Exhibitors at the All American Quarter Horse Congress have been counting down the preliminary gos and classes on each passing day as they prepared for the end of the 2019 show. A number of Congress champions were crowned in a variety of classes at the end of the work week..

Tops In Trail

Judith Garson and Smooth N Chocolatey piloted the Level 1 Amateur Select Trail class to the top score of 234.5 for the win. “I turned 65 yesterday, and this whole week as been a dream,” Judith said.

“This is my first time to show at the Congress and my first time to win. I started showing Western about seven years ago. I come from a dressage background, so the Trail is a class that I can sit up and move a bit more forward with.

In today’s pattern, our lope over was phenomenal, and the serpentine allowed me to really show him off. I lease my horse from Angela Wade, so I knew we could potentially have a good pattern – I just didn’t think it would be this good!”

In Amateur Trail, Emma Brown and Some Hot Potential picked up right where they left off in their Youth show career – with a win. “This was my first year to show as an Amateur, and it’s pretty special to me to win here because it’s our first major win as an Amateur exhibitor,” Emma said.

The Amateur win marks the second Congress championship for Emma, who also won the Youth 15-18 Trail two years ago. “Brett can anticipate sometimes and get ahead of you, but he stayed right with me today. Toward the end, I just kept thinking ‘don’t screw this up.’ By the time I got to the last set of poles, I was shaking.”

Emma and her friend and barn mate, Sabrina Janis, finished first and second place in the class.  Both work with trainers Judd and Jennifer Paul. “We’re best friends, but it’s not hard to compete against each other. We’re both competitive but we cheer each other on. It was really exciting to finish as the top two.”

Scott Reinartz and Investin A Goodbar took top honors in Amateur Select Trail, helping Scott to earn a title he had not won before.

“I’ve never won Trail, and since it’s the first time in the pen since March, I wasn’t sure how it would go,” Scott said.

“It’s the first time he’s been in the pen since March, so we weren’t sure what to expect,” Scott said.

“Bruce (Vickery) had warmed him up for me, and he was just there with me the whole time. He can anticipate, but he waited for me. Working with Bruce has really helped my horse get more of a foundation with the obstacles, and given me more confidence, too.”

Once we loped over the first pole, I knew he was going to be good. He was right there with me, and we went clean without even one tick. I was most concerned about all the transitions in this pattern and just making it look smooth. He can anticipate you, but he was totally with me and waited for me, and worked really well.”

Charlie Cole and More Radical had a long wait to figure out if they had won Senior Trail for owner Bonnie Sheren. “I showed about 9:00, and it took six and a half hours for the 132 horses to show,” he said.

“I knew I laid a pretty big score, but I was on pins and needs waiting to see if it would hold. It had been ten years since I won Senior Trail at the Congress with Kramer (the late A Petite Classic), so it’s pretty special.

“Rodney is the sweetest horse. He loves people and he’s just a really good boy. He has a lot of ring presence when he shows, but he got a little nervous at the far end of the arena – a lot of horses do at that end of the Celeste Center. He had great lope overs, and you just had to take the course one piece at a time.”

In Saturday’s Non-Pro Four and Five Year Old Trail Stakes, Trevor Johns was the last one to know that he won the class. His trainer, Jim Searles, had told him that another score had knocked him out of the lead and swore everyone else in the barn to go along with the joke. Finally after the last horse had shown the course, Jim told Trevor the truth. “It was kind of a cruel joke,” Trevor said.

Trevor took a decorated horse from last year’s Congress to the win when he rode Legacy Made for his mother, Susan Johns. Jason Gilliam had shown Legacy Made to win last year’s Three Year Old Trail Stakes class.

 “We got Eli at last year’s AQHA World Show, so we’re coming up on a year together. Jason (Gilliam) put a really great foundation on him. I’ve only shown him a couple of times,” Trevor said.

“The pattern today was pretty challenging because it had a lot of transitions, and it’s a big arena. What I love about Eli is his heart – he’s willing to try anything. This was also my first time showing in a futurity type of class. I love that NSBA has provided the ability to ride in the pattern classes in a futurity type of setting. It’s really great to be able to show these young horses in this type of a class.”

Western Winners

Spectators at the Three Year Old and Older $2,500 Limited Horse Western Pleasure might have thought they were seeing double when two full siblings and two cowboys in white shirts showed to first and second in the class. Jeff Long showed Ona Moonlite Stroll to the win, while Brian Ale showed Gorgeousinthemoonlite to second as the two full siblings showed.

“This horse is a full sibling to the one Liz (Long) won this class with last year,” Jeff said. “She’s been a little tough, but really came together here. This is the most fun I’ve ever had showing a horse.

“There are actually three full siblings out showing – the one that Brian showed and another one that was in the top ten at the Tom Powers. We didn’t show this filly last year and instead decided to prepare her for this class.

“I think this Three and Older Limited class is the greatest thing they’ve ever added at the Congress. There are still phenomenal horses in here, but they just weren’t ready at a certain time. This class gives them another chance to shine.

Hes Got It Goin On and Mallory Menard had it going on in the Limited division of the Three Year Old Open Western Pleasure Stakes. The duo followed up their previous win in the Non-Pro Three Year Old Futurity at this year’s show.

“This was the best go he’s had all week,” noted trainer Pat Heeley, who helped Mallory at the Congress with ‘Gus.’ “Mallory shows him so well, and he’s just so balanced and has so much self-carriage, it’s hard to miss him.”

“I bought him as a yearling,” Mallory added. “I had shown two other horses out of the same mare and really liked them. He was 12th in the Coughlin two year old class last year here. He showed in the Novice horse class a little earlier in the day and had a nap and then showed in this class.”

Mallory had sent Gus to Empyre Quarter Horses for a break during the summer, and Brad Ost and Troy Lehn have already started a lead change on the gelding. “It’s bittersweet, but I really love the futurity classes and he’s going to have a great future in the All Around,” Mallory said.

Andy Cochran and Whatgosaround had a repeat performance of their ride last year in the Masters Western Pleasure, only this year it was a win in the Three Year Old Open Western Pleasure Futurity.

“He showed great all year, and showed really good today,” Andy said. “He likes that pen in the Celeste. He has such a good head and neck and he’s so soft.”

By VS Flatline and out of the great mare Whatscookngoodlookin, Tex has royal genes. “I never got to ride his mother, but she’s sure had some great babies,” Andy said.

Samantha Ihde and Cool Cruzen Lady swept the Level 1 Amateur and Amateur Western Riding classes. “We’ve been together for almost a year, but I’m still pretty much a Novice at Western Riding. My biggest goal is to just stay out of her way,” Samantha noted.

“Today’s pattern had a lot of steering, and I tend to oversteer. I just tried to be confident and keep pushing her forward, because she tends to be lazy. I showed Western Pleasure for about ten years. Western Riding is fun because you get to go faster, but there are a lot of transitions and less control. It’s exhilarating and scary at the same time.”

Samantha and Hazel will show at the AQHA World Championship Show in Level 2 and 3 Western Riding and Trail.

In The Hunt

Nicole Salzer showed Company Man to win the Limited divisions of the Two Year Old Non-Pro Hunter Under Saddle Stakes. “I’m here because Scott Suggs told me to be here,” Nicole said.

“This is my first time to ever win at the Congress. I showed here once a long time ago. I’ve been showing since I was eight years old, mostly at APHA shows but some Quarter Horse shows too. This doesn’t feel real yet.”

Nicole’s gelding is by Im The Only One (by Hot Ones Only) and out of an All Time Fancy mare, and is registered with APHA. “We bought him in May,” she said. “He’s beautiful, and I loved his legs – he is so slow legged. He’s also really good minded. He’s like a big dog. He loves people and he wants to be in your space. When you ride him, he just wants to do his job. He placed in the top ten at the APHA World in all his classes too.”

Nicole plans to show in the three year old events next year and sees a long career for her horse. “I would love to teach him to drive, and he might do over fences classes later,” she said.

Debbie Hodde and Couture Blue Genes added another win to their record in Amateur Hunter Under Saddle. “I just can’t believe how much he had matured and gotten better this year,” Debbie said. “And to think I almost didn’t come and show this year. Everyone is asking me if I’m sure I want to sell Prescott after he’s been doing so well, but I have three weanlings and two yearlings at home, so there will be more prospects to put in training. I have one out of Prescott’s mom, Blue Couture, and by Good Better Best that I’m excited about.”

In addition to show Prescott, Debbie operates Winning Couture show clothing, and has a commercial exhibit booth at the Congress. “We’ve been working the booth, I made a trip home and back and now we’ll be packing up to take everything home,” she said.

Another repeat winning team from Highpoint Performance Horses was Beth Case, who rode All Good for Kent Ray Taylor to win the Three Year Old Open Hunter Under Saddle.

Sandra Morgan had been knocking on the door of a Congress championship throughout this year’s Congress, and she reached the top spot in the Two Year Old Non-Pro Hunter Under Saddle aboard The Repair Man.

“I bought him as a yearling,” Sandra said. “He trots great and he canters great, and he’s just easy to be around. It took us a while to have it all come together. We’ve been working together here at the Congress for about two and a half weeks and he peaked at just the right time – about two days ago!”

Known as Perry, the gelding is by Sandra’s stallion, Mechanic. She plans to campaign Perry in three year old Open and Non-Pro events in 2020.

The All American Quarter Horse Congress concluded on Sunday, October 27. To view the complete show results, please visit www.quarterhorsecongress.com.