I am not sure we will ever attend another horse show that was as wonderful as the 2012 Sun Country. Hats off to Doug Huls and AZQHA and the Mark Harrell Team for yet another home run. Every day of this event was sunny, 70 plus degrees, and filled with great activities for all the exhibitors. As far as our team went, 2012 started off right were 2011 ended. The competition for Horse and Rider of the show was tight let me tell you. At this event we had the always front running Lauren and Shaggy, the ever determined Darlene and Lenny, the feisty team of Shyanne and Bam Bam, the new partnership of Mayers and Yogi, and the consistent team of Tiina and Kermit. Don’t let me forget the new comer to the barn, Niko, Beckie Peskin’s new partner in crime. Though competition was tough, Darlene Schwab and her teammate I Am Dressed western rose to the top.
Darlene not only rose to the top of our barn, she left all Select competitors speechless with her next to flawless performances everyday of the competition. It was going so well that I wanted to go home early for fear that I might break them. Not only did Darlene take home the Circuit in the Horsemanship, she held in tight each day in her maiden voyage into Western Riding. She went from wanting to show in the class, and learn more, to being a top placer each and every day. I also have to congratulate Darlene on her excellent performances each day in the Showmanship. Now we all know it is not her or Lenny’s favorite class, but she bucked up and worked hard this show, placing each day in the top groups. Our only flaw was that it has taken us 3 years to teach Darlene not to talk to the judges, now we have to remind her not to talk to Lenny while in front of the judges. Lol We are so proud of you Darlene, and cannot wait until the March to the Arch to pick up where we left off.
Though she was only there for a few days, Lauren Love showed all the Amateur Horsemanship exhibitors why she was Congress Champion, and Reserve World Champion. Sorry to sound rude, but she and Shaggy destroyed the competition on day 1 of the Sun Country. All that time in the saddle last year certainly did pay off. Though not as dominate, Lauren also laid out probably her best Western Riding patterns to date. Either she has gotten that much better, or maybe finally the horse trainer did his job and got Shaggy broke like he was supposed to, either way, congrats Lauren for another outstanding Show.
Most of you would not know how hard Shyanne Smith has been working to prove to me that she was no longer a 13 and under novice, but a 14-18 rider. Well she totally made me a believer at this show. The first day had a few minor mistakes followed by moments of what I consider total domination. During the second round she fought through her opponents, making the rail in the Horsemanship, and placing high on all 3 cards of a very tough Showmanship class. Shy and I are not going to let anyone know our plan, but we have a new way to prep at each show, and watch out, because it is working. I cannot wait until St Louis to show off more of our plan. P.S. Mom and Dad were pleased we stayed on pattern all the time this year.
Tiina Volmer and her partner Take the Last Luke came out of the 2012 starting gate with a big boom!! All-Around Amateur baby!!! That kind of performance, and we learned how to keep Kermit in our leg. Kermit also started to show off his true talent in the trail pen, with me showing him in the Green, and Tiina in the Novice. Though it was a tiring long show for this young team, they really showed enormous improvement from last year, and have set themselves up as a pairing to watch this next year.
I saved Mayers and her new horse It’s Amazing, aka Yogi Bear, for last because when you watch a fireworks show, you always make the grand finale explosive. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the new MAYERS LINDLEY. I write this in capital letters because she is that bold, and that amazing. I am not sure what woke up the lion, but she is here, and here to prove a point. Mayers and Yogi won the Youth Horsemanship 14-18 circuit, and stayed right in the hunt for the Showmanship title. Jenny and I are so so proud of you and how well you are doing. Keep it up champ!! Along with the Lindley family I would like to thank Tammy Gagliardo for allowing Mayers the chance to have such a great horse.
Congratulations to all of our team at this show. I cannot wait for the new year, and watching all of you with your continued success. Next stop St Louis.