With Senior Ranch Riding and the Four and Five Year Old Ranch Riding Stakes, the professionals saw lots of showing time, but on Tuesday at the Congress, the Youth also took center stage with Level 1 (Novice) Youth and Youth Ranch Riding..

Over Fences Riders Earn Youth, Level 1 Youth Ranch Riding Wins

The NSBA champions in both Youth Ranch Riding classes on the day come from hunter jumper backgrounds. Coincidence? These riders noted that their experience over the fences was transferrable to the Ranch Riding pen.

Stephen Labout showed One Chiquita Time to win the AQHA and NSBA Youth Level 1 Ranch Riding, besting a class of 43. “I’ve been showing Ranch Riding for two years now,” Stephen said. “I love everything about it. Before that I showed hunters.”

Stephen noted that the class sizes at the Congress were a bit intimidating. “I show mostly in Harriman, Murfreesboro and some in Kentucky, and we are lucky to have five or ten riders,” he said. “When I saw the pattern about a week before our class, I was excited about that pattern. I especially liked our extended lope and our turn arounds in it.”

One Chiquita Time is known as Maverick. “He’s really sweet and lovable and kind,” Stephen said. “He just goes in and does his job.”

Like Stephen, Emily Patton also comes from a hunter background. “I also show the hunters and the All Around classes,” she said. “Last year I won the NSBA award in Youth Equitation Over Fences at the Congress.”

On Tuesday, Emily added the NSBA champion award for Youth Ranch Riding with her horse Whizzin Banjo, and placed third in the AQHA portion of the class. “I’ve just been doing Ranch Riding for about two years,” she said. “I was used to patterns from the fence classes, and it just helps. You don't have to count strides, but you already know you have to do certain things in a certain spot or it will affect how the rest of your pattern goes.”

Emily describes her show partner. “His name is Joe, and he’s six years old,” she said. “Clark Bradley raised him, and so he’s pretty much all business. He isn’t cuddly and he doesn’t take treats. It took me a while to get him to come to me in the stall when we first got him about a year ago. But he’s very sweet. He was really good in our class.”

Joe helped Emily reach her goal for this year’s Congress. “I wanted to place in the top five, and we definitely did that,” she said.

Rusty Dare and Gotta Rowdy Baby Earn Second Congress Title

Gotta Rowdy Baby’s owner, Michele Kimball, was emotional at the back gate of the Coliseum as she carried the trophies for her horse’s win in the inaugural Congress Four and Five Year Old Ranch Riding Stakes. Rusty Dare put the flashy five year old mare through her paces to earn the top spot against a field of 28 entries, who vied for a total purse of $11,448.

The trio earned $2,862.10 for their first place finish. It was their second Congress championship for 2019, having won the Level 1 (Green) Ranch Riding on Monday.

“This mare is just incredible,” Michele said. “It was really fun to watch. Nerve-wracking, but fun. I just couldn't ask more of her - or of Rusty. They both did a great job.”

“It’s not very often that we get to compete for added money like this in Ranch Riding, so having this class was great!” Rusty said.

In Senior Ranch Riding, Chex Are Cashin and Matt Gouthro took the win for Dana Lanning.

The All American Quarter Horse Congress will feature Dally Team Roping and the Team Roping Challenge classes on Wednesday, and Calf Roping and the Congress Tie-Down Roping Classic on Thursday. The Congress continues through Sunday, October 27.