Congress Guest Blogger, Courtney Lummus, Shares How Congress is More Than Just the Trophy Buckle

October 20th, 2014 5:30 PM | No Comments is very excited to have youth exhibitor, Courtney Lummus, guest blog from 2014 Congress!  Remembered for her performance as Merida from Disney’s Brave in the 2014 Ford Youth World Freestyle Reining Exhibition, Lummus is very excited to share her Congress experience with us.  Thank you, Courtney!

October 19, 2014

Congress Blogger, Courtney Lummus and GQHYA Advisor, Rebecca Hardman

Congress Blogger, Courtney Lummus and GQHYA Advisor, Rebecca Hardman

In the horse show world, there are varying levels of awards, from ribbons, to medals, to shiny trophies, to regal bronze statues, to jackets, and lastly, buckles. To some, the trophies are all that matters, to others, it’s the experience you had that acts as a reward.  
Coming from a family that was not “horse savvy” as many of my fellow competitors’ families are, my journey to Congress has been some what different. 
Today, I showed in the NYATT Reining. I was the last one in the draw, so I had down time to think about how I wanted to execute the pattern. I also had time to think about what it meant to be able to even compete at a prestigious show like Congress. Coming from a family like mine, I did not start out riding horses, rather, I didn’t start riding until about 2010. I got my first horse Rose who was a pureblooded Arabian, who at 15 years old had done far more competitions than a beginner rider could comprehend just yet. Shortly after I had Rose for a year, I ended up getting my Quarter Horse mare, CN PocoPeanutDelight.
Peanut has occasionally been a bit of a challenge, as her personality is completely different than my hot blooded Arab, so sometimes that causes trouble. Peanut has brought me on a journey that no one ever expected her to, as her prior experience was mostly that of a trail horse. I have since learned that her breeding lines are heavily steeped in working cow horse. When I got Peanut, I quickly realized that she had no idea of what the inside of an arena looked like. Although she learned very quickly what one looked like, as at the time she became my mounted drill horse.  As a drill team rider, one of the chief desires has been to win a buckle, as getting the buckle meant that we won our entire division, and it takes a whole year to reach Regionals and Nationals.
As I began to ride my Arab in barrel racing, buckles also came up once or twice in my time there. However, winning a buckle happened maybe once a year for some teams. My team won the buckle my first year in, and as we had several riders age out of it, our team went about 3 more years without a buckle. Because of this, we began to see the value in riding as a team and giving it your all. During my time as a drill team rider, I competed in several other educational competitions, like Quiz Bowl, Hippology, and Horse Judging. I first came to Congress through my quiz bowl team in 2011 when we came to compete. I was shocked when I walked into Congress hall that first time, and made it my intention to come back someday, because the shopping alone is well worth the trip. Except when I made that decision, I was intending to just compete in quiz bowl again. Yet, when my team won first in our state competition, we were taken under the wing of the Georgia Quarter Horse Association, and were graciously included on their 2013 Youth World Show Team, and I was given the chance to assist in one of our team members Freestyle Exhibition there. From there the spark was lit, so to speak! I started to show in the GQHA shows on. Peanut and I found that we had a talent for Ranch Horse Pleasure. Later in 2014, as I got more involved, I was given the chance to compete on the GQHYA World Show team, and hence, the Merida costume at this last youth world show.
Proud mom showing off her buckle!

Proud mom showing off her buckle!

What most people don’t know is why I chose the costume and the song I rode to. My Quiz Bowl team has had many up and downs since our first time to Congress in 2011, and our rock was our coach, Mrs Angela Dennis. When we came to World in 2013, Mrs. Angela was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer, and was too ill to come with us there in 2013. When I was offered the chance to ride at World on the team in 2014, and GQHA offered me the chance to ride in the freestyle, I chose Merida from Disney’s Brave because Mrs. Angela was one of the most Brave people I knew, and she absolutely loved to ride. When I heard the song Touch the Sky from the movie, I knew I had to ride to it, because that’s what Mrs. Angela loved to do, was ride, and to me I often felt I could touch the sky when I rode. This past year, Mrs. Angela passed away a few short days before we left for world. Although I did not mention that the ride was for Angela out loud, I rode for her in my heart. I never expected the ride to be as well received as it was, but I still smile when I think about the ride and how much fun it was. Then later came the option to ride in NYATT, and I was so excited. As I mentioned in the last blog, My mother (and often coach, and cheerleader) made two trips to Congress this last week. Since last years Congress, she has really wanted a buckle, but when we went to Congress we discovered that in fact, the price had changed and she decided she didn’t want to pay the price change and accepted that she wanted to buy other things for her kids instead. But that just wouldn’t do! Through the assistance of my youth advisor, Rebecca Hardman, and our friend, Mrs. Cindy Shappell, we were able to get her a buckle. So you see, to some people, buckles represent their moment of fame, and others hard work. But to me, each buckle I earn with Peanut is a reminder of what it took to get me there, because it truly took a village to get us there.
Lummus' 2014 NYATT Buckle

Lummus’ 2014 NYATT Buckle

I challenge every rider at the All American Quarter Horse Congress to really take a minute to ponder and think about what a buckle will mean to them. Consider all those you met along your journey to get in the arena at Congress. Because I guarantee that you would likely not be there without the help of many others along the way. Whether it’s your trainer, your family, the breeder of your horse, or even your horses themselves. No one is born a champion, but with determination, hardwork, sweat and sometimes tears, you and your horse can achieve your dream. I have now competed in Quiz Bowl, Hippology, and Horse Judging at Congress. Many people would be satisfied and excited to have done those things. And I am very happy to have had that opportunity. But now my next step on the journey was begun by competing on the NYATT team for Georgia in Reining, with my sweet mare, CN PocoPeanutDelight, bred by Mr. Charles Newman in Iowa, of C Hanging N Ranch. Little did he know that his sweet buckskin filly would travel this journey with me, all the way to Congress, every horseperson’s dream destination. Though my performance did not place me in the top 15, I am proud to have been here and achieved my dream to ride in Congress. I don’t intend for this to be my last visit, my NYATT buckle will always be one of my most treasured, because it represents so much to me. 
I hope everyone wearing their Congress buckle will do so with pride, and reflect upon what it means to them, a dream come true.

October 18, 2014

Congress guest blogger, Courtney Lummus, competed in the 2014 Ford Youth World Freestyle Reining Exhibition with her horse CN Pocopeanutdelight.  Lummus will be guest blogging her experience at the 2014 Congress.  Image courtesy of the Quarter Horse Journal.

Congress guest blogger, Courtney Lummus, competed in the 2014 Ford Youth World Freestyle Reining Exhibition with her horse CN Pocopeanutdelight. Lummus will be guest blogging her experience at the 2014 Congress. Image courtesy of the Quarter Horse Journal.

My name is Courtney Lummus, and I am one of the guest bloggers here at the Congress. So far, it’s been a good week here. On Tuesday, we loaded up a van chock full of 4Hers to compete in the Horse Judging Competition here. It was a very tight competition, with many very high quality horses. After the competition, we packed up the room and got ready for awards the following Wednesday morning. It was a fun breakfast, and we certainly enjoyed the shopping Congress has to offer. By Wednesday afternoon, we were all loaded in the car again and heading back to Georgia.

What very few people knew at the time was that my mother and I were literally going to go home that night, sleep, then load up the trailer the next morning. Luckily, we have made it in one piece, and my reining horse Peanut, called CN PocoPeanutDelight was very comfortable on grounds.

We went shopping today, and may I just say that you should never go in there with a credit card! Bad things can easily happen in there if you don’t have a set budget. Huge shout out the Schneiders for their wonderful service, especially that of Cheryl, who assisted in what I shall call the “Congress Jacket Dilemma”. I would definitely suggest buying from Schnieders.

Last thing of the evening to catch up on is our late night ride tonight inside the Celeste. It was a nice warmup, but as the ring became overfilled, I decided that perhaps our workout would be best done in an emptier arena. So we went about and practiced, doing some exercises, and then retired to the barn for the night, and then banding promptly began. Finally we made it back to the hotel after being out and about til 2 with a wake up call at about 5:30. I think it’s time to go to bed though, hope everyone is as excited about NYATT. Draw 24 out of a class of 24! :)


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