Going For Gold

October 6th, 2016 12:55 PM | No Comments

[originally published in the August 2016 issue of Show Horse Today]

50thCongressTrophy&RibbonThere’s a reason a 50th anniversary of any sort warrants a celebration. A lot can change over five decades. Many riders, horses, and shows have come and gone over the years, but the All American Quarter Horse Congress remains supreme. The hype is well-deserved, and a show of this magnitude didn’t become that way overnight. The event has grown beyond just a horse show held in conjunction with a horse sale, as it started off in 1966, to the spectacle of the year. It now spans nearly the entire month of October and plans for next year’s show start taking place as soon as the current year’s ends.

Those who attend the Congress year after year know is no mundane event. Every year begins anew, and it is anything but predictable. What goes into keeping the Congress fresh year after year? For starters, they are always adding new events and classes, and listening to what the exhibitors want and love. Much thought and research goes into delivering an incredible experience every year. While it sometimes means saying goodbye to fan favorites (for instance, the Million Dollar Stallion Avenue, and the Amateur Versatility), it makes room on the schedule for innovative and new classes for exhibitors to fall in love with.

The Quarter Horse Congress is excited to expand their Equestrians With Disabilities offerings this yearThis year will be no exception, and the Congress has a lot of exciting new happenings in their lineup for 2016. First up on the list of new classes is Para Reining. Para Reining has been growing in popularity all over the world, and it’s easy to see why. Designed to give riders with physical disabilities the opportunity to participate and compete in reining classes, the Congress will be offering Grades 1-4 Para Reining for the first time this year. Also new for reining enthusiasts is the addition of several National Reining Horse Association classes: Green Reiner Level 2, Novice Horse Open Level 1, and Novice Horse Non Pro Level 1. Like reining, cutting is another event that is increasing in popularity across the country, and the Congress will be offering several new cutting futurities: the Open and Non Pro Cutting Futurities.
Two other growing fan favorites that have taken place at several larger events across the country, including the NSBA World Championship Show, are Heroes on Horses and Equestrians with Disabilities. Two Heroes on Horses classes, Walk-Trot Supported and Walk-Trot Independent, and two EWD classes, Walk Trot Hunter Under Saddle Independent (NSBA) and Walk-Trot Hunt Seat Equitation Independent (NSBA) are slated to be a part of this year’s Congress lineup. Heroes On Horses honors our service men and women along with the horses that are helping them heal physically and emotionally. While not entirely new to the Congress, the Equestrians with Disabilities classes are open to those with physical or mental disabilities who love the chance to compete on quarter horses.

The Freestyle Reining is always one of the highlights of the showNovice Amateurs will delight in the new division added to those 50 and over with the addition of Novice Amateur Select classes. This new age-breakout will include Horsemanship, Western Pleasure, Hunt Seat Equitation, Hunter Under Saddle, and Showmanship. Additional new performance classes on the schedule include NYATT Hunt Seat Equitation, Small Fry Hunter Under Saddle, NSBA 4 and 5 Year-Old Open Trail Stakes, and NSBA 3 Year Old Open Trail Stakes.

The fun isn’t limited to just the show ring. As always, there will be many exciting events filling up any downtime you may have at the Congress. New this year is the Quarter Horse Country Concert offering entertainment for the whole family. While the lineup of performers is still pending, this evening event will join the Congress Cutting, Professional Bull Riding, Freestyle Reining, and Congress Masters as the marquee evening events during the Congress.

Need more reasons to attend the Congress’ Golden Anniversary? Where else can you find:

• A rich tradition full of family and friends
• Special excitement you can only experience at the Quarter Horse Congress
• The absolute best of the best and the highest level of quarter horse competition anywhere in the world
• The feel of October in Ohio
• Great friends from across this great nation
• Dreams really coming true
• The making of champions and legends
• Amazing support and sportsmanship
• The future of the industry competing in the Small Fry and futurity events
• The legends of our industry gathering in one place
• Sweet Shop Cinnamon Rolls. Need we say more?
• The Trade Show which is truly a shopper’s paradise
• (For those in the market for a trailer, saddle, or anything equine-related) – every design, make, or model of your wildest dreams in the same location
• An amazing array of golf carts for rent to make transportation a breeze
• Competing for and taking home the beautiful bronze trophy
• Snagging the iconic Congress winner’s jacket
• Puppy Alley: the cutest place around!
• Trucks, trailers, and the experts behind them ready to show you the latest and greatest
• The Congress Super Sale – always a highlight, and 2016 welcomes the new Yearling Stakes Sale to join it
• The truly magical and one-of-a-kind Congress atmosphere
• Those amazing stall displays
• Round Bar
• The late night riding or the early morning lunging (it just wouldn’t be the Congress without it!)
• The smile on the champions’ faces whether it’s their first Congress Championship or their 15th (Because winning the Congress never gets old)

The Intercollegiate Judging Tournament brings together horse lovers from colleges and universities all over the countryThe All American Quarter Horse Congress is special. No doubt about it. It has been special for half a century, and will continue to bring out the enthusiasm in even the most experienced horse show veteran. The team behind the Congress puts in countless hours of work to make it the best show experience it can possibly be, and the consistent success every year proves it. This year’s Golden Anniversary will be incredibly special with new events and familiar favorites showing once again that the Quarter Horse Congress is the premier show that it has been for 50 years.

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