Congratulations Maria Salazar and Winkin For Chocolate on Winning the Versatility!
It is truly amazing to watch the incredible versatility the Quarter Horse displays throughout all of Congress. What better class to showcase that than the Amateur Versatility? The class is broken down into four parts: Hunter Under Saddle, Horsemanship, Western Pleasure and Pole Bending. Exhibitors get five minutes in the pen to change outfits and tack between each part. “No stripping in the line up!” orders the announcer. “Wait until I say go.”
Exhibitors get a team of two to help do the quick change, and they can either carry everything in a cart, or put it on the wagon that is brought in. It was hard to decide what the hardest change for exhibitors was- going from Hunter Under Saddle to Horsemaship, or Western Pleasure to Pole Bending… both changes had saddle changes, complete outfit changes, you name it! Some exhibitors simply pulled chaps over breeches, some put on black pants over them, a few wore shorts underneath so they could totally changeThe Horsemanship to Pleasure transition was a little quieter, but some exhibitors still changed outfits or bridles.
The great thing about this class, is even if you win a class or two, you aren’t guaranteed a win overall. The riders who place consistantly in every event are generally the ones who win Congress Champion. The class began at 6:00pm and lasted about three hours. Exhibitors went into the final round, pole bending, with a tie for first place, and the pressure was on. A few mishaps in the pole bending- one DQ and two falls, one resulting in Kurstin Wilkin with Good Lopin Louie being taken out in an ambulance, heightened the anticipation for the final placings, and highlighted just how dangerous this sport we love really is.
When the final placings were called, a huge cheer went up for Maria Salazar of Portland, OR who won the class on her horse Winkin For Chocolate! Maria had placed fourth in the Hunter Under Saddle, fourth in the Horsemanship, third in the Western Pleasure, and third in the Pole Bending.
Also congratulations to Suzanne Randolph on Super Kat Man, for taking Reserve Champion! Suzanne’s Superman cape and breast collar in the pole bending were a crowd pleaser for sure! Suzanne took third in Hunter Under Saddle, third in Horsemanship, fifth in Pleasure and fifth in the poles.
Third place was awarded to Fon Laughlin on Zip Along Home. The pair took second in Horsemanship, fourth in Western Pleasure and seventh in Pole Bending.
Great job to all exhibitors in a marathon of a class! It is always a favorite of ours to watch, and the arena buzzes with excitment.