Recent surgery and a trailer fire on the way to the NSBA World Championship show weren't big enough obstacles to keep twenty one year-old Hope Elizabeth D'Alessio of Brownwood, Texas from having great success in Tulsa last week. Hope just returned from the NSBA World Championship show where she and her horse, Invested in Cookies, were World Champions in the Non Pro Showmanship, Intermediate Non Pro Showmanship, and the Limited Non Pro Horsemanship. The duo even placed fourth in the Non Pro Equitation after not showing in the equitation since she won the Novice Amateur Equitation at the Congress last year. GoHorseShow talked to D'Alessio to find out more about this up-and-coming rider.
Q: Hi Hope! Congratulations on your success at the NSBA World! Can you tell us how you got involved with horses and about your current mount?
A: I started riding when I went to a friend's birthday party at a barn when I was seven. I have been showing Invested In Cookies for the past three years. His barn name is Chester because we bought him from Chester Prince, but more often than not, we call him Porkchop. He is a funny horse; wants to be in your pocket at all times. He is by Potential Investment and is a spitting image of him. I show in showmanship, horsemanship, trail and equitation, and I love the competition and the responsibility of preparation. Without showing horses I'm not sure what I would do with my life. This is more than just a hobby to me, it's a lifestyle.
Q: What has been your favorite equine accomplishments?
A: My favorite accomplishments include winning the Congress back to back years, leading the nation in 2011 in the Limited Amateur Showmanship, NSBA World Champions in Limited Non Pro Horsemanship and Intermediate Non Pro Showmanship. But my most recent and treasured accomplishment is winning the Non Pro Showmanship at the 2012 NSBA World a few days ago. My experience at the NSBA World was more than picture perfect. It is so special to me because I love showmanship and have worked extra hard this year on my presence in the pen, but, mainly because I had ankle ligament reconstruction surgery in March of this year and wasn't sure if showmanship would even be in the cards for me this year.
Q: Tell me about your trainers?
A: My trainers are Kim and Curtis Reynolds from Fairfield, Florida. I love everything about them. They are so dedicated and willing to do whatever it takes to push me to my fullest potential. On the way out to Tulsa for the NSBA World, their horse trailer caught on fire. After battling the flames and waiting on another trailer for over 24 hours, they still managed to get there in time to show! Now if that's not dedication I dont know what is. The trailer had an axle that caught on fire which ended up in a blowout and the fire department in Fulton, Mississippi came and put out the fire out on the interstate. Kim and Curtis unloaded the horses and people were stopping to help hold them. The trailer is most likely totaled, but all the horses and people are fine. Just when you start to question society you have an incident like this happen where you find kind and generous people who are willing to stop what there doing to help another person in need.
Q: What is one of your favorite horse show memories?
A: My favorite show memory was at the 2010 Congress after I won the horsemanship. I fell asleep in a chair and woke up to find myselt taped to the chair with my parents, curtis and barn mates taking blackmail pictures of me. Curtis said it was so I didnt fall out but I know better than that.
Q: What has been some of the challenges you have faced showing horses?
A: The biggest challenges I have faced would definitely be buying Porkchop at the beginning of my last youth year and being a novice in almost everything. I had great success with that, but it made moving up to amateur extremely hard becasue I went from novice to showing with the "Big Dogs" and having to fight tooth and nail to even get a placing. But in the end, it is all worth it because I have learned so much from that experience and it has made me the rider I am today.
Q: What are you majoring in in college and what are your future goals in the show arena?
A: I currently go to school at Howard Payne University and I am majoring in Communications with a minor in Psychology. I am a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant as well. My future goals include winning the AQHA World in the showmanship and to continue to be successful in all of my other classes but mainly to have as much fun showing as possible. I would like to thank my parents and and Kim and Curtis Reynolds for all their love and support.
A well done article. I love Hope's attitude, so very refreshing in the "dog eat dog" world of horse showing. Congratulations to Hope and I here's to more wonderful showing experiences. We need people just like you !