You know this may slow but sure be becoming one of my favorite shows of the year. Yes it is a tough drive, and yes the weather is not always great, but Doug Landon and Mark Harrell Shows are putting on a great event for an outstanding cause, and I love supporting stuff like that. Horse of the Show award was another tight one, but “Show your Invitation” aka Ross I felt came through to earn the honors. Rider of the Show on the other hand was simple. Shyanne Smith proved to me and the world that she is no longer a novice, and no longer a 13 and under. The 14-18 rider in her has arrived and is a force to be reckoned with.
Since she was the award winner, let’s start there. For those of you that know the entire storied saga, young Miss Smith started her riding career a little over a year ago. That might seem like a lot of time to you, however when competing in AQHA youth, that is nothing. Add to that the fact that she is competing in the toughest age group, at the toughest shows. Mom, Dad, and Trainers all waited out last year patiently for the team of Shyanne and Bam to get it all together, and as expected they most surely have. With consistent top placings in the Showmanship, and high level horsemanship patterns, this duo is headed for what I think will be an outstanding year. Congrats Shy on your second great show of the year. Jenny and I are very proud of you. (And Mom, Dad, and Grandma are happy that you are 100% on pattern)
Though we had a just a couple rough spots, Darlene Schwab and I Am Dressed Western picked up right where they left off from the Sun Country. Darlene proved that last month in Arizona was not a fluke as she took charge early in St Louis. Lenny go a bit spunky the first night in Horsemanship, but Darlene put it back together on day 2 with top placings in very tough competition. She continued her precision in the trail pen with two great patterns, as well as another wonderful performance in her new class, Western Riding. Even though it drives her crazy, Darlene in turning out consistently good showmanship patterns earning top placings every day. I love seeing her determination and hard work pay off.
The Rivait family, minus two as Jasmyn and Deb could not make it, started off their 2012 show season with a bang!! Rob laid out some killer showmanship patterns each day getting on 4 out of the 6 cards for the show. He also had his first placing in the horsemanship, and placed high on all 6 cards in the trail. Classical Version, aka Oliver, has become quite a good partner for Rob, becoming much more trustworthy and reliable in the show pen. Sharese “sniper” Rivait proved to me that she IS a serious contender, and IS coming to play in 2012. Both girls were able to come ride at the house before the show, and man did it pay off. The youngest rider of Team Frid may very well be the next Big One!! Though she had a few minor problems, only because she tried to hard, Fireball as I call her, laid out stellar patterns in every one of her classes turning not only her coach’s head, but many of the judges as well. Jenny and I look for big things from this young Canadian in the future!!
Always steady eddy in the team is Tiina Volmer. She and Take The last Luke, Kermit, went through the show as they always do, turning out top performances every time they go in the pen. Though she has been successful in all of her classes, it seems that the equitation and the showmanship seem to be where Tiina and Kermit shine the most. They ended the show strong winning the circuit in the Equitation and getting 2nd place in the Amateur All Around competition.
The March to the Arch show reunited us with some of our customers that we do not get to see very often, Ronnie and Vickie Kent, and their daughter Christie Arrington and her son Clay. Though they have been showing with extreme success through the winter months, we have not seen each other since the Congress. Our little Clay Bird has grown into quite the young man since we saw him last. He in now showing his horse RV Won Good Version, as well as his granddad’s horse RV Won Good Machine. The thin spindly Clay is now a strong young gent that has the ability to work more with his horses, and hold his frame strong and correct at the same time. Clay was the rock star of the 13 and under pleasure class with RV Won Good Machine, and his consistently strong patterns in trail, horsemanship, and showmanship with trusty Vern. I am not sure when we will see them next, but wish them good luck this spring, and look forward to the late summer and fall shows together.
We leave St Louis with a great feeling of success and look forward to the next few weeks in Las Vegas and the 2012 AQHA Convention, followed by me judging at the same venue for the Silver Dollar Circuit.