GoHorseShow has been amazed by the number of competitors showing at AQHA's first-ever East and West Novice Championship Shows. While at the East Coast Show held in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, we witnessed numerous classes with well over 100 exhibitors including a halter class with 83 horses! We talked to several people and asked them their reaction to the inaugural year for this event.
With much negative news lately in the horse industry, it is refreshing to see these shows become such a huge success in their first year. It appears that AQHA has hit a home run with these new events and we congratulate them on a job well done. Find out what some of the people attending the East Coast Novice Show think about the show so far and their reaction to the size of the classes.
AQHA President Gene Graves--We thought the shows would be big--but we had no idea they would be this big! We will probably be adding another show next year and have different dates for each event. Since AQHA was late getting started this year, we had to choose these dates because it was the only openings that were available. Since our youth numbers have been declining, we thought this would be a great way to get more youth involved--especially newcomers to the industry and give them recognition on a national level.
Christa Baldwin--We have loved the show so far. Both of my youth placed in the huge novice youth showmanship classes. I have heard many people say that they will definitely be back next year because of the amazing $275 flat fee including the stall! Everyone wants AQHA to know that they need to keep this fee the same because it allows so many more people the ability to show at a big show with a limited budget. I know there are several people that came to this show because of the prices since they are unable to go to the Congress or World Shows because they are so much more expensive.
Tom McBeath--I knew the shows would be big, but I don't think anyone had any idea that they would be this big. However, if you think about which are the biggest classes at the shows--it is the novice classes. This championship show gives them a less threatening avenue to compete against the same level of competitors and perhaps place--whereas, they are less likely to be able to go to the AQHYA and AQHA Amateur World Show and have any success. There was a great need for these championship shows and I just see them getting bigger in the future.
Bruce Vickery--I thought the East Coast Show would be pretty big, but I am really surprised that the West Coast Show is as large as it is….I thought it would have been a lot smaller, but it seems like the show is almost as big as the one here. These shows are a huge hit, and it is great for our industry.
Michelle Tidwell--This show has been a breath of fresh air. Everyone seems excited for everyone else. Some of the horses have not liked the indoor arenas but instead of getting upset, the competitors try to ride through their problems. I have been impressed by everyone's sportsmanship, effort, and cheerleader attitude toward the other competitors.
Tara Eubank--I thought the show would be pretty big, but what I am impressed with is the quality of horses here at the show. I honestly thought there would be a lot of green newcomers that have never had much national experience, but that has not been the case.
Robin Griggs--I hadn't really thought much about the size of the show--but what I do know is that the second any of our clients heard about it--they immediately wanted to go. I was surprised by their enthusiasm, but I think it gives novice competitors a goal to strive for every year.
Charlene Carter--I am really surprised that it has been this big. I think AQHA was caught off guard by the demand for this type of show since they had to hire several more judges and add an extra day to the show. It is great for our industry and getting new people involved because many in the past have gotten so discouraged because they can't compete at the level of the competitors that show at the regular World Shows…it gives the Novice a place to show just like the Select World gives the older competitors a more level playing field.
**Let us know what you think about the shows, and we would love to hear from more people who are involved with the inaugural year of these championships!
The industry is only as strong as its entry-level division. Without a continual influx of new exhibitors, attrition will eventually shrink numbers down to unsustainable levels.
The Novice Championship shows give exhibitors a reason to get out and show (to get in those 20 shows) and a fun, affordable chance to compete on a national level without the investment the major circuits or the Congress entail.
It is SO refreshing to see lots of new faces, both horse and human, on the national show scene!