California Riding Magazine • October, 2008

Western Side Story
True tales from the AQHYA World Show.

by Gayle Carline

As I reported previously, there were a lot of August horse shows for the Quarter Horse community. I was planning to review all of the shows in my column this month, but they each had something so special and exciting to offer that I’m only going to talk about the Youth World in this edition and save the other two shows for later.

The 2008 Ford AQHYA World Show was held Aug. 1-9 in Oklahoma City. Over 1,000 exhibitors participated at this year’s show, whose theme was “On the Move.” The event kicked off with its Parade of Teams, introducing the young people from the various states and countries that came to compete. As usual, some of the youth served as junior journalists, finding the human interest stories that sometimes get lost in the list of winners.

Like Katie Ward-Krummey of Campo; at 11, she qualified to compete with her 21-year old mare, Kiptys Gogo Rocket (aka Suzie). What makes this such a special story? Suzie lost one eye, is partially blind in the other, and they are competing in speed events. Katie told youth journalist Cheyenne Cracraft that her horse, “runs like a 2-year-old every time,” but will be retired after this show, as her eyesight is deteriorating.

There is also the tale of 17-year-old, Cassidy Miller of Carlsbad, who began riding at age 7—with a therapeutic instructor. Cassidy had a brain shunt which caused paralysis on one side of her body. Riding therapy was so good for her, she began training with Sandy Arledge and has been showing for several years. This year, she qualified her horse, Eye L Be Good, in Performance Halter Mares.

Then there’s Jessica Tourino of Temecula. Not content with being a competitive reiner, Jessica has designed her own clothing line (Rtistic) and is working on an album, which will be released toward the end of this year. And she’s only 17.

These stories and more were posted on the AQHA website, along with videos of interviews and performances. In addition, there were contests that got all of the teams involved, from Horse Bowl, an equine take on the College Bowl, to speech and judging contests. Our own California team took first in the Team Spirit Award for their division.

As far as winners, several California youths placed in the top 15 in their classes. We had a number of competitors place in Western Riding, Reining, Western Horsemanship and Trail. Cheyenne Peterson of Palos Verdes Estates and her gelding, Ritzy Investment, placed 11th in Western Horsemanship and 12th in Showmanship at Halter. Laguna Hills’ Theresa Moran and her mare, Show Diva, placed ninth in Western Riding, 14th in Western Horsemanship and third in Trail.

Hot on the Trail

And speaking of Trail, not only did three California riders place in the top 15, but Taylor Hanson of San Juan Capistrano won the class with her bay gelding, Sure Bet Chip. I spoke with Taylor’s mom, Cathy Hanson of Hanson Quarter Horses, about her daughter’s success. She told me that Taylor is 16 and ready to start her junior year at Saddleback Valley Christian School. Having a mom who is a trainer meant that Taylor has been officially riding since she was 6 years old, although, Cathy reports, she was “climbing on the Minis way before then.” She began showing six years ago, and has owned Sure Bet Chip, aka Alvin, for three years.

“Alvin, like the chipmunk?” I asked.

Cathy laughed. “Exactly. He’s always getting into something, so we’re always yelling, ‘Alvin!’”

Taylor’s win is on the AQHA website, www.aqha.com/youth, under activities and trail. The video includes a post-run interview with the young woman, who is trying to be poised through her emotions. Check it out, it’s a real heart warmer.

As a junior in high school, Taylor is looking at colleges. Her interest is in the art/fashion/graphic design area, and she can see herself as a designer of show clothing some day. She has already designed some of her own show clothes, so she’s off to a great start. Taylor would like to attend a school on the East Coast, just to experience a different environment, although she’s not certain how a country girl will adapt to life in a big city. I think, if she can ride her horse to victory at the World, there’s nothing she can’t do.

Congratulations, Taylor, and all of our other competitors. Good job!
After reading all of these stories and watching our youth riders on the videos, I confess, I feel lazy. All I did in August was ride an Appaloosa named Sinbad up and down the trails of the Plumas National Forest. Back at the ranch, Snoopy is continuing to heal nicely, so I hope I stop being a slacker, and can be out there, showing, this time next year.