Johnna Letchworth and her handsome partner, Krymsun Kryptonite, have won their first Amateur All Around at the World Show together. Photo © GoHorseShow

Wrapup from AQHA World Show with Lauren Crivelli Stanley

Editor’s Note: GoHorseShow debuted a “guest reporter for a day” series throughout the Congress where exhibitors and trainers reported on exciting things they went on during the show. It was a huge hit, so we decided it would be fun to do it again from the AQHA World Show. Read our last one here from Lauren Crivelli Stanley.

FINAL REPORT  – Amateur Lauren Crivelli Stanley 

What an incredible World Show it has been. Dozens of new 2017 World Champions have been crowned, and two new high points have been awarded. Johnna Letchworth and her handsome partner, Krymsun Kryptonite, have won their first Amateur All Around at the World Show together. They have been the team to beat all year, proving exactly why after a week of showing.

The duo earned bronze champion titles in Hunt Seat Equitation and Horsemanship as well as Top Ten awards in Showmanship and Performance Halter Geldings and a Finalist in the Trail.

When asked if this title was a goal, Johnna said, “I don’t know if I would call it a goal. I think I would call it a dream. I don’t think anyone can come here expecting anything. You come and do your very best. The rest is out of your control.”

Congratulations Johnna on accomplishing your dream.

Amateur Scott Reinartz pictured here with his two reserve trophies.

The Reserve Amateur All Around was Scott Reinartz and Investin A Goodbar. Scott and Hank had a fantastic show together, besting their previous year’s accomplishments.

“Running for the All Around is something I think about but never put pressure on myself to achieve. I was 4th two years ago, 3rd last year, and my goal this year was to be Reserve. I usually never check the standings until the end, but I must confess I looked this year.”

Together, they earned two Reserve World Championships in the Pleasure Driving and Trail as well as Top Ten accolades in the Horsemanship and Finalists in the Performance Halter Geldings and Showmanship.

When asked how Scott prepares for all his classes, he had this to say, “I don’t change my process for getting ready for a class; I do my patterns on foot until I know them. I do it with my horse once or twice. I don’t like to over practice, it usually gets worse if I do. I don’t really have a favorite class, but if I had to pick just one, I probably wouldn’t be showing. I love all of the classes we show in.”

Congratulations Scott on pushing yourself to achieve your goal.

Another All Around contender who stood out was Taylor Brown. She took the term “All Around” to a new level at this show. Taylor showed three different horses in classes that ranged from Boxing and Ranch Riding to Showmanship and Western Riding.

We asked how she juggled such a wide variety of events while staying at the top of the competition.

“Switching from the Cowhorse to the All Around events might be difficult for some, but for me, it keeps my mind busy and thinking. It was challenging at first, but now, when I just do the All Around, I find myself to be a little bored because I’m not constantly running around changing my clothes and jumping on different horses.”

Brown adds, “The Cowhorse is by far my favorite class. It’s super fast-paced and has a lot of different things to incorporate into it. Then, on top of that, you also add in the cow that has a mind of its own that you control with your horse. For me, running for the All Around doesn’t add any pressure. It gives me something to strive for at the end of the show instead of just trying to win individual events.”

The 2017 World Show also saw a few newcomers in the winner’s circle. Kendra Whitney and her horse, Tommy Lee Loper, made their very first finals appearance in the incredibly tough Amateur Western Riding class.

“It has been a dream for such a long time. It is such an honor to be able to compete against so many great riders and horses that I have watched for so many years. I always felt that if you could make the finals then anything could happen on any given ride. I just feel so blessed to have an amazing teammate in Tommy and the most amazing coaches in Leslie Lange and Jeff Mellott.”

Brooke Ingstad, a well decorated exhibitor as a Youth, came back into the Amateur arena after taking some time off and made the Amateur Trail finals for the first time.

“Making the L3 trail finals at the World Show as a L1 competitor was a really exciting accomplishment for me. It was my first Amateur AQHA World Show ever, and I was just really excited to have made it that far. It was such a tough class filled with so many talented riders, it was truly an honor to be a part of it.”

I was also fortunate enough to place in the horsemanship for the first time as an Amateur with my four year-old, Extremely Good Stuff. It was an incredibly humbling experience, and we are excited to build and come back next year.

Congratulations to everyone who participated and surpassed their dreams at the 2017 AQHA World Championship Show.

DAY 8 – Amateur Andrea Kengis Foss

Pictured here is Andrea Kengis Foss with Jenny Jordan.

I’m sure all my fellow amateurs know the feeling of being at those big, long, stressful horse shows and walking down the barn aisle a little bit on egg shells wondering what the mood of the day is going to be. Our fearless and tireless leaders put up with a lot of extra factors during such shows, besides just getting us and our horses to perform to peak potential.

That being said, I am the first to admit that I will shamelessly do whatever it takes to bribe my trainers to be just a little happier with me during these long hauls. My dynamic duo, Robin Frid and Jenny Jordan, are pretty easy. I can always butter Jenny up during an early morning showmanship practice with an extra hot, tall, Flat White from Starbucks.

Robin takes a little more planning, but I’m willing to do it. With me being from Wisconsin, I am able to weasel my way into perfect student status with gifts from the dairyland…specifically, aged sharp white cheddar cheese which there is definitely a hands off policy attached to it.

I decided to ask some of my fellow competitors what they do to put themselves just a little bit higher on the client list at shows.

Johnna and Travis Dobbs keep their halter horses with Ted Turner. Johnna’s bribery tactics are a little more creative. She bribes Ted with trophies, but, in return, when she wins her classes, he has to turn and smile at the camera in her win pictures. I suppose a client’s performance is a definite factor in the attitudes of the barn aisle.

Tami Dobbs, who shows with Tim and Shannon Gillespie, might have one of the higher end bribes out of the bunch. Tami, who works at a dermatology and skin care clinic, keeps her trainers looking fresh with regular Botox maintenance. Shoot, I recently started keeping a horse with Gillespie’s. They might need more than cheese from me.

I talked with Nicole Barnes, who trains with Brad Kearns. She told me that, although probably uncommon, Brad is seriously one of the happiest people she knows and most of the time he tries to find a light in every situation. He has a way of brushing off a poor pattern or ill-behaved horse, but when things do go downhill, she loads him up on Diet Mountain Dew, and all that caffeine usually does the trick.

Caffeine and food appear to be a common theme with most trainers including Bruce Vickery and Anthony Montes. Their customer, Scott Reinartz usually brings them Starbucks and food to butter them up.

Well, whether it be food, wine, or something bigger, it’s safe to say we all get way more out of a horse show with a happy trainer…..bribe on everyone!

DAY 7 – Amateur Hillary Roberts 

Hi everyone! It’s Hillary Roberts reporting from the AQHA World Show. I caught up with Tim Kimura, more commonly referred to as “Tim the Trail Man,” to get his take on the trail this year in Oklahoma.

Hillary: Hi Tim! So, take me through the process of developing a trail pattern for the world show.

Tim: I start by drawing three patterns, then I look at all three and decide which fits each class. I have to choose elements for each pattern that will work for both the L2 and the L3. The dynamics are always changing, so I use that as a formula to figure out what happens every year.

Hillary: What’s your favorite course you’ve designed here this year?

Tim: Definitely, the Senior Trail Finals.

Hillary: You’re pretty busy here. How do you adjust to the lack of sleep?

Tim: I came in pretty fresh with a lot of sleep. The beginning of the show was the hardest – lots of putting up and taking down. There’s small windows to sleep here and there, but it’s not always easy to fall asleep. My girlfriend, Tiina, is showing here, so sometimes my breaks that are intended for sleep are used to watch her show and video her patterns.

Hillary: How do you keep yourself awake in the stands?

Tim: I watch YouTube. I like politics, so I keep up to date doing that. I watch the patterns, but sometimes I need something to help me stay awake and focused.

Hillary: Are there any key differences in AQHA World Show trail than the courses we show all year?

Tim: The key element is the ‘fluff’ and decoration I put out here in Oklahoma City. It’s like city-building, and that in itself really changes the dynamic at the World Show.

Hillary: Tell us something people don’t know about you?

Tim: Only the old school people know this, but I use to do the cowhorse and cutting. Bobby Ingersoll was my mentor. I went from ‘Tokyo Tex’ to MOT. When I showed in California, my parents put horse shows on. Understanding the roots of the trail class helps me design great courses today.

Hillary: What happens next – what does the future hold for trail?

Tim: The way I see it, part of the reason trail horses have become so fine-tuned is lots of practice. Exhibitors can practice pieces of the pattern over and over at the show, so when it’s time to show, they’ve got it down. I see an eventual elimination of practice sessions at the show. Even if we leave practice available for the amateurs, we could eliminate warmups for the open riders to level up the degree of difficulty.

At the end of the day, sometimes I ask myself what my legacy is or how I’ve contributed. The best part of what I do is getting to see the players that I’ve helped and coached go on and be successful, then have children who go on and are successful. It makes me proud of what I do.

Hillary: Thanks, Tim!

DAY 6 – Amateur Taylor Deppen 

The AQHA World Show is certainly just another horse show in a lot of ways, but most exhibitors will agree, there is a certain atmosphere here that sets this one apart from the rest. Whether you are a first timer here or someone who’s been coming for decades, the prestige of winning that golden globe trophy is everyone’s ultimate goal.

Today, I saw many achieve that dream. The morning started with numerous halter classes in the Norick arena, and the Amateur Level 3 Trail prelims and Level 2 finals in the Performance Arena. I spent most of my day cheering on friends in the trail pen. One friend in particular, Dr. Kimberly Guenther showed her horse, Always the Talk, in the Amateur Level 2 Trail. Having owned her horse “Beau” less than a year, she was excited to receive her qualifying letter and decided to make the trip out to Oklahoma for her first ever World Show.

She and Beau had a beautiful ride today, scoring a 227, and ended up receiving the bronze trophy. I was so excited for her, and I can’t wait to see what they will achieve in the future.

The main events for the evening included finals for a very competitive group of Amateur Level 3 Hunt Seat Equitation riders and my personal favorite, the Level 3 Senior Western Riding. The winner of the hunt seat equitation was Julie Renee Kirsch riding The Only Story. They were also the Reserve Level 2 Champion on Saturday.

Then came the western riding. The finals were packed with tough competition this year, all having beautiful rides on incredible horses. Jason Martin was the last man standing though as the World Champion, riding his “unicorn” Heza Radical Zip (Troy) to an impressive score of 240. When interviewed, Jason said that Troy is a horse who “loves to do his job”, and it was evident in tonight’s performance. This is the 13th year in a row that Highpoint Performance Horses has been the champion in this event, and I’m sure it’s just as special as the first time.

I am sad to say goodbye to Oklahoma, but it has been such an honor to attend my second AQHA World Show. I can’t wait to come back next year.

DAY 5 – Amateur Elizabeth Combs

After sleeping in this morning at the AQHA World Show, I woke up in a panic. I don’t show until Tuesday, but getting a normal, human amount of sleep feels practically anti-horse show. We spend so much time on our feet prepping our horses to show, self care often goes to the wind as soon as we step on the fairgrounds.

Instead of hustling to the show, I decided to hit the hotel gym this morning for a few minutes, and I discovered a unicorn. World Champion Chad Evans was in the GYM.  Yes, I witnessed it first hand – a horse trainer in a gym. And no he wasn’t in jeans and boots. So how do we manage to not fall over from exhaustion or end up with a cold from day 1 of Congress that turns into pneumonia by Thanksgiving?

After running into to “Gym-Chad,” I wanted to know more tricks of the trade from the pros, so once I arrived at the show, the research began. Jeff Mellott laughed me off initially when I asked if he had any tips for self-care during a horse show, but it turns out, his self care routine is all about prep work. This year, he began running 4-5 miles each day before arriving at the show. By the time he arrives to the circuits, he doesn’t have time to include this into his routine, but it became a big ritual for him recently.

Most everyone was pro vitamins and Emergen-C, but Bruce Vickery (pictured left) is no longer on the Vitamin C train. Instead, he focuses on eating as clean as possible, and making it out of the barns and arenas to find fresh air once a day.

However, if Bruce is going to treat himself to something sweet at the shows, he heads to the Sweet Shop for a cinnamon roll, because of course, treat yo self.

David Miller does his best each day to escape the show for one meal. In addition, he makes an effort to integrate some sports psychology into his daily routine to help keep his mind clear and ready for competition.

Kelly McDowall is apparently too cool for sports psychology, but he is also a fan of finding a break from the show. If he’s not actively working with horses, he’s ready to head out to dinner or go to the hotel for rest. Speaking of the infamous Mr. McDowall (pictured right), I learned from Jill Newcomb today that he sneaks over to her stalls, unbeknownst to most of us McDowall clients, to enjoy Jill’s homemade meals. I had no idea Jill makes crock pot meals each day for lunch as a healthy alternative. In addition to being a nutritious chef, Jill prioritizes drinking plenty of water and creating a schedule with most of her riding during the day so she can maintain a consistent sleep schedule. No wonder she always look so on point. Well that’s a wrap for today. Good luck to everyone this week and congrats to all the new champs that have been crowned in the last week.

DAY 4 – Trainer Jadasa “Dasi” Jablonowski FINALS FASHION

I believe what makes the AQHA World Show so special is the finals, and that brings us to one interesting question, “What should I wear?”

Fashion statements to stand out, or to just add extra luck, in the show arena are essential to many exhibitors because they believe it gives them an extra edge. So, I thought I would track down some of tonight’s Junior Trail Finalists to ask them if they dress any differently at this show than at regular shows throughout the year.

I did not have to walk far to meet Brad Ost in the aisleway of Highpoint’s stalls. Brad said he usually has the girls at the barn tell him what to wear but, tonight, he chose his outfit because he is honoring someone special.

“Since it’s Veteran’s Day, I plan to wear red and black to honor my grandfather who died in the war.” Very nice gesture Brad!

I walked on to Arena 8 and found Robin Frid, another of tonight’s finalists, and he answered very honestly. “I don’t have any say on what I wear – I wear whatever my wife says.”

Okay great, I thought, and I went to find his wife,  Jenny, to ask her about it. Usually, she dresses him in bright colors, but tonight the owners are here to watch. So, he will wear colors she knows they like to see in the show arena. It appears Jenny is on top of everything.

On my way through the barns, I went to Whitney Lagace’s stalls. Whitney was not there because she was getting her nails done for the finals. That immediately made her my hero. I met her later on to ask her about her outfit and she said, “For the finals, I wear something that has been successful and never something new – I want it to have good karma.”

I agree that good karma is always helpful! While riding, I saw Blake Weis and went over to ask him his fashion preferences. Blake said, “The biggest difference as far as what I wear at the World Show is that I’m wearing a tie. But, I will always wear the same chaps – they are faded, old and too short, but I love them.” (pictured right)

Then, I met Deanna Searles and she said that she “will wear the nicest outfit she has – her western pleasure outfit.”

It took me a while to track down Chad Evans, and he had his answer ready. “I wear my lucky shirts that I only wear in the finals here and not at normal horse shows.”

So, I asked him if that was the same shirt he was wearing last night in the Senior Trail Finals. He said, “No, that was my Senior Trail lucky shirt, and, tonight, I will be wearing my Junior Trail lucky shirt.”

Oh my, Chad, you are so funny!

I went on to track down more finalists and I found Troy Lehn (pictured above) at his stalls. Troy said that he is planning on something very special for tonight, but he wants to keep it a surprise. “I will only say so much. I will dress it up a little.”

Then, when I saw him ride in in the finals, I loved his outfit right away. He was wearing a dress shirt with a real tie, topped with a sweater-vest.

With this, Troy was for sure the best-dressed rider tonight, and he might have just started a new fashion trend. (pictured above)

DAY 3 – Amateur Exhibitors Ashley and Jessie Hadlock

Hello! We are Ashley and Jessie Hadlock, and we are happy to be reporting to you from Oklahoma City. Today was a big day, not only in the show pen but also around the grounds, as today it was ‘pink day’ to help show support to those affected by cancer. AQHA did a great job allowing everyone to make a t-shirt to show support for those affected by such a horrible disease.

Another fun event was the Rein in Cancer Frisbee Toss held before the Senior Trail finals. The frisbees counted as an entry for the chance to win a 100x hat donated by Shorty’s Caboy Hattery. The frisbee closest to the hat box won. Shorty, being a cancer survivor herself, went above and beyond by not only giving one 100x hat but two. All proceeds from the frisbee sales helped support the Rein in Cancer organization.

The Level 1 Western Pleasure Stakes was held in the performance arena displaying an influential group of horses. Coming out on top was Gone Viral and Jason English for Kari Craft, Reserve was The Silver Foxx and Reid Thomas for Larisa Affeldt, and bronze champion Shes Willy Awesome and Nick Mayabb for Janice Warford.

The prelims of the 2-Year-Old Western Pleasure displayed a promising group of young horses new and upcoming in the industry. The finals will be held tomorrow afternoon.

The finals of the Senior Trail was the main evening event. The course challenged riders and horses beginning with double gates, extended lope and trot overs, followed by collecting at the respective gait, and elevated poles. The course was challenging in many ways but exciting for exhibitors to watch.

With only a half point difference between first and second place, Jennifer Paul with Some Hot Potential for Emma Brown was crowned world champions; Jason Martin with Heza Radical Zip were reserve world champions for Bonnie Sheren, and bronze champions were Chad Evans with One Hot Royalty for David Brodersen.

With the evening just ending, we are calling it a night as tomorrow is an early morning for us to prepare for a day of showing. Good luck to everyone the rest of the week.

DAY 2 – Amateur Exhibitor Kathryn deVries-Mitchell

Thursday at the World Show – what a busy day. There was a lot packed into today’s schedule; the three big open performance halter classes went and took a significant portion of the day in the Norick Arena. I had my junior mare, Good Money Machine, in the Open Performance Mares and the Junior Trail prelims. I felt like we ran back and forth a hundred times. And I wasn’t the only one.

Having all the performance classes today while a lot of performance classes were showing had a lot of people on their toes. The performance halter classes were big and deep, big winners were Most Appealing Dream and Gene Parker in the mares, Mytesly and Ted Turner in the geldings, and Inspirado with Todd Grant in the stallions. (pictured below)

Over in the Performance arena, there was a significant class of some of the most talented Junior Trail horses I’ve ever seen. A long course with lots of high poles and that dreaded solid gate – it was challenging.

There were 73 in the Level 3 prelims, with Deanna Searles and Hereicomeagain taking the top spot with a 236. Winning the Level 2 was John Briggs and Won Vital Code RV – with an impressive 235. The finals of that will go Saturday night – with those from the shootout – 21 will come back for those (and my horse made it back in there too).

Back to the Norick – the Junior Hunter Under Saddle finals went as well this afternoon with the senior finals shortly after. Beth Case added another win to her name with Hubbout A Dance in the Junior Hunter Under Saddle, and Aaron Moses had a great ride to win the Senior Western Pleasure with A Diva By Moonlight who is by Only In The Moonlite.

I thought it was a great group of senior pleasure horses in the finals tonight; great movers and I liked how many had more forward motion and weren’t afraid to keep them off the rail if that gave them a better ride.

A lot was going on all day it seemed; it was hard to see everything that was going on today, but there were a lot of new shiny trophies and smiling faces at the end of the day. I had to hop on the plane to come back to California for a few days, but I will be back Saturday for those trail finals and to do more shopping.

DAY 1 – Amateur Exhibitor Johnna Letchworth-Clark

Sometimes I think people get caught up in success. I mean, who am I kidding, everyone likes success.

When I stop and think about what success means, I think about the talented horses and their hard working trainers. I also think about the people who keep these well-oiled machines running. Some of you may not know that there are people “behind the scenes” who make things in the show pen possible. I asked some of the nation’s top trainers who they need behind them every step of the way.

Trainer, Kelly McDowall from Colorado says that Danette Watson (pictured left) has worked for him for six or seven years. “She is the hardest working, most dependable assistant ever.” Kelly can’t thank her enough for all the things she does for his family and their clients.

Caitlin Schneider (pictured right) is the backbone of Twin Acres Ranch located in Moberly, Missouri. Blake Weis simply could not do it without her. He says, “She is silly in the way that she won’t let anyone help her back at the stalls. She likes to do everything herself.” Thank you, Caitlin. You keep Blake Weis and Snap Krackle Pop ready to go.

Trainer, Charlie Cole of Pilot Point, Texas is a little different when it comes to preparation for a class. He says, “I’m a loner when it comes to heading up to the show pen and before I walk into the show pen.” Even with his differences before stepping into the show pen, he would like to thank Caley Coffey and Ashley Dunbar-Clock (pictured left) for making sure his horses are saddled and always ready to show. Without the two of them, he’d be getting no sleep as he used to when he and Jason first started. “Thanks for letting me get some sleep, girls.”

Clint Ainsworth says two people are critical to his preparation. Tony Anderman has been by his side for many years. He makes sure Clint’s horses are perfectly groomed and takes care of every last detail. Chris Gray is another person who plays a big part in his horse show success. He knows what to say and when to say it. He keeps Clint calm and focused. “I don’t know what I would do without them, Tony and Chris, I appreciate you more than you know.”

Deann Hudson has worked for Kellie Hinely for 18 years! Deann can remember every blanket that every horse has worn. Kellie could not do her job without her. “Thank you for making my job more enjoyable,” Kellie says.

Colton Pylman has worked for Becky George (pictured right) for almost four years. I talked to Becky right after she won the Senior Level 2 Trail this evening. “When you have multiple horses showing in the trail, it’s hard to keep track of who goes when let alone whether they have been longed or show prepped.”

Becky can go back to the stalls stressed out, needing a particular horse, and Colton will already have it saddled and waiting. It takes a team, and she is lucky to have a great team behind her.

Troy Compton would like to thank his right-hand woman, Alicia. She makes sure everything is organized and ready to go. She keeps the show going. Connor Elizabeth is his number one cheerleader. Connor keeps Troy on track and motivated. Troy would also like to thank the people back at home because, without them, he wouldn’t be able to be here showing.

Today, at the AQHA World Show, these trainers and their incredible assistants navigated one tough Senior Trail Class. The day started the night before during trail warm up, but because of all these people mentioned, the days ran smoothly. Thank you for all that you do, those of you mentioned in this article, and for those of you not mentioned. Your hard work does not go unnoticed.