As the Congress stretches into its last week, the final youth classes were held, futurity classes being to finalize and “Amateur Week” is well underway.

Deja Vu

It was “déjà vu all over again” for Taylor Searles and Hereicomagain. The duo won the Congress AQHA and NSBA Youth 15-18 Youth Western Pleasure for the second year in a row.

“She held her own,” Taylor said of the five year old mare she leases from Kathy Tobin. “She’s pretty natural, and free-moving and I think that’s what the judges liked about her.”

Taylor took time away from her studies and equestrian team duties at the Auburn University to show at the Congress. “Luckily my coaches have been pretty lenient about being away. I’m missing some practices but I’ll be back for our meet next week,” Taylor said.

“I ride mostly in Horsemanship. In fact, some of the coaches were here at the Congress over the weekend. We about mid-way through our season with the team.”

You couldn’t miss EPR Face It Im Fancy and Samantha Gardner in the Three Year Old Non-Pro Hunter Under Saddle Stakes. The striking black paint gelding with the bald face set a beautiful profile that the judges placed first under three cards.

“We call him Chrome,” Samantha said. “He’s super fun to show. We saw him in a field and we really liked him. He moved so well that we bought him. He looks really elegant in the show pen. He was first in the two year old class here last year.”

The Congress was a bit of a redemption for Samantha. “We couldn’t get out in time to show in our futurity class at the APHA World Show in September because the roads were closed due to the hurricane,” she said. “We got third in our other class that we were able to show in. This feels really great.”

In the Three Year Old Limited Open Hunter Under Saddle Futurity, Karen Graham showed I Will Be Detailed to the win for owner Ann Gibson. “We bought him from Sandra Morgan in April, and I really have to thank Sandra for selling him to us. She really didn’t want to sell him,” Karen said.

“When Mike (Hawkins) and I had our wreck, the horse that died in the accident was a really special Hunt Seat horse, so I was looking for another special one to replace him. I think that’s one of the reasons Sandra let us have him.”

Known as Geo, the gelding is by the late Good I Will Be. “We’ve shown him several places this year and he’s been circuit champion everywhere we went. I think the judges saw what a special horse he is,” Sandra said.”

Pasley Puthoff showed Hez Rainey Made to win the Two Year Old Maiden Limited Open Western Pleasure Futurity for owners Richard and Betty Jo Carr.

“We raised him, and he’s out of our good mare Rhapsody In The Rain and by Machine Made,” noted Betty Jo of the gelding known as Matt. “We had him in the Super Sale last year, and Gil Galyean was fourth with him in the sale class. Pasley did all the work on him and we are so excited that she got to show him.

“It’s so much fun raising the babies. We raise three or four a year to both our Hunter Under Saddle and Western Pleasure mares. The horses we show now are mares and also have babies too.”

“I was just lucky enough to get to start him,” Pasley said. “It was a real team effort, with Gil, Becky and Adam all helping me with him along the way. I want to thank the Carrs for allowing me to show him, and I was also so excited that my dad and my brother, Tim and Parker, were also here to watch us in the gos and in the finals.”

Charlie Cole started off the morning when he showed HP Prime Time for Kaleena Weakly to win the Level 1 Western Riding.

“He was really good. I kind of knew this pen was going to fit him really well. He’s a great loper with a really good change, but in the bigger pens I have to steer him just a little bit,” Charlie said. “He’s just four year old, and one of the youngest ones in the class since this was all age Level 1. In a lot of ways, it’s tougher because there’s a lot of older, solid broke horses out there. He’s competing against horses that are six, seven, eight, nine, ten. It’s a really tough class.

The four year old gelding is by VS Flatline and out of Goodygoody Gumdrops, ‘Cooper’ began his life at Highpoint Performance Horses. “We raised him and we raised his mother too. We sold him to Kaleena Weakly his two year old year,” Charlie said. “We knew he was going to be special as a two year old. Jason Gilliam is his fulltime trainer and mostly I ride him in the Western Riding at the shows. I’ve worked with Jason and Kaleena on two or three other horses, so we work really well as a team.”

Clare Swanson and Too Early For Sleep came a long way to the Congress and made their first trip count, when they won the NSBA Level 1 Youth 14-18 Showmanship and earned the reserve AQHA title.

“We’ve only been doing Showmanship for a solid year. We pretty much do everything but Trail and Western Riding in the All Around,” Clare said of her gelding by Too Sleepy To Zip.

“His barn name is Sleepy. He’s typically not great with set ups, but every time we had to set up he did it perfect today. I took this semester off to do Congress, but I attend Portland Community College in Portland, Oregon. It’s my last year of Youth, so I guess we went out with a bang!”


In Level 1 Amateur Showmanship, Kaylee Swanigan and Good As Expected took the win in both the AQHA and NSBA divisions. “I got him in January. We taught him the Showmanship and the Trail,” Kaylee said. He’s really very natural at it and runs really pretty and tracks well. We also do Horsemanship and we were third in Level 1 earlier in the week.

“I thought my spins were better in the prelims but the back and some of the lead work was a bit better in the finals so it all evened out. He’s just so cute. He’s very quirky and he can take some special work, but he’s such a love bug and fun to be around – he tries really hard.”

It’s a little unbelievable to win both the NSBA and the Congress. I don’t normally get nervous but I was a little nervous during the prelims. I shook it off for the finals.”

Jet Set Invitation and Alexis Potts won the Level 1 Youth Showmanship 13 & Under. “It’s my first title of any type,” Alexis said. “I’ve shown at the Congress five times, but it’s my first time to show her here. I just got her in June, and this is just our fourth show together. We did two horse shows and then the Youth World and here.

“I really liked our pattern. I thought our trots were really smooth. I like the aspect of having to show closer to the judge and be one on one with your horse. We also show in Equitation, Horsemanship, Trail, Halter and we’re going to start Western Riding.”

In the Level 1 Select Showmanship, Lynn E. Campbell and Consider Me Lazy won the AQHA and NSBA titles. “He was born and raised at our house. I bought his mother at the Congress pregnant with him,” Lynn said. “He is a Lazy Loper and a Zippos Mr Goodbar mare, and he’s five years old. Sylas is his barn name, after Uncle Sylas from Duck Dynasty.

Showmanship is all about presentation and presenting ourselves as showman, including your upper body position, straight lines. Honestly, my goal is to plus my walk in the scores. It’s our very first impression to the judge, so we really work on body position and my step with my horse.”

“This trophy will be in my house. It’s my first title. My daughter won the NSBA Equitation a few years ago, and it’s going right next to hers. I showed horses as a child, but I didn’t start showing again until my daughter went to school two years ago. I’m starting to tinker in Horsemanship and that will be my goal next year.”

Michelle Forness and Stretch Machine can finally say they’ve won Amateur Horsemanship at the Congress. “I’ve been reserve like ten times in the Horsemanship here,” Michelle said. “The last five years I’ve been reserve here (except when Robin judged here), even with my old show horse, Star Studded Rolex.

“Two days ago when the tent was blowing, I couldn’t even make it into the arena with this horse, but he was a lot better today. He’s very special. He has to have his own special time to meditate by himself. Anywhere else, I can ride him for ten minutes and show, but it’s different here at the Congress. I think he knows it’s a big deal here and he gets excited.

“In our pattern, he was very good on his corners. Everyone was being very conservative, so I went right for the cone, and he stepped off great. I stepped it up even more in the finals and really used my seat, and he was right there with me. When I asked him, he shut it down and was great.”

To view the complete show results, please visit, and the view the live video feed, go to The show continues through October 28.