Thursday and Friday at the All American Quarter Horse Congress saw Trail, Super Sale graduates, youth and Limited futurity champions named as the Congress rolls into “Youth Weekend.”.
Little Youth, Big Wins
When Logan Starnes won the Youth 11 & Under Western Pleasure with his horse, Certainly Flatlined, all he could think about was inviting his friend, Aden Cochran, to play video games. There wasn’t a better way for two friends to celebrate placing first and second. Aden showed Only A Breeze to the second place spot.
“This was my first time to show in the 11 & Under,” Logan said. “Last year we won Small Fry. My horse’s name is Peter. He’s really friendly and he can talk – well, he mumbles. He likes maple iced donuts and belVita cinnamon crackers and jelly beans – but just the white ones.”
When asked where he would put his trophies, Logan replied – “well, I might have to move my legos off the shelf to make room for them.”
Emma Gore showed Assets Agenda to win the Youth 11 & Under Hunter Under Saddle. Known as Julia, the 11 year old gray mare stood out from the crowd. “I’ve had her for a year,” Emma said. “In the finals, I liked our canter. I think she is very calm and very consistent.”
When asked how Julia would celebrate the win, Emma said “She loves cherry turnovers, so she’ll probably have some of those.”
Hunting A Win
It was an emotional win for Debbie Hodde when she won the Maturity Non-Pro Hunter Under Saddle Stakes class aboard Couture Blue Genes. She was thinking of her good friend, Amy Kamper, who passed away earlier this year from cancer.
"Honestly I almost didn't come, but I knew Amy would want me to. I definitely had an angel riding on my shoulder every stride,” she said. “This win was for her.”
NSBA’s 2018 Horse of the Year showed in a very competitive finals. “Honestly he felt better than he was last year,” Debbie said. “He’s gotten stronger this year. When I showed last year, it had been ten years since I showed here. I had shown his grandmother here.”
Beth Case also showed ‘Prescott’ to win the Maturity Open Hunter Under Saddle Stakes and Junior Hunter Under Saddle at this year’s Congress. Debbie will also show the gelding in Amateur Select Hunter Under Saddle.
In Level 1 Youth 14-18 Hunter Under Saddle, Avery Langley showed Kinetic Krymsun to win the AQHA and NSBA portions of the class. “This is my first Congress win,” Avery said.
“I live in Mississippi, and my horse is in Oklahoma, so I spend eight hours every weekend working with my horse. I miss a lot of time with my friends, but I feel like all the sacrifices and hard work were worth it.
“Going into the finals, my trainers Leigh and Leonard Berryhill told me to be aggressive so I could be seen,” she said. “They told me the judges would want to see me be able to show on and off the rail, so I did that. There were a lot of good horses in my class, so I needed to give 110 percent. When I was sitting in the line-up, I just put it in God’s hands.”
APHA gelding All Good was very good in the Three Year Old Non-Pro Hunter Under Saddle Limited finals with owner Kent Ray Taylor aboard, earning a unanimous decision from the judges.
“He won the Two Year Old futurity here at the Congress last year, and I bought him here,” Kent said. “He’s just been remarkable. He’s been first or second in everything he’s ever gone in. He’s amazing and Beth Case does an amazing job with him.”
Super Sale Graduates Earn Big Money
Two year olds who were sold in the Congress Super Sale Yearling Section in 2018 had a chance to show in three Super Sale classes at this year’s show.
In the inaugural Super Sale Two Year Old Hunter Under Saddle Stakes, Chase Barnes showed Double Dose Of Iron to win both the class and the Limited Rider award for owner Hannah Means.
“Hannah picked him out at last year’s sale. We showed him at the Tom Powers and here. This is the first I’ve shown Hunt Seat since I was a kid. He was pretty easy really. He’s strong and he has such great self-carriage. He’s a great trotter and loper,” Chase said.
“I bought him because of his height, his color and his bloodlines,” Hannah said of the gelding known as Theo. “He’s really a puppy dog.”
Chase also remarked about the sale class. “I think it is great for the industry,” he said. “It gives another incentive to buy and win some additional money. I was also impressed with the quality of the horses in the class today.”
In the Super Sale Two Year Old Non-Pro Western Pleasure Stakes, Ali Eidson took a horse that she had only owned for three months to the win and also earned the Limited rider bonus.
“I sold my All Around horse, Hez Blazin Trouble, to Bonnie Sheren, so I didn’t have a horse to show,” Ali said.
“I ended up being horseless for one week. I was visiting Sara Simons at the ranch one day, and Sara said ‘let’s go look at this horse.’ Sara rode ‘Stretch’ and within five minutes she was doing a lead change. We really bought him with the All Around events in mind, and having the sale class was just the icing on the top.”
In the Open Super Sale Two Year Old Western Pleasure Stakes, Erin Lieurance showed NSBA Sale graduate Glamazon Girl to the win for owners Wayne and Penny Hembry and Rick Smith.
“We just bought her three weeks ago,” noted Wayne Hembry. “We just liked how she went, and we love the One Hot Krymsun bloodline. Her movement, her self-carriage, and how she stands up, it’s hard not to notice her. Erin and Jeff (Cochran) picked her out – they deserve all the credit.”
It is the first Congress win for the trio of owners. “Rick was probably the most nervous, he got a leg cramp while watching the class,” laughed Wayne. “But he’s going to show her in the Non-Pro on Tuesday, so he’ll have to cowboy up.”
Trail to the Top
In Level 1 Youth Trail 14-18, Nya Kearns took her horse Never Sudden, through the patter to first in NSBA and AQHA divisions of the class.
We've had him for two years, and we call him Beaford for Beau Ferdinand. He sort of looks like Beauford the Bull, and we already had a Beau in the barn. He only knew how to do Trail when we bought him, and now he does Horsemanship and Western Riding.
"I used to do jumping, and I like trying new things. Trail is very precise, and there are times when you have to make a decision on how to go. I'm used to really precise patterns where there is no room to do something different. It's challenging."
The high school senior has committed to Southern Methodist University and will be on the equestrian team competing in Horsemanship. "I'm not quite sure of my major yet, but I would like to eventually go to law school," she said.
Ashley Dunbar-Clock showed Dew Not Touch to win AQHA and NSBA Level 1 Junior Trail for owner Marjolyn Gray-Spaans. “Quinn is always so easy. He wants to be good,” Ashley said. “He wants to please you and do what you want. He’s a special one.
“This is his first year showing Trail. We just started showing it in Vegas in February. Today’s course was really good, and it laid out really well. We had so many great horses that we had to be really good. I lucked out that there were only four more to go after me, so I didn’t have to wait to see how my score would hold for very long.
Jess Bergenztel showed DontKissThisMachine to win the Senior Level 1 Trail, earning both the AQHA and NSBA top awards. They showed for owner Patricia Fox.
“The course was really nice today and it really fit George,” Jess said. “He’s always been naturally careful since day one when we started. He’s pretty loveable and a little bit busy. He likes to have a job to do, and he really likes Trail.”
Jess reflected on the division into Junior and Senior Level 1 Trail at the Congress. “The numbers here sure do support it,” he said. “When it first was divided out, I think the Junior horses had a huge advantage because it takes a while to get that mental and physical strength to be good versus say someone with a 12 year old gelding. Now, it’s extremely competitive. The Junior class was just stellar here.”
In Junior Trail, Jennifer Paul piloted Lazyboy to the AQHA and NSBA win for Jolene Mierzejewski. “There were some tricky parts to the pattern but he was very good. We had a side pass, and you had to keep your horse in the middle of the pole under you,” Jennifer said.
The five year old gelding was the second horse to go in almost 100 head, so Jennifer had a long wait to see if her score would hold, but the 243.5 held to the end.
“There’s always some different maneuvers to do in Trail, and that’s probably why it’s my favorite,” Jennifer said. “With a Junior horse, you never know how they will do, but when it comes together, it’s worth the work you put into it.”
Logan Starnes isn't the only member of the Starnes family with a recent Congress championship. Logan's dad, Jay, had one too, with Never Had I Ever in the Open Two Year Old Western Pleasure Stakes.
Never Have I Ever has had a busy fall "She won three classes at the APHA World Show a few weeks ago," Jay said. "Shee's been really good. Since we were committed to the APHA World Show, this was the only two year old class she could show in here, since she wasn't a maiden horse..
"She's by No Doubt Im Lazy and out of A Certain Illusion, and she was bred by the Rawlings family. She is a half sibling to the one Aaron Moses rides. She's a diva. She knows she's pretty and she's allowed to be because she's a great horse."
Her owner is 13 years old, Dakota Andrie, and she's get to show her later in the show.".
Perry Jackson has already had a great start to his 2019 Congress. His horse, Not Just An Illusion, won the Maturity $10,000 Limited Horse Open Western Pleasure with Aaron Moses aboard. “We bought him barely broke as a three year old,” Perry said.
“Bruce Vickery picked him out, and Lisa Pinney and I bought him together. He’s in several Western Pleasure classes but we’re going to start doing the All Around classes with him next year. He is already changing leads, and he’s going to be phenomenal in the Trail and Western Riding. We’re really excited about his future.”
The Congress continues through Sunday, October 27