Bella D'Onofrio's last picture of the day from the Level 1 East Championships.

Bella D’Onofrio’s Final Picture of the Day from AQHA Level 1 East Championships

For my final picture of the day, I would like to feature the voice of Level One Championships East, Darren Moore. He is an announcer from Texas. I love his unique approach to every Champion’s announcement. He truly makes an effort to make you feel like the most special person in the world while receiving your award and during your victory lap. He will be a special part in my memories for a lifetime.

I also featured the Rookie Youth Horsemanship winners, both offspring of Zippos Mr Goodbar. Mason Dorsey aboard Good Alibis was Reserve Champion and Kyleigh Buhl piloted Lonesome At The Bar to the Championship. I love the disposition of the Goodbars. They are honest, reliable and perfect for all Level 1 exhibitors. Who doesn’t love a beautiful red roan? I love mine, Just Good Enough, who helped me capture the 13 & Under Showmanship Championship last year. In the words of Mr. Moore, he was “more than Good Enough.”

So, that concludes the 2017 Level One East Championship show and my photos of the day. Good luck to all of you this year. Thank you to all of the AQHA staff for putting the show on. It was a blast!

May 5, 2017, Picture #4

Our day at the Level One East Championships started out quite wet but show officials and exhibitors worked together to make things as efficient and fun for all including breakfast tacos to celebrate Cinco de Mayo! Champions were crowded in showmanship and halter. And our day ended with lots of sunshine and blue skies!

To conclude the day, we had our final ride the pattern demo on Horsemanship by AQHA Professional Horsemen, Jonathan Meilleur and Whitney Lagace. The ride the pattern demos have been excellent sources of information for the exhibitors at this year’s show. Donations are collected at each demo to benefit the AQHA Crisis fund. The crisis fund exists to assist AQHA professionals in need from sudden and unexpected loss of income.  I would like to thank all the AQHA professionals who have donated their time and expertise. I love to hear every professional horseman’s advice on how to perfect my pattern!

May 4, 2017, Picture #3

Today at Level One Championships it was “Thank your Show Mom Day.” Bouquets of beautiful flowers sponsored by Merial were provided to exhibitors to give to their show mothers to thank them for all their help and support.

Exhibitors were encouraged to capture photos with their mother and share them on social media with the hashtag #showmomlove. My main photo features Faith DiLillo with her Mother, Annie, and her Grandmother, Beverly. Two generations of horse show moms.

My next photo features the final two exhibitors in Youth Reining. I captured this moment when they were the last two standing (pictured right). I love the sportsmanship in this photo, friends and competitors. Grace Wilson of Virginia was crowned Champion and Mary Margret Coats from North Carolina was reserve.

My final photo features judge Brent Tincher (pictured left). I chose it because we were blessed with another beautiful day and he’s judging in his shades.

May 3, 2017, Picture #2

Today at the Level One Championships East, we were blessed to show the hunter under saddle and ranch riding classes outside. We showed under clear blue skies surrounded by the beautiful grounds at the J. B Hunt equestrian complex.

I know I sure enjoyed trotting down the center of the arena with the sun shining. I think the horses enjoyed it too. A breath of fresh air. Some of us may have suffered slight sunburns, especially those of us from Ohio.

My picture of the day is our friend, Lynn Caudell’s horse, Hummer, enjoying the sunshine and being silly after trying some champagne. Lynn was celebrating with our barn since I won the 13&U Hunter Under Saddle and was reserve in the Trail. My mother wanted to make sure to note that I wasn’t allowed to try any alcohol!

The exhibitors also enjoyed entering their favorite dogs in the dog race. Horse people sure love their dogs. There were dogs of every size that raced to their owners who encouraged them with everything from tennis balls to chicken nuggets. Many even wore cute costumes.

Later in the evening, the exhibitors’ reception provided a wonderful dinner and allowed exhibitors to mix and mingle with friends from the East.

Stay tuned for more pictures from the show!

Intro – May 2, 2017, Picture #1

Welcome to Raleigh, North Carolina for the AQHA Level One Championships East. My name is Isabella D’Onofrio and I am honored to be the person who is taking the photo of the day for GoHorseShow. I am 12 years old and a 6th-grade student at Jones Middle School, in Upper Arlington, Ohio. I will be showing my all around horse, Nearly Chocolate, also known as Curly. We will be showing in the 13 and under trail, hunter under saddle, equitation, and horsemanship.

The Level One Championships has given me one of my favorite horse show memories. In 2016, I won the 13 and under Showmanship with my horse, Just Good Enough. It was a dream come true. I would like to thank my trainer, Missy Thyfault, for all of her encouragement and expertise and my parents for helping me achieve my dreams.

I look forward to seeing everyone in Raleigh and capturing all the behind the scenes memories. One of my favorite quotes is “What you do in the dark puts you in the light”. Work hard and enjoy the ride!

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