We Ask Exhibitors: What is the Meaning Behind Your Lucky Back Number
For some exhibitors, their back number is a part of their identity. They chose a specific number or number combination because it has a unique meaning to them. We wanted to find out the story behind why competitors request or hope for certain number combinations for their back number.
Often, this special number is carried over to their everyday lives as part of their email addresses, social media usernames, and passwords.
Do you have a lucky number you try to use at shows? Does it come from a particular superstition you may have developed over the course of your show career? Do you believe in the spiritual meaning of numbers? We’d love to know the backstory behind your choice in numbers, let us know.
Meanwhile, read about some of the meanings behind some of our competitors’ back numbers below.
Johnna Letchworth-Clark – My entire show career I have tried to use the number 99. When we were growing up at the Connecticut Quarter Horse shows, my mom decided that it was going to be easiest to remember everyone’s numbers if they were all double digit of the same number. It did make sense and kind of stuck for me. So, every year at the banquet, my mom would buy number 99 in the fundraisers, so I was at least guaranteed to have it at the local shows. As I have gotten older, if I don’t get that particular number, it’s alright, but, of course, I prefer to use it. Funny story is at this year’s NSBA World Show, my friend, Brooke Ingstad, went to pick up her entry packets, and when she came back, she gave me this look. She said you’re going to be mad at me. I laughed and asked her why, she held out the number 399. A little jealous of her awesome number, I went a couple hours later to get my own packet, and sure enough inside the packet was number 999. All of Powder Brook Farms knows that 99 is my thing, so when I showed Geno my number, they all thought I requested it. I did not. He said it’d either be the best or worst show I’d ever had. It ended up being incredible – making me believe number 99 is and always will be my “thing”.
Bella Rosa – Although I don’t have a specific number that I use every time I show, I prefer to have a number with even numbers, or anything that contains the number 18. The number 18 was my (lucky) number when I played softball, so it carried over to horse showing. I’m not extremely superstitious, so if I happen to get a number with not a lot of evens or without the number 18, I don’t think much of it. However, if I do get lots of evens or the #18, I just think of it as extra good luck. As for my personal life, whether it’s for social media or another situation, I will always choose the number 18.
Brister Shum – My number is 357 like the big gun – 357 Magnum. It was kind of random how I got it. About 12 years ago, I was at the Gold Coast Circuit with Dan and Darlene Trein. I was showing Genuine Sheik (now owned by Allie Paul). When I signed up, the show office randomly gave me “357” and asked if I could handle a big gun. Sheik had just learned lead changes and showmanship. He won his first big all around circuit and tons of points there. I’m kind of superstitious about numbers with 7s being lucky. It was one of those back numbers that just felt right.
Cori Cansdale – My first horse’s name was 24, so I think that any number with 24 in it is lucky. He was born at a breeding facility and they had so many horses that they named them by numbers. It’s like he’s watching over me while I’m in the show pen. It’s my lucky number, and I use it for everything. He’s my angel.
Jessica Wolf Hart – When I came back into horses after I got married, I always had to have a 26 in my back #. My wedding date was Feb 26th, so I would always try to have a 26 ending. 626 was my back number for both of my show mares. If that number was not available, I would go through all the show numbers until I found one ending in 26.
Elizabeth Spike Brewer – I don’t have a certain number I use regularly, but I do try to get a number that has same first and last number. I try to avoid 7 and 9 if I can. So, I’m superstitious to a point, but not to the extreme of having one particular number. A random ironic number story is in 2005 at the APHA World Show, I was Reserve in the Amateur Classic Hunter Under Saddle with my mare, In Good Company, and our back number was 1008. Fast forward to the 2012 APHA World Show, and I showed a gelding out of her that I raised, All Rise, in the Amateur Classic Hunter Under Saddle, and I had that exact number of 1008. We were the unanimous winner on all cards. As you know, you don’t get a say in your world show back number because they are pre-assigned. It was ironic to have the same number with my mare, and, then with her baby a few years down the line.
Libby Rinder – I absolutely have a lucky back number. The more 5’s in it the better. I honestly don’t even remember how it started, but I’ve been using 5’s ever since I was a youth kid. Whoever does my entries, either myself or Whitney, always makes sure to try and get one that at least ends in a 5. I’m definitely a little superstitious, but I think it just also becomes part of my routine at horse shows. I try not to over-think about it though, because at some of the biggest shows of the year, your number is assigned before you get there, and you have no control over it. With that being said, 5’s definitely cross over into my regular life, some of my usernames on social media have 5’s in it and even my apartment number.
Johnna Dobbs – My trainer, Ted Turner’s lucky # is 13. Our back # was 613 at this year’s AQHA World Show and Ted was really excited about it. It seemed to work because we both won the Open and Amateur Performance Geldings with MyTeSly.
Mark Mowbray – I definitely try to use certain back numbers. I’m a firm believer in superstitions. Usually, I try to get a number that is important in my life in some way, like birthday or highway number. The numbers of 519 (my birthday) or 313 (road that I live off of) are the ones that I go for, or I like to get at least a digit in there somewhere. I believe that our back numbers become our identities at some shows. It is called out before our name or horse’s name, so we tend to identify ourselves with the number. I definitely use these two numbers in my life, which means I will now be changing my passwords.
Ashley Hadlock – Since day one of horse showing, back to the 4-H days, I have always used a back number that includes a ‘23’. When my mom showed as a youth, she would always use 23. So when I began to show, she signed me up with number 23 and it stuck. I will admit, as others in my barn may know, I am superstitious when showing. If I can pick my back number, it will end in a 23 – tends to be 423 or 723, but the first digit isn’t a huge deal. And yes, I am one of those people who uses a certain number in every aspect of my life. Any email, username, password, etc. includes a 23. I guess you can say ‘23’ is a big part of my life.
Jessica Hadlock – 24 is my go to number. When my sister and I first started showing, our mom told us that when she showed as a youth, she always used the back number 23 and her best friend used 24. So, Ashley started using 3 digit numbers ending in 23, and I did the same with 24. It has stuck ever since. I’m not particularly superstitious about it, but I do consider 24 to be my “lucky” number. It’s been in my email addresses and definitely has been in some of my passwords.
Kellie Morris – My number is 500. It goes back years to a show where I randomly got this number when entering and ended up winning every class entered at that show. Of course, it had to be the number. From then on, that had to be my number. When I was showing two horses at the same time, I got #550 for the other horse to at least stay in the #500 series. #500 is in every password, pin, computer login that I have in my day to day life…that number karma exists everywhere. As I transitioned into select, that number transitioned with me, now it’s a panic situation if I can’t get that number. I can’t possibly remember the trail pattern and a new number.
Kathy Tobin – I don’t request a specific number but also hope for ones with 8s in them – preferably at beginning or end, but in there somewhere. Both our boys were born on the 4th day of the month so, 4+4 = Lucky 8.
Suzanne Mayo – Ever since I joined the show committee for the Lucky 7 Horse Show, I have used the number 77 whenever I could. Lucky? For sure! Superstitious? Yes, very! This year at select world I had a really strong trail score in the prelims but refused to untack before the actual finalists were announced.
Hayley Riddle – I always love having a 9 in my number. I don’t care what other numbers are in my back number as long as I have a 9. I guess the number 9 comes from me being born in 1999. I was lucky at Youth World to have the number 199. I’m a very superstitious person. Even though I won at the world show, I refuse to wear my world champion buckle because I used it one time and didn’t do very well. So, I went back to my other buckle and did a lot better. I do wear it around at shows just not when I show.
Jenna Dempze – I’m not particular about what my back number is other than what ever number I end up with was meant to be. Fun story – The first time I won the Congress my back number was on my fortune from a fortune cookie I had earlier that week.
Sarah Finkel – I don’t use a particular back number when I show, but I always look at the number I’m given and look for some sort of pattern. I like even numbers or ones that are the same forward and backwards. I also have a soft spot for the number 256, because it was the score I got at the novice championship when I won one of my first big titles. I have never been 256, because I don’t like requesting a number, but I always smile when I hear it called. My favorite number is 5861 just because it was my number at my first Congress. I didn’t win anything huge, but I’ll never forget the announcer calling that one. I am somewhat superstitious, but that applies more to pre-show rituals and banding on the right side than it does to numbers.
Paige Wacker – One back number I like to use is 1155; the number holds a very special place to my heart for so many reasons. Particularly, that number is the one I won the 12 to 14 Showmanship at the Congress. That was the first time I ever showed, Ima Moxie Man (Frog) and to win that class was such an honor. Little did I know that Frog would become my best friend and teach me so much. 1155 is a number I use in all my usernames on social media, because it always puts a smile on my face to remember that incredible, and once-in-a-lifetime day. To say I’m superstitious would be an understatement. I like my numbers to have an 11 in it, because every time I haven’t, something tragic has happened (i.e. Frog spooking at the photographer in the NYATT Showmanship last year). I like to save all my numbers from when I show to remind me of the life lessons I learned with my horse.
Sydney Scheckel– 922 is the number that I won the Youth World with, so it is very special to me. I have a necklace with that number on it. My passwords are composed of my mare’s registered name – A Perfect Pleasure. Some version of her name is literally my password for everything.
Trae Buckwalter – My back number is definitely a big part of me when I show. My sister and I share our horse, Standing Bar Time “Gus”. We have been using the same number for the last 8 years. My dad always told us to pick a back number that has the same digit twice. My sister is the one who picked a number that stood out, 991 and we have used this ever since. Sometimes when we go to big shows where the numbers are assigned, it feels like something isn’t right and truthfully I feel like it affects the way I show. If you ask any of the people in our barn or people who go to the same shows, they all know that 991 is the “Buckwalter’s back number, especially the show secretaries. Now that my sister and I are both going to be Amateurs in 2018, it will be interesting to see who gets to use the special number.
Do you have a lucky back number? If so, please share your story with us.