The final Friday of the 2021 All American Quarter Horse Congress saw Trail, Amateur and futurity champions crowned as the show heads into its final weekend.

On The Trail

Dualing Trail patterns took over the Celeste Center on Friday morning as Amateur and Select Amateur exhibitors  took on the obstacles to vie for the highest scores in their respective classes.

In Select Amateur Trail, Laina Banks and Eye On The Ball took top honors after scoring 238.5 on their run. “This is Beans,” Laina said. “He’s 16 years old and by Zippos Two Eyed Jack. We show him in Western Riding and Trail, and he keeps me from showing Strawberri Wine in Trail.

“He’s one of those horses that the tougher the course and the harder you ride, the better he is. This was a tough pattern, and I am pretty excited to have won it. I think my favorite part of the go was his last lope-overs over the pinwheel, which he did really well.”

In Amateur Trail, a familiar team became repeat champions. “I showed Peaches in Amateur Trail here in 2017 and we won it, and she’s also been a two time AQHA world champion and NSBA champion in Amateur Trail,” Angela said.

“She’s my everything and she’s very special to me. When the chips are down, she’s always good. It’s been even more fun now that she has babies that are out showing. I rode her four year old daughter earlier in the class and made a mistake, and so when we showed second to last, I decided to just go for it.

"I wanted to really show off our slow work, because it’s so easy to rush things. We really worked on our back and the gate.”

Maria Salazar Becomes Congress Champion On Third Different Horse

Maria Salazar has the Congress Amateur Hunt Seat Equitation class figured out. She has now won the class with three different horses.

“I just got X-Man a year ago,” she said. “He is five years old and is by Good I Will Be, and out of an Allocate Your Assets mare. He’s still really green in this class, and I was nervous about this pattern, because he is just learning his lead changes. We tried a different approach to the lead changes in the finals pattern, and it made a difference.”

Maria shows X-Man with a crop, and says it’s something she’s always done. “We started him with the crop and now I just always have it,” Maria said. “It kind of reminds him not to go forward, and it helps him make good decisions.”

Casey Willis and Naomi Earn Championship Number Two

A number of Congress Futurity and Stakes classes saw champions crowned on Friday.

Casey Willis and KM WeKnowShesBest picked up their second 2021 Congress championship, this time in the Three Year Old and Older $2,500 Limited Novice Horse Western Pleasure class. The popular class saw two splits and a final to determine the winner.

Casey and Naomi won the $10,000 Limited Horse Open Western Pleasure Maturity earlier in the week. “Naomi hadn’t been shown very much before we brought her to the Congress,” Casey said.

“We knew she had the talent, but she needed a little more time to mature. Classes like the $10,000 Limited Maturity and the $2,500 Novice Horse are great for horses that need a little more time, and gives them a place to go and be competitive.”

Katie Cochran and Peter Win Two Year Old Non-Pro Hunter Under Saddle

In the Two Year Old Non-Pro Hunter Under Saddle Stakes, Katie Cochran and Good Ol Boys Club made the family investment in her horse worthwhile when she and ‘Peter’ won the class handily, receiving the top spot on three of the judge’s cards.

“Peter was bred by Capital Quarter Horses, and Andy and I along with my parents bought him together in December of last year,” Katie said.

“We debated about when to show him, because he got ready really early in the year. We thought about showing him in Ocala in the maiden class, and then decided to show him at the NSBA World Show to get him a little experience before coming to the Congress.

“I like everything about him. He’s the sweetest horse, and he’s been the easiest horse to work with and the most talented horse I’ve ever ridden.”

By Good Better Best and out of Shes Invited, Peter was born on Easter, which prompted his barn name. “He’s entered in the AQHA World Show, and I’m not sure what our future is with him yet,” Katie said.

Stephanie Armellini Guides MadeFourIt to Three Year Old Limited Win

When Stephanie Armellini began working for Katy Jo and Tim Zuidema, a young stallion by Machine Made came with her. “Katy Jo asked me what I was going to do with him, and I just told her I wanted to hang on to him, because there was something special about him,” she said.

Stephanie’s long-time faith in the stallion by Machine Made paid off on Friday night when she and ‘PJ’ were named champions in the Limited division of the Three Year Old Open Western Pleasure Futurity.

“I haven’t shown him since June at the Tom Powers,” Stephanie said. “Katy Jo showed him in the Green Western Pleasure at the NSBA World Show and won it there, and was reserve champion in it here at the Congress, and he won some classes in Ocala. We made a game plan decision to have me show him in the Limited, and it worked out.”

Stephanie talked about her winning go in the finals. “He felt really awesome. He stayed with me throughout the class and really listened,” she said. “I don’t know if he got any taller, but he definitely filled out and got stronger since I showed him last.”

PJ is qualified for the AQHA World Championship Show, and Stephanie is contemplating starting the stallion’s breeding career.

The All American Quarter Horse Congress continues through Sunday, October 24. To view the complete show schedule show results or view the live video feed, please visit