Find out more about Amateur Julie Hoefling in our "10 Things You Probably Don't Know about Me" series. Photo © Tiffany Anne Photo

10 Things You Probably Don’t Know about Julie Hoefling

The next person in our highly popular series “10 Things You Probably Don’t Know about Me” is Julie Hoefling of Cave Creek, Arizona. Hoefling was born and raised in Akron, Michigan but now resides in Arizona with her husband, Jerry. She works at Kahala Brands as a Director of Marketing. Julie shows her horse, Shady Impulse in the Novice Amateur Western All-Around events under the guidance of Ryan and Andrea Kail.

Her horse, Shady Impulse, also know as “Tuggers”, is a 13-year-old gelding that she purchased in 2015. For the first time, Julie and Tuggers are headed to compete at the NSBA World Show and the Congress.

So far this year, this duo has had great success including the All-Around Novice Amateur at the Silver Dollar Circuit; Reserve Circuit Champion Silver Dollar in the Novice Amateur Western Pleasure; Reserve Circuit at the Arizona Sun Circuit in the Novice Amateur Western Riding; and the Level 1 Reserve Champion in the Novice Amateur Showmanship at the AQHA Level One Championships West.

10 Things about Julie

1. Before 2015, I had only shown at one AQHA show in 1997, and I got bucked off. Growing up, I primarily showed 4-H and Open Shows in Michigan. I did go to one Quarter Horse show, and my horse got stung by a bee and bucked me off in a mud puddle. I earned my first AQHA point in my life in 2015 and now am in my last year of the Level One Western Pleasure. Needless to say, I’ve come a long way.

2. I get nervous before I show, like really nervous! I can usually manage at the small shows, but at the big ones, I usually seek some “assistance.” I have tried all sorts of techniques, and they help, but I still can’t seem to shake the nerves. I think we all want to do the best we can and that is where it comes from. You’ll usually see me pacing around or trying to do something to occupy my time (like fill the cooler with ice or sweep the aisle) before my class at a big show.

3. I joke that I have the palate of a 40-year-old man. I love pizza, burgers, nachos, and beer. And dessert! Pretty much anything that isn’t healthy for you. I try to eat healthy during the week while I’m at work or home for dinner but on the weekends, I usually want one of the above items. Everything in moderation is a saying I like to live by.

4. I make a pretty awesome crock pot tortellini. As we know, horse shows are expensive, and I try to be as frugal as I can. I typically bring drinks, snacks, and food with me to cut down on costs while at the show. At my first Novice Championship show, I made tortellini in a crock pot in the tack room and after I had shown, we celebrated my good run with some tortellini. Since then, it has become a tradition that at bigger shows on Western Riding day, I’ll cook a pot of tortellini for good luck.

5. I taught my horse showmanship. I have loved showmanship since my 4-H days and have always wanted to do well in this class. When I bought Tuggers, he was primarily a western pleasure horse and was just getting starting on the all-around events. He had no showmanship training. I have been working to add this for a long time and was very close to giving up as I just didn’t think it was going to be something we could excel in. Just about the time I was going to let it go, it all started to come together. I went from not placing last year to placing in the Top 5 at the Silver Dollar Circuit and the Sun Circuit this year. I was just Reserve Champion in the L1 Amateur Showmanship at the Level One Championships in Las Vegas competing against seasoned showmanship horses. I was proud of this one as I did most of the ground work myself (with the finishes touches put on my trainers) and because Tuggers only had four showmanship points. We hear it all the time, but it is truly a lesson in hard working paying off and never giving up when you love something.

6. My sister and my husband are my biggest fans behind the scenes, but you’ll only see them at the shows once in a while. My sister lives in Michigan and tries to make it to at least one big show a year. She watches the live feeds whenever they are available, and we’ll chat while I’m at the show. My husband works a lot and holds down the household and our dogs while I’m gone. He is supportive and cheers me on from afar. They both stay connected with me at the shows even if they aren’t physically there.

7. I have a pretty demanding job and sometimes arrive on the night before the show. I am the Director of Marketing at Kahala Brands and have a total of seven brands covered by myself and my team. I have limited time off and try to make the most of it. Often, I’ll arrive the night before I show after working and run through a pattern quick or do some last minute prep. My trainers, Ryan and Andrea Kail, do an excellent job of having my horse prepped and ready for me when I get there. They arrive early with my horse and text me my patterns or other information so I can be prepared without physically being there.

8. I grew up in the tiny town of Akron, Michigan on a farm. It was so small that they had to put two cities together to make a school. There were 40 people in my graduating class. My sister, brother and I spent a lot of time outside playing in ditches and the barn. It was a great way to grow up.

9. I still get the newspaper, watch the news, and go to bed early. I think I am the only person under the age of 40 who still gets the newspaper. Growing up, my mom always watched the news and I think that rubbed off because as soon as I get home from work, I turn it on. And living in Arizona, the sun comes up early, especially in the summer, so I am usually in bed by 9 so I can get up early.

10. I carry a bottle of champagne with me to every horse show. I was given a beautiful bottle of champagne and am waiting for the right time to open it. I have a bag that I bring down to the tack stall with me and it is stored in there. It has gone to several shows and hasn’t been opened yet. I don’t have a specific goal or win in mind yet, but I know I want it to be a really special one!

CLICK HERE to read the highly popular, recently published article “10 Unwritten Rules of Horse Showing” written by Julie Hoefling for GoHorseShow.

Thanks, Julie, for sharing more of your life outside of horses with us.

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