The All American Quarter Horse Congress has made special provisions over the past few years to set aside a weekend in the Congress show schedule for Small Fry exhibitors as well as for Equestrians With Disabilities and their families, with the weekend of October 9-10 having the majority of classes in these two divisions.
Small Fry, Big Smiles
The Small Fry classes kicked off on Saturday morning with Small Fry Showmanship in Cooper Arena, and continued with Small Fry Horsemanship in the Coliseum later in the day. Lilly Jones was operating with a key member of her team missing Saturday morning, with her mother, Melissa, stuck in Atlanta, Georgia, and unable to be in Columbus for the class. The obstacle was no problem for Lilly and her horse, Chilln Ona Dirt Road, who earned the Congress and NSBA champion awards.
“His barn name is Jason, and he’s very funny,” Lilly said. “He hates flies. I was a little nervous about backing in the pattern because he can go off to the left a little bit. But it was good. I really liked our 450 degree turn around. I was worried he would trip and miss a step, but he did that pretty good too. I just get nervous when we set up for the judge. I can feel myself shaking then.”
Showmanship isn’t even Lilly’s favorite class. “I really like Trail, because it’s Jason’s favorite class,” she said. “He wants to try his hardest and it’s easier for me.”
Lilly has a big incentive to do well in her classes at the Congress. “My dad and I made a deal that if I win the Small Fry All Around, I get to get a puppy,” she said. “I have a golden retriever picked out.”
Lilly and Jason will show in Horsemanship, Trail, Western Pleasure, Hunter Under Saddle and Hunt Seat Equitation.
Alyvia And Allie: Small Fry Horsemanship Champions
In Small Fry Horsemanship, 12 year old Alyvia Kladney and Dangerously Famous took the Congress and NSBA titles. “I’ve been working with Allie for three years,” Alyvia said. “She’s really fun. She’s quirky. I like to ride her bareback, and my sister and I like to race up the hill together. I also do yoga on her bareback.”
Alyvia is showing in Horsemanship and Western Pleasure at this year’s Congress. “We were reserve champions at the NSBA World,” she said. “I really worked hard every day to prepare to get here. I really like to spin. I thought our stop and turn were really good in our pattern.”
Finding Abilities With Horses In EWD Classes
Sixteen year old Lydia Kuehnner and Luv Only Chocolate have only been working together for a few months, but in their first show together, they came out as Congress and NSBA champions in a very competitive EWD Walk Trot/Jog Showmanship.
“We’ve been coming to the EWD classes ever since they started, but we had a different horse before,” she said. “We placed in the top ten before today. My horse is really fun and he knows what you’re thinking. I was a little nervous about the trot through the cones at the beginning of the pattern, but it was good.”
Lydia, who has autism, and her horse will show in Western Pleasure and Horsemanship. “Western Pleasure is my favorite class,” she said. “I ride with Dusty Boots, and my coaches are Stacey Creps, Grace McAfee and Laura Smith.”
In fact, Stacey and Laura came to the NSBA Foundation’s Coaches Summit on a grant three years ago, and have come back to the event every year since. Now, the coaching team has produced a Congress and NSBA champion.
EWD Unanimous Champions, Jonathan Conrad and Lucy
The third time was a charm at the Congress for Jonathan Conrad. He and his horse Lazys Leadin Lady, also known as Lucy, were named the unanimous Congress and NSBA champions in EWD Supported Western Pleasure on Saturday afternoon.
“Jonathan started riding horses at 18 years old with a Special Olympics team in Georgia,” noted his mother. “When we moved, we started riding with trainer Bobby Dean, and we’ve had Lucy for two year now, but with COVID, this is really the first year that Jonathan has been able to show her. He just likes to show, regardless of the outcome. We show around Centre Hall, the NSBA World Show and here at the Congress.
“Jonathan has a chromosomal abnormality and a thinning of the corpus collosum. He’s unique,” she said. “He has been practicing very hard to get to show year, and he even gave up his music festival to come here. We are so appreciative of the EWD classes here. It is such a great thing for everyone to experience.”
Over Fences Champions Crowned
While EWD and Small Fry competitors were showing in Cooper Arena and the Coliseum, the first day of over fences classes also began in the Celeste Centers. Among the first Congress and NSBA champions crowed included Senior Working Hunter, Dancing N The Dirt, Chuck Briggs for Terrie Brewer; Level 1 Youth Working Hunter NSBA champion/reserve AQHA champion, Swingin For Money, Emily Patton; Amateur Working Hunter, Every Once In Awhile, Cindy Triscari; Level 1 Youth Equitation Over Fences NSBA/third AQHA, Sunshine N Whiskey, Macy Burke Reckart; Level 1 Amateur Working Hunter, So Priceless, Amy Quintana; Amateur Equitation Over Fences, Lasting Exposure, Haleigh Holliday.
The All American Quarter Horse Congress continues through Sunday, October 24. On Sunday, Small Fry and EWD classes continue in the Cooper Arena and Colisuem, along with Working Hunter, the Open and Non-Pro Working Hunter Classic, Open Mares, and the Non-Pro Yearling Longe Line Stakes. To see the complete show schedule, show results or view the live video feed, please visit www.quarterhorsecongress.com.