Trail, Hunter Under Saddle, Western Pleasure, Horsemanship Highlight Thursday at the Congress
NSBA members had a busy day on Thursday at the 2015 All American Quarter Horse Congress, with several different disciplines showing throughout the day and evening. We caught up with some of the day’s champions.
Trail of Champions
The second year for the division of Green Trail into Junior and Senior divisions proved to again be a success, with 81 horses shown in Junior and 67 horses shown in the Senior division.
“I love that the Junior and Senior horses are separated,” said Shannon Gillespie. “At a show this big and this deep, the Senior horses have an advantage even if they are new to Trail because they’ve been shown, so it makes it really nice for the Junior horses.”
Jess Bergantzel agreed. “With the size of the Congress classes, breaking out the age groups is justified,” he said. “It really does give the Junior horses a better shot to do well.”
Gillespie piloted First N Line to win AQHA and NSBA Junior Green Trail for owner Susan Juroe, scoring a 226. It was an emotional win for the Gillespies, as well as for Juroe, who was unable to be at the Congress for the class.
“We lost Susan’s great show horse, Too Sleepy For Candy, last year in October, so last year was really hard,” said Tim Gillespie. “We had found ‘Kenny’ earlier this year and got him in June. He’s Susan’s mare, Mandy, in a gelding’s body. He is the perfect replacement for her. I really believe we had an angel horse watching over us today.”
For Juroe, the win was nerve-wracking, trying to follow the action from afar. “The live feed for the video had gone out, so I couldn’t see the run,” she said. “Tim had texted me that it was a really good run, but then we had to sit through the rest of the gos. I thought it would be great to finish in the top 20. I’m thrilled that we won the class.”
The double-registered AQHA and APHA gelding is by RL Best of Sudden and out of a Zippos Sheik mare. “We had a really good pattern, and he really paid attention and stayed focused the whole time,” said Shannon Gillespie. “This is a place where a horse can easily get distracted. I loved it because he stepped exactly where I asked him to.”
The Junior Trail had an unexpected interruption when the lights went out in the Celeste arena. Nick Mayabb was on course with More To Zip at the time, and was just working the last obstacle. “I had had a really nice go going, and I just decided to go for it,” he said. The judges scored his run at 224, earning the duo fifth place for owner Ken Mullen.
In the Senior Green Trail, Jess Bergantzel showed Sheza Slow Breeze to the NSBA and AQHA championship.
“I bought her a year ago,” Bergantzel said of the mare he calls Carrie. “She was really good. She’s just always been naturally careful from the beginning. She has a lot of presence, and it’s new enough to her that she always puts her ears up and looks at the obstacles.” Sheza Slow Breeze is by Zippo Shadow Watch.
In Novice Youth Trail, Giorgia Medows added a second AQHA and NSBA championship with a win on Mostly Chocolate. “I just got ‘Chuckie’ this summer, and we just started doing Trail this year,” Medows said. They are pictured at left.
“Our first show was the Big A in Trail. But even though we haven’t had him very long, I ride him every day and I’ve gotten to know his personality. He’s very sweet. Plus he has been in our barn with my trainer, Blake Weis for a long time.”
When asked about the most challenging part of the Trail course, Medows said “the trot obstacles and the side-by-side obstacles were probably the toughest for us. But he was really good, and I’m really happy with our run.” The duo scored a 223 for the win.
To read the full article on NSBA.com, click here.