A Chat With Reserve Champion Quarter Horse Congress Queen Margaret Moore!
By Gabrielle Sasse
A much anticipated part of The All American Quarter Horse Congress is the Queens Contest. Candidates from all over the country and Canada compete to become the next Quarter Horse Congress Queen, representing a state, region or provincial Quarter Horse association. The winner is crowned Congress Queen and represents OQHA at several major horse shows and events during her year as Queen, including AQHYA World Show and Congress the following year. Candidates attend various events at Congress, including helping to present awards to class winners.
These lovely ladies must be between the ages of 18 to 25 years of age (as of January 1 of that year) and not be married, divorced or have children. The Queen Candidates participate in three events, each of which is placed 1-10 in accordance with Congress placings, including winning a Congress Bronze! However, overall results are tabulated based on total points, and not Top Ten placings. 40% of the score is based on an Oral Interview, 40% on a Written Test covering the 2012 AQHA Rule and Handbook, and 20% on a Horsemanship pattern and rail work.
I was able to speak to Margaret (Meg) Moore, who represented the Virginia Quarter Horse Association. Meg is from Lexington, VA and has been with horses all 25 years of her life. Her family had horses since before she was born, and she grew up on a Quarter Horse farm where they primarily had Halter horses. Meg began showing Halter when she was 8, and got her first horse of her own when she was in 3rd Grade “I was pulled out of school to watch her be born” Meg reminisces. “One of my favorite horse memories!” She received a Top Ten at Congress in Halter Mares her last year as a Youth in 2006, which was the last time she showed in the Quarter Horse Circuit.
After so much time away from the “show world”, I asked Meg why she had decided to run for Congress Queen. “My mother had recently promised me a foal for my birthday and I decided that I wanted to get back into showing horses and wanted to get involved with my state association” explains Meg. “My sister suggested that I look into the Queen’s program, since I had always dreamed of doing it. It took a few elbow nudges from my family, but I submitted my paperwork for VQHA Queen and the rest is history!” Meg agreed it was definitely difficult to re-enter the industry after being out of it for so long. “Thankfully, VQHA was willing to take a chance on someone who had been away from the association for quite a few years, [and I am] so thankful for that!”
Preparing for the Congress Queens Contest is no easy task. The AQHA rulebook is quite long, and the Queen Candidates don’t know the interview questions beforehand. “I started studying for the test in February but didn’t really get serious about it until August. I would come home from work every night and study for about 1-2 hours. It was definitely a challenge trying to balance everything!” When I asked how she prepared for the interview, Meg explained “I didn’t do much prep for the interview because I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. My sister picked random “pageant” questions to ask me on our 6 hour trip to Columbus, but other than that I just decided that I would just be myself and hope for the best!” Meg’s horsemanship horse was in New Jersey, so she “spent countless hours driving up and down the highway to take lessons and prepare for [it]”.
Meg came back to the show world with grace and represented the VQHA very well in the Queen’s Contest. She received 5th in the Written Test, and 1st in the Interview! She broke down each part of the Contests, starting with the Written Test: “I knew when I came out of the test that I hadn’t bombed it, but also knew that I had made a few silly mistakes. It’s difficult to know exactly what to study because the rulebook has so many details to remember!” explains Meg. “Luckily, my roommate and I maintained the same schedule for most of the week, so we were both able to rest up before the test and be fresh for it that morning. We even did jumping jacks and stretching right before the test to try and de-stress!” Horsemanship proved a bit more of a challenge, especially coming from a Halter background. But Meg took it with humility: “I must admit that I am quite the novice rider. I’d shown as a youth in western pleasure but hadn’t been back in the ring in quite some time. Although I had prepared for the horsemanship class for months prior to competition, it didn’t quite translate in the show ring.” She made up for it in the Interview however, winning first! The judges read the Candidates questions based off of a bio that they submit prior to the competition. “That was such a surprise and honor! I was the last girl to compete in the interview portion and wasn’t sure what to expect,” she exclaims. “I enjoyed speaking with them about my family and personal inspirations but never dreamed that they would place me first. Communication has not always been my strong point, in fact, as a child I was in speech therapy for several years.”
Meg said that the contest “exceeded my expectations. The Queen Team made it an experience of a lifetime!” Her favorite part of being a Queen Candidate was “the autograph signing! There are so many little girls that LOVE meeting all of the queens – truly an inspiration. I also enjoyed working with Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids.” The Queens and a few kids who have battled cancer put on a “Style Show” with fashions provided by various vendors. Check out the story and see some pictures here “It’s great that we were able to help raise money for such a worthy charity.”
I asked Meg if there was anything else she wanted to add about her experiences at the Congress. “I just want to thank everyone who helped, donated, and supported me during my reign as 2012 VQHA Queen! I made some unforgettable friends and memories that will last a lifetime.” Meg got the “show bug” back, and is currently working with her weanling by The Only Escape and out of a full sister to Harley D Zip to prepare for next year’s show season.