Alexia (right) says that she loves showing with her sister, Olivia. “She is always rooting for me and is there for me to lean on when things don’t go so well."

Tordoff Sisters Take on the 2017 AQHYA World, Together

The horse show life is sweeter when you’re doing it with friends and family who understand and share your passion for the sport. Competition, if treated with the right respect, can bring people together in the strongest way. You learn to push each other and yourself, sympathize when someone makes mistakes or falls short of a dream, and cheer with the wins and success. Even though we have felt this unity before, there’s a connection out there that not all of us have had the privilege of experiencing: showing with a sibling.

Olivia (16) and Alexia (13) Tordoff of Powell, Ohio compete at the highest level of AQHA with their family and trainer, Brent Tincher. With the 2017 AQHYA world show fast approaching, the girls have been working hard and pushing each other to surpass even their own expectations.

Alexia says that she loves showing with her sister. “She is always rooting for me and is there for me to lean on when things don’t go so well. Also, I like asking Olivia her perspective on what I can do better in my pattern classes.” Olivia echoes that statement and says it’s an enjoyable experience.

Although Alexia has been showing AQHA for eight years, this year will be her first to compete in Oklahoma City. Her partner is Blazin Hot N Gold, a sorrel gelding also known as Rooster. The team will show in equitation and horsemanship.

Rooster and Alexia (pictured right) have been together three years and she says they have the same personality. “We love to show but admittedly, we can get easily distracted and we have to work on staying focused. I am excited to show both the horsemanship and the equitation. I have done the equitation the longest but have been working hard on my horsemanship.”

Although this is Alexia’s first trip to show at the youth world, she is no stranger to fierce competition or success. She says her personal best was last year at Congress where they were reserve champions in the 12-14 Horsemanship, her first time showing in that age group.

Older sister, Oliva has been showing AQHA for nine years and this will be her fourth AQHYA World Show. She will be competing with two horses, Sterling Version (Sterling) and Too Blazin Cool (Willy) in L3 horsemanship, L3 hunter under saddle and L2 equitation.

“Both of my horses, Sterling and Willy, are extremely quirky while also being so sweet. I am most excited to show the L3 Horsemanship with Sterling as this will be our last Youth World Show together. I love showing Sterling because I truly feel like every time he gets to the cone he gives me his all.”

Olivia’s greatest accomplishments include winning the horsemanship at Congress a total of four times with Sterling Version, and a reserve world championship with Too Blazin Cool.

As far as competing together, both girls agree that they motivate each other. “We motivate one another by giving positive feedback and reassuring one another,” Olivia explained (pictured left) when asked about helping her sister.

“We know each other so well that we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We also know each other’s horses and their strengths and weaknesses, so we try to remind each other to just focus on doing what we know and leave it all in the pen,” Alexia added.

Alexia shared a story that captures the essence of having a sibling to lean on through the good and the bad. “A memory that means a lot to me was during the Congress in 2014, Olivia had just won the 12-14 Horsemanship and I heard it announced as I was practicing for the 11 and Under Hunter Under Saddle with my other horse, Ray. I had a bad go and was really disappointed but Olivia was the first person to meet me as I came out of the pen and she hugged me and told me she was still proud of me.”

Preparing for the world show takes a lot of time and work, perfecting skills and maximizing potential. The Tordoff sisters say that their trainer stresses three things as they get ready:

  • Know the rule book and make sure you know how the judges score the classes we are showing in.
  • Correctness. It shouldn’t be all about speed. Focus on being correct and having finesse.
  • Strength. There are a lot of no stirrups and no irons and if you say you are tired, he makes you keep going.

Brent commented on what it has been like to work with the pair. “I think you would assume it would be easier to train sisters because they would be so similar. I have trained sisters in the past with Megan and Mallory Overberg. Both times, with the Overberg’s and the Tordoff’s, the girls are completely different and challenge me in very different ways. In both cases, they really pushed me to think of different ways to engage them and different ways to coach them. I guess at the end of the day, they have pushed me to be a better trainer and allowed me to be as passionate as I am about finding ways to help them succeed.”

Showing horses is something that has brought the Tordoff family together in many ways as they continue to enjoy showing American Quarter Horses. Their parents, Shari and Greg, who own and operate Wild Oats Farm in Delaware, Ohio, also shared how the horse show life has impacted them.

“Having both of our girls be so passionate about horses has actually been a great thing because it is what we do together as a family. Also, the life skills they are learning are so important to us. Nothing beats good old fashion hard work and dedication. We are proud of how the girls really support one another and root for each other when practicing and competing. The girls know that having and showing horses requires a lot of sacrifices for our entire family so our agreement is that we will support them as long as they are willing to work hard, be respectful and remember to give back to the industry that has already given them so much.”

Good luck to Olivia and Alexia at the 2017 youth world show!

CLICK HERE to view their ad in the July issue of GoMag


About the Author: GoHorseShow writer, Morgan McCarthy Warda, is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in Wildlife Biology and Writing. Morgan grew up actively competing on the AQHA circuit. She balances her time between her job as an Agriculture Environment Assurance Program Technician, showing, writing, being an MQHA board member, and working as a student research assistant at the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge. In the future, Morgan plans to obtain a Master’s degree in Wildlife Management and continue to be an active member of AQHA.