AQHA East Novice Championship Show Was Met With Great Enthusiasm
Written by Gabrielle Sasse
Along with their new leveling programs at shows, the AQHA has tried to bring “more” to the beginner and novice horse showers. This year marks the first AQHA Novice Championship Show, open only to Novice riders. There were two shows held concurrently, October 4-7. The West portion was held at the South Point Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada and the East at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum, Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
PleasureHorse.com was able to speak with a few of the youth competitors who were at the East show: Alex Stark, Danica Weber and Karlee Cassiday. They all had lots of good things to say!
Alex Stark is a 16 year old from Claire, Michigan. She showed her two horses Art I Incredible (Tyler) and Chexx This Out (Wyatt). Alex showed Tyler in equitation and hunter under saddle, and Wyatt in showmanship, horsemanship and western pleasure. She received 5th in both HUS and equitation, 4th in showmanship, semi finals in western pleasure and 2nd in horsemanship. Alex and Tyler also took the Youth 14-18 English Highpoint for the East Novice Championship! “I was really focusing on equitation and hunter under saddle and horsemanship and showmanship just kind of happened!” says Alex. Overall, she thought the show was really good. “A big turnout, which was great for an inaugural event. […] There was big competition and it was definitely competitive showing.
“Showmanship really got my nerves out,” explains Alex, who has shown at huge shows, like the Quarter Horse Congress, in the past. “We got our patterns about a month before the show and spent the day watching a lot of gos and critiquing them.” She said she really enjoyed the whole experience and would come back if she doesn’t novice out! She thought it was a great show to prepare her and both Tyler and Wyatt for this year’s Congress, and competitive enough that “it gives you a new spectrum of horses to show against from weekend shows.” Alex shows with Baldwin Quarter Horses out of Stanton, Michigan.
Danica Weber, another 16 year old, who’s from Dousman, Wisconsin, showed her quarter pony My Emmy Award (Emmy.) Danica showed Emmy all around in the hunter under saddle, horsemanship and equitation. She came ready to play, making the semis in horsemanship and winning the youth equitation! “I thought, well, it’s my last novice year so let’s go for it!” says Danica. “The plan for my preparation for this show was just like any major show I’ve been to such as the AQHYA World Show and Quarter Horse Congress we worked on pattern elements and making sure my 4 year old horse was right were she needed to be for the pattern work.”
Danica was also impressed with the level of competition, but wanted to treat this just like any other major show. “[My trainer] and I wanted to make sure that my horse was ‘on’ and she couldn’t have been any better!” She expects the show to keep growing in numbers. They already had large classes with high caliber horses, and can only go up from there. “This show is
what has definitely been missing in the AQHA industry. If you have the chance to go, definitely go for it! You only have so much time during your Novice years, and this wouldn’t be a show to miss out on!” gushes Danica.
The excited youth champion wraps it up with “My favorite part of the show was definitely showing in the equitation. It is by far one of my favorite classes, besides jumping! My pony loves doing the patterns, and I really like how different the class is.” Danica will also be showing at this year’s Quarter Horse Congress and trainswith Jennifer Welhouse out of Poynette, Wisconsin.
Karlee Cassiday is 17, from Beaverton, Michigan, and showed her mare Don’t Need A Mirror (Dottie). Karlee said that she “had a wonderful time down at the novice championship show! It was a beautiful fairgrounds and there was a good number of competitors! So it was great competition and it got us geared up for Congress.”
Karlee showed Dottie in horsemanship, trail, showmanship, performance halter mares and western pleasure. She placed 7th in pleasure, 10th in performance halter mares, and 5thin showmanship. Karlee said the show “exceeded my expectations. I personally didn’t expect much from the show since it was the first year of doing it but, to my surprise, it was wonderful!” Karlee had competed at this year’s AQHA Youth World Show, but also agreed that the Novice event was quite competitive! She also has plans to show Dottie at Congress, and agreed that it is an event requiring major preparation. She highly recommends it to other novices as a chance for them to get noticed and better show off their talents. Karlee also shows with Baldwin Quarter Horses in Michigan.
The event also boasted an exhibitor party with complimentary food, which Karlee and Alex really liked. Karlee said, “Youth World and Congress should have a welcoming party too!”
All girls enjoyed the Ride The Rail/Ride The Pattern clinics with AQHA Professional Horsemen. They had a rider run through patterns and explain different elements of it. April and Casey Devitt lead clinics on horsemanship and equitation, Ryan Cottingim ran the trail clinic, and Jerry Barrett hosted the clinic on the speed events.
We look forward to covering more about these events in years to come, and encourage everyone to share their stories of the East and West AQHA Novice Championship Show!