Trail, stakes and Youth classes highlighted the day on Thursday at the Congress, but for one 11 & Under exhibitor, it was a red letter day.

Emma Gore showed her Western horse, My Only Good Shoes, to win the Youth Horsemanship 11 & Under, then saw her horse quickly go to the Trail pen with Jennifer Paul and win Level 1 Senior Trail. Later in the day, she showed her English horse, All American Girl, to win Youth 11 & Under Hunter Under Saddle.

“I showed Dotty a little last year,” Emma said of My Only Good Shoes. “I showed Small Fry last year. This year we worked on loping and doing lead changes. My favorite part of the (Horsemanship) pattern was the lead change.”

Jennifer Paul noted that this was the first year for Dotty to show in Trail, but she did well for not having much time to prepare before she showed. “Emma came out of Horsemanship and I had four or five horses ahead of me to get ready,” she said.

“The pattern was a little challenging for the green horses, but not too bad. The trot to a right lead lope was a tight transition. She did very good. I think we had one tick, but she listened really well all the way through it.”

Jason Gilliam said it wasn’t hard to say yes to a catch ride for the Grossnickle family on Hil Have A Taco, and it led to a Congress championship in the Level 1 Junior Trail.

“Our family has been friends with them for a long time, so it was really an honor to get to show for them,” Jason said. “Since Brent (Maxwell) is a tri-chairman for the Congress, he can’t show here, so the Grossnickles asked me to show him.

“Brent and I show together almost every weekend, and I know how he rides, plus I really watched how he rode this horse. We started riding three days ago. You never know in the Celeste, because that arena is electric, but he handled everything really well and had a really good pattern. I just wanted to get out clean and not screw it up.”

Lori Grossnickle was emotional at the win. “Taco was born on Taco Tuesday, plus the mare was a Tommy Hilfiger mare, so that’s where his name came from,” she said. “When Brent asked me who I would want to show him since he couldn’t, Jason was the first person I thought of.”

Gil Galyean showed The Dark Impulse to win the $10,000 Limited Horse Open Western Pleasure on Thursday, showing for Joanie Zelnio.

Joanie bought the striking black mare at the Madness show in May. “Gil saw her at the Madness and called me and told me this might be the one to buy,” she said.

“She’s come along really well. Steve Reams did an excellent job starting her. We love her demeanor, her head carriage and her head and neck – she’s just perfect. I'm really excited to get to start showing her, and I think eventually we will add other events for her like Western Riding.”

Known as Joy, the four year old mare is by RL Best Of Sudden and out of Dark Jasmine.

AQHA stallion Heart Stoppin made Julie Voge’s heart skip a beat when he was named Congress champion in the Two Year Old Open Western Pleasure Stakes on Thursday. Aaron Moses took the gelding to a unanimous decision for judges Dean Ross, Eric Petersen, Becky Schooler and Jennifer Leckey.

“He’s very special,” said a tearful Julie. “We raised him, and he’s just an amazing horse. He might get to be a breeding stallion after his show career.”

By RL Best Of Sudden and out of the Voge’s mare One Hot Mouse, ‘Joey’ certainly has an outstanding pedigree.

“I love everything about him,” added Aaron. “We started him last December, and he’s just incredibly talented and good minded. He’s my buddy.”

Patience, and the will to try one more time brought Debbie Hodde to the winner’s circle for the first time aboard Couture Blue Genes in the Three Year Old Limited Non-Pro Hunter Under Saddle.

“I’ve waited ten years for this day,” Debbie said. “I showed her grandmother here ten years ago and was reserve champion, and I lost a horse here two years ago. I wasn’t sure I had the heart to try any more, but I decided to try one more time with an embryo I had saved from her mother, and I picked a good one.”

Couture Blue Genes is by Allocate Your Assets, and out of Only Blue Couture, who is by Hot Ones Only and out of Blue Couture, whom Debbie showed at the Congress ten years ago.

IIn training with Highpoint Performance Horses under the guidance of Beth Case, Debbie and her horse along with Angela Fox and HP The Rusty Fox finished first and second in the class.

Rebecca McCain showed Honey Of A Bo to win the Level 1 13 & Under Youth Trail, scoring 230.5 for the win.

“I’ve had him since April, and I’ve been with Shannon Vroegh a little over two years,” Rebecca said. “This is our second Congress and my first Congress championship. We were reserve last year in Showmanship. We still have a lot to show, because I’m doing the 12-14 All Around classes.

“Our pattern was pretty good. After the gate, the trot and serpentine was really good. There was one part that wasn’t that good, but when that happens, I work that much harder to ride the rest of the pattern really well.”

Performance Halter classes became NSBA-approved at the Congress for the first time in 2018. Savannah Hauer and Natural Order because the first Congress NSBA Youth Performance Halter Mare champions.

“It is my first Congress title and it feels great,” Savannah said. “All the hard work paid off and it all came together at the right time and it was a great way to end our Youth career. I’ve had her her whole life since we raised her and she’s eleven.

“I only got to show her one other time this year. She came back from an injury just in time to show at the World Show. We still have Trail and  Showmanship yet to go, so she gets to be a work pony now. This is our last show of the year, and I’ll be showing in Amateur classes next year!

The All American Quarter Horse Congress continues through Sunday, October 28. To view the complete show results, please visit, and the view the live video feed go to