NSBA celebrated its three newest members of the Quarter Million Dollar Club with a reception on Sunday evening in the Gilligan Barn. The guests of honor were Aaron Moses, Nancy Wilkerson Ditty and Carl Yamber, who all recently reached NSBA lifetime earnings of $250,000..
At 28, Aaron Moses becomes one of the youngest members of the prestigious group, reaching the milestone after working for seven years as an assistant to Gil Galyean and two years at his own training business. Sunday’s celebration occurs at the event he showed at as a 17 year old and approached trainers on his top ten list to meet and talk with.
Nancy Wilkerson Ditty shared the celebration with her parents, Susan and Stanley Scott, and follows her mother as just the second Non-Pro to join the Quarter Million Dollar Club. Nancy’s NSBA show earnings go back to 1993, when she showed Acadamosby Award in Non-Pro Hunter Under Saddle classes, but she credited the gelding she had when she was 12, Handee Rap, as the horse that taught her the most. Another special horse is Troubles A Blazin, who took her to Congress wins in Amateur Western Pleasure and Novice Amateur Western Riding.
It was fitting that Carl Yamber celebrated his induction into the NSBA Quarter Million Dollar Club at the Congress. He won the very first Congress Two Year Old Snaffle Bit Western Pleasure, showing Scooby Doc. Growing up at the sale barn near his home in Northern Virginia helped him develop an eye for raw talent that he further honed while working for NSBA founder Walter Hughes and horseman Bill Morris, and he’s been searching for the next prospect ever since. Carl joins his wife, Trisha, who was inducted into the Quarter Million Dollar Club in 2008..
Equestrians Showing Many Abilities
Sunday also marked the final day of events for Equestrians With Disabilities, and exhibitors shared their talents in Supported and Independent Trail, Independent Hunter Under Saddle and Hunt Seat Equitation and Independent Horsemanship and Western Pleasure.
Sarah Grace Carowick and Got My Dress Sox On won Independent Hunt Seat Equitation.
“We call him Ricky Bobby, and we just got him in May,” Sarah Grace said. “I have epilepsy, and riding relaxes my muscles and just helps me be calm when I’m stressed. I can tell I’ve gotten stronger since I started riding. I really love that we have the EWD classes at the Congress. It makes me feel that we’re a big part of the show too, and it makes us feel normal.”
Susan McBride made the most of her first time to show at the Congress, winning fourth place in the Congress EWD Independent Walk Trot Horsemanship and first in the NSBA portion of the class on Excellence Repeated.
“I practiced all summer for this,” she said. “We started as soon as the patterns came out. I really liked the spin and the extended jog part of the pattern.”
Needless to say, Susan had a great first experience at the Congress. “I had so much fun, and met lots of new friends. I was really excited to get to show at the Congress.”
Corbett Ryan and Romantic Dress earned the top spot in Supported EWD Trail, while Evan Zaloudek and Cuition All Deckedout earning the Independent EWD Trail win.
Friends Among Fry
The Congress Small Fry classes concluded on Monday, and saw large numbers throughout the weekend’s classes. Two best friends found themselves as first and second in the Small Fry Hunt Seat Equitation on Monday – just how they planned it.
“We were both showing at a horse show in Michigan and our trainers introduced us. We’ve been best friends ever since,” said Eleanor Ott. Eleanor and The Only Leadin Lady won the class, while Liv Winter and Diggin Hot Time were second.
“It was our big dream to come here and be first and second,” Eleanor said. “When I realized I was going to win, I was shaking. I got really excited. I’ve always wanted this.” Eleanor noted that her favorite classes to show are the Hunter classes - “because I you get to go fast.”
Shane Gilliam showed her horse, Chocolatey Special K, to win Small Fry Trail on Sunday. “I’ve been showing at the Congress for three years,” she said.
“Trail is probably my favorite class. When I first saw the pattern, I thought it was hard, but I knew that working together we could do it. Probably the serpentine was the hardest part (of the pattern). What I like most about showing is that all of my friends are here.”
Trinity Bell followed in her mother’s footsteps by winning Small Fry Western Pleasure. She showed A Certain Faith to the win, while her mother, Joetta Bell rode Lady Legacy to win the same class in 1990.
“When I went in the ring, they told me to keep her slowed down and use my feet,” Trinity said. “When I realized I was the last one and I was going to win, I thought ‘oh my gosh!’ We’ve had Faith for about a year and a half, and we got her at the NSBA World Show last year. She has a pretty funny personality. She likes to eat – a lot. She doesn’t like anyone in her stall when she’s eating.”.
For Quincy Clagg, winning the Congress and NSBA Small Fry Hunter Under Saddle capped a weekend where she also won a second in Showmanship and fourth in Horsemanship with her horse, SH Counting Stars.
“It felt pretty good,” she said. “I’ve been showing for two years but this is my first year showing with Robin. We’ve been riding together since February. This is my second year to show at the Congress.
"My favorite things about the Congress are the shopping and the food!”.
As the over fences classes are winding down, one gray gelding and his rider have each enjoyed a second chance at the Congress. Blue Illusions, who is being ridden by Maeve McLoughlin, had a long road to return to the show horse he is today.
Maeve leases Blue from Sid Griffith Equestrian Center, where Maeve takes lessons and became a member of the equestrian team while attending the Ohio State University. The center provides public riding lessons, and Sid and Leigh Ann Griffith serve as coaches for the Ohio State University Equestrian Team.
“Blue was placed with us after being in the Re-Ride Quarter Horse Adoption Program. The non-profit association finds homes for unwanted or displaced registered Quarter Horses, and we work with them quite a bit. Blue was involved in a long rehabilitation program with us before getting him to this point,” said Leigh Ann Griffith.
“He had gotten tough to show, so we step these horses down, and decompress them before bringing them back up. Working in the school with students is so cathartic for them. We invest sometimes years in getting then back to their full potential. Programs like ours offer a soft place for horses like Blue to land.”
“I came from the East Coast, and showed the USEF and hunter jumper shows, so the Quarter Horse world is pretty new to me,” Maeve said. “Blue is the one horse who made my life easier. We’re so in sync with each other. He gives me his all every time we show, and he just goes with his heart. He's great for any rider, because he gives you such a confidence boost."
Blue and Maeve have been in the medals so far, and hope to round out their 2019 Congress in Hunt Seat Equitation later in the show. Then, Maeve will return to her master’s program at OSU, where she is studying for her masters in public health. She eventually plans to attend medical school.
Longing For Dollars
Two Longe Line classes took place on Sunday and Monday, earning big money to a number of exhibitors.
The Non-Pro Yearling Hunter Under Saddle Longe Line saw exhibitors competing for Congress Stakes, NSBA, Southern Belle Breeders and Western Pleasure Super Sires titles. Tracey Stenroos led Edited For Chrome to win the Congress, NSBA and Southern Belle Breeders titles.
“This is my first time to show at the Congress, and we haven’t had this filly that long. We saw her in August had to have her,” Tracey said. “We just loved her legs, and she just has a presence to her. My boyfriend Gavin Pope trained her. She is by When In Chrome and was the first When In Chrome foal born.”
Reserve champion Willy Sweet Dreams owned and shown by Jessica Stremich, won the Super Sires portion of the event and a $5,000 check.
In the Open Western Longe Line, Kenny Lakins continued a winning combination when he showed Best By Design to the win for Brett and Heather Caplinger. The duo bested a tough group of 33 horses shown in three splits to complete the class.
“I showed this colt in the Color Longe Line at the Tom Powers and won, and then I showed him at the NSBA World Show in the Color class and won, so I committed to show him here at the Congress. We just really get along really well,” Kenny said.
“He just trots so well and lopes so well – he has both great gears, and it’s just so easy for him.” Known as Griffin, the gelding is by RL Best Of Sudden and out of the Caplinger’s mare Shes Good N Sultry, and is in the Congress Super Sale later this week.
The Congress continues through October 27. Junior Pleasure Driving, Halter Geldings, Hunter Hack and a number of Western Pleasure and Hunter Under Saddle go rounds will take place on Tuesday at the Congress.