It's a wrap! The first-ever East and West Novice Championship shows are over with huge numbers and fun times for everyone. GoHorseShow was at the East Show reporting and asking competitors questions about the show. There was much excitement during the inaugural event dedicated to AQHA Novice exhibitors. Novice competed with their qualified American Quarter Horse in any of the 12 events that include halter, western and English disciplines. The flat fee of $275 was a big hit for everyone, and this price allowed more people to compete at a major show in our industry.
It was refreshing to see new competitors in the spotlight and be recognized on a national level. GoHorseShow asked several exhibitors how the championship shows have changed their goals and enthusiasm for showing horses. Let's find out what they had to say!
Hallie Padilla (pictured right)--The Novice Championship shows have made me a lot happier about showing because I have met many people new to the industry. I love to see kids who are starting to show at about the same age I started--it lets me know that we can still get new youth to come and compete in AQHA. I was excited to hear about Novice World because it gave me an extra opportunity to compete for a championship and the timing was perfect, so I was also able to get extra practice for Congress.
Cassandra Madaras--With all the negative publicity lately in the quarter horse industry, I think everyone had such a positive attitude this weekend. It also was nice for competitors who don't have the resources or the time to qualify for amateur or youth worlds to have avenue where they can compete in a national event. I would love to come back--talking to AQHA President Gene Graves when receiving my award shows how much that AQHA does care about all of their competitors. I really appreciated the opportunity.
Kodi Anderson--I was really excited about attending the novice championships. I just moved from Australia about a year ago and brought my horse with me. I made the novice championships a main priority show since I chose this show over the Congress as I am in college at the moment and can only get so much time off school.
Karri Owens--It has grabbed me hook, line and sinker! I was going to take a year off but decided to keep showing. At my age, or any age, I need to enjoy every second I can be in the pen, you never know what tomorrow will bring. This show has validated to me what I can accomplish in the show pen and it feels amazing and I want to continue to enjoy that feeling!
Karlee Cassiday--I think adding the novice championship show was a wonderful idea. It acknowledges the novice exhibitors and their talent and gets them ready to compete in the youth division. Knowing that I could come down to the championship shows and compete against so many other exceptional riders and still do well, made me realize that I am a good showman. I also love the dates for the show because it got us ready for Congress!
Colton Reid--This show was really an eye opener for me. I had never shown at a show of this magnitude. I'm extremely happy with how the show was run and the staff was very helpful. By adding this type of show, AQHA has opened up a whole new window of opportunities for novices who have either never competed at the larger breed shows or don't have the funds to go and spend weeks at the Congress. It feels great to be recognized and to have a show just for beginners. My main goal was to make the finals and hopefully pull of a top ten placing. We ended up Top Ten in Performance Halter Mares and the Trail!
Pamela Britton-Baer--I am so excited about the Novice Championship shows. I would do a backflip if I knew it wouldn't mean a trip to the ER. I think everyone can agree that it's super intimidating to jump into a ring with seasoned amateurs--but if you want to attend a World Show, that's what you have to do. Not anymore! Now novice exhibitors have their own show. And look at the numbers. Over 100 exhibitors in most classes. We don't see that level of competition on the west coast and I am thrilled and more determined than ever to attend next year's show.
Dylan Easley--When my mother found out that she had the opportunity to qualify for the Novice Championships, she was excited. She mapped out her 20 shows, practiced with my mare, My Deeva, and away they went. It has been 30 years since my mom showed showmanship and there was no stopping her. I got to go along as an added bonus. We had the best experience showing at the Novice Championships. The real treat was me placing Reserve Youth Showmanship and my mom placing 10th in the Novice Amateur Showmanship. We would like to thank AQHA for this opportunity and mom sure does look forward to going back next year.
Laura Swearingen--Excited to have a show on a national level for people like me who are novice riders. It's a good prep for Congress. I was so thrilled with my showmanship placing. It really gives me some confidence going into the Congress.
Kaitlin Larschan--I was super excited to hear about the novice championship show. After qualifying at Region 10 by winning the amateur hunter under saddle, I knew I just need to keep practicing and working towards the world show. It changed my goals by just being able to qualify for the show let alone placing third in the novice amateur hunt seat equitation. Everything has been very smooth considering the amount of entries received, and I cannot wait for next year. Also, hoping the fences will be added for next year!
Caitlin Ackerman--I was beyond thrilled when I heard they were offering the novice championship this year. I only had a short period of time left in novice and thought it was just the perfect opportunity to attend. I have goals to attend the amateur world show next year and this show is such a great stepping stone. Since I found out I qualified, I worked diligently with my trainers, Gene Spagnola and Gretchen Mathes, to prepare for this show. It has so far been an amazing experience and I am ready to attend the Congress in a few weeks. I think that it really allowed me and I'm sure many other novice exhibitors to feel that there was something for us to look forward to this year and really get a feel for what these larger shows offer. I am a very goal oriented person and always dreamed of winning a world championship. I am so honored to have reached that goal here at the East Coast Championships and look forward to trying for the same thing in future years at the Amateur World Show!
Danica Weber--I really love that they added the novice championship show. It really lets the novice compete at a big horse show without the big price. It's an opportunity for the novice to be recognized in AQHA. The show also gives me an opportunity to try new events and prepare me for the Congress and other major shows. I was really excited when I heard about the show back in August. We were already preparing for the Congress and we thought why not go to this show? I was thrilled that they recognized my 14 hand horse in the equitation, and I could not believe the number of entries. I think the response to this show is very telling...this is what has been missing!
Chelsea Carlson--I would say the adding of the Novice Championships has been a great move for AQHA. It gives novice competitors the chance to compete at a large, world event, except still against others of similar level. Everyone I've talked to has been very positive about the opportunity and future years to come of this event!
Kim Coleman McDavitt--I would like to say what a fabulous idea to recognize the novice rider. In the past, I think, in general, novices think no one notices them. We all have to start somewhere and being recognized in this fashion is amazing. I know the show was a big success and everyone seemed to have a great time. As with anything new and or first time, there is always kinks to work out. I think everyone that helped put the show on did a great job handling everything. Long days and nights for everyone, but, I continued seeing big smiling faces. Next year's show will be even more awesome and we look forward to showing again and bringing more customers.
Gina Hitchman--I'd say that having the novice championship shows is a great way for novice exhibitors to go to a big show and really get a feel for how they work, which makes showing at other big shows later on so much easier and less intimidating. When I first heard about them, I was really excited that I would get a chance to show there and my goals were to at least make the first cut in my classes or to be happy with my goes if I didn't!
Jerri Rorke--I feel that adding these shows gave everyone who was qualified to attend a shot at victory on a level playing field. Personally, preparing for this show, I had one goal in mind--to win the trail. We trained extremely hard and came away victorious. Goal met. I think this is an amazing show!
Trent Mathews--I was super excited when I heard about there being a world championship for novice. It gave me a whole new goal to work toward this year. We conditioned my horse so that he would be at his best for this show. I really would like to thank AQHA for giving us an opportunity to have a show like this.
Dianne Schaefer--When I first heard about the Novice Championship show I got pretty excited as I considered this my "World" show. I remember first hearing about the show but didn't want to come at first because I thought it may be too overwhelming, expensive, political and chaotic. What I found to be true is the total opposite. I can honestly say this horse show, for it's size and never being done before, ran very smoothly, very affordable and fair judging. I think it changed my perspective on many things as far as showing in AQHA.
Maria Squires Salazar--I was thrilled when I first heard that AQHA was adding the Novice Championships. This last weekend was a great chance for all the novices to get together and bond without the stresses of a typical large, championship show. I also really liked the accessibility and affordability of the show. Having a show on each coast was a great idea, especially with the current high costs of gas. The single entry fee and stall fee made the show affordable and attainable for everybody. It also gave people the chance to enter a class they would not normally enter and see if they like it. Overall, I think the Novice Championships were a great event, and I look forward to watching how they develop over the years.
Ashley Enoch-Scott--The show has given me a place to go show against other novices other
than Congress. It's great because its only four days and the classes have
been just as big and just as tough and it's all about us. I came not
knowing what the competition would be like and I am pleased to see that
it is very tough. It's nice having a championship show to go to while
we are making that step up to amateur.
Amanda Bennett--I had such a great time at the novice championship show! When I first
heard about this show, I immediately asked my mom if we could go! She
called up my Aunt Chris to see if she could meet us there and work with
me and my horse Jimmy to have our best possible rides. She said
absolutely, and that it was going to be like the novice's own youth
world! I couldn't wait all summer to come to this show and when I got
here I was so amazed how excited and friendly everyone was! My goal was
to make the finals in at least one of my events. I achieved my goal
when I made the showmanship finals. I can't even explain how excited I
was when they called out my name for being third and receiving the
bronze trophy. Showing here was an incredible experience! I was so
impressed with the amazing quality of all the riders and it was exciting
to compete with them!
Meghan Dauler--We could not be happier with how the championship show played out for us. I think that the adding of the championships for novices really
excited me! We had the Congress already planned for the year so I was
worried we would not be able to do both, but AQHA made the championships
extremely affordable! It all of a sudden became a goal to do both
shows this year. New Dark City (aka Dylan) and I had not shown that
much the previous year so it added some excitement to the beginning of
this year to get qualified. I can't wait to see if we qualify for next year's championships and I am already getting excited for it!
Alex Stark--Anytime you have an opportunity to show at a large competitive show and
do well, it affirms the theory that hard work does pay off. Adding this
show gave me a goal to work toward this year. It was great to see the
inaugural event have such a great turn out.
To the person complaining about no warm up for her reiner. I do believe there was a time the main arena was open to" Only Reiners" Maybe you were sleeping in that morning. I think some people will complain no matter what . We had a great time at the show and appreciate all the hard work that went into getting these shows out there. There are always kinks to work out on any show ,however I thought the West show ran smoothly and the Aqha and office staff were amazing! I'm sure feedback is appreciated for improvement but being nasty about what you were not satisfied with is not helpful to anybody. Thankyou AQHA for giving us this opportunity.
Well this was the best idea AQHA has had in a LONG Time!!! Novice people really needed something like this to get them excited about showing! We had great and sucessful time at the EAST show and the staff and KERI did a great job running things as smoothly as possible it being the first time. Classes were BIG and some really good horses at this show.. We were very successful in Performance Halter winning Reserve in the Geldings and also Reserve in Select All Around with "Best I Ever Had" so proud of aka "JR"! Will be back next year!!
I showed at the Novice Championship West show at the Southpoint in Reining. The warm up area was a joke with people walking through, pets, and western pleasure-type horses in the practice pen. The outdoor warm up area in the parking lot by the freeway is way slanted. No other place to warm up. I won't be going again unless there is a much better warm up system and a bit more respect by the other participants (and trainers!) for what we need to do to get ready to show our best in reining.
I would LOVE to have been able to watch the Novice World Show via live streaming video. I'm a novice with dreams to attend this show at some point, and I think if I could have been able to watch classes it would help me prepare and also continue to fuel my dreams. I hope AQHA will consider adding live streaming video for next year.
I am a 60 year old novice showing an 18 year old gelding, I just made the finals in western pleasure at the Novice Am East Championships. I have only been riding for 4 years, much hard work sacrifice, a great trainer and supportive husband made this dream of a lifetime come true for me. Thank you for the opportunity to show against others of my skill level. Did I say my horse was phenomenal and I enjoyed the flat fee to show as many classes as possible?