled the traffic really well. I felt really confident going in. I felt really good about our go, but I didn’t know that I won. I think the judges saw that she looked pleasant through the bridle, and was good in her head and neck and kept her belly up and loped her butt off.

“This is my second Congress, and my first Congress championship. It really hasn’t sunk in yet.”

Repeat Champions Named

In the Two Year Old Maiden classes that ran on Thursday, repeat champions rose to the top of the class.

In the Two Year Old Maiden Open Hunter Under Saddle Stakes, Jamie English showed RS Hank WhyDoYouDrank to the top of the class for Baylee Fleming. They had won the Two Year Old Open Hunter Under Saddle Stakes earlier in the week on Sunday.

Deanna Willis was also a repeat Congress champion this week. She won the Two Year Old Limited Non-Pro Western Pleasure Stakes on Thursday with her horse, Home Runn. Earlier this week, Deanna won the Three Year Old Limited Non-Pro Western Pleasure Futurity with the gelding Top Gunn.

In the Amateur Hunter Under Saddle, Angela Fox and Makin Me Happy earned the Congress championship.

The 2023 All American Quarter Horse Congress continues through Sunday, October 22. To view complete show results, please visit the Horse Show Tracker or You can also view the show’s live video feed at

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