Today, I had the chance to catch up with Team USA and Team United, who recently competed in the Youth World Games at the AJPHA World Show. Photo © The Paint Horse Journal

Final Report from 2018 AjPHA World Show with Lauren Gralla

Editor’s Note: GoHorseShow debuted a “guest reporter for a day” series last year where exhibitors and trainers reported on exciting things that went on during the show. It was a big hit, so we decided it would be fun to do it again from the 2018 AjPHA World Show. Read the final one here from youth exhibitor, Lauren Gralla.

FINAL REPORT – Lauren Gralla

Hi Everyone, I’m Lauren Gralla From Norman, Oklahoma. I’m here at the Youth Paint World Show wrapping up our last day in Ft Worth, Texas. It has been a great show, and we have had a lot of fun.

Today, I had the chance to catch up with Team USA and Team United, who recently competed in the Youth World Games at the AjPHA World Show.

Held biennially, each country enters one team composed of five exhibitors and a coach. One rider from each team competed in showmanship, western horsemanship, trail, ranch riding and hunt-seat equitation aboard randomly selected mounts.

Indiana University Freshman Livia Hillenburg talked about being selected to represent USA:

We found out that we made the team back in Marc, and we started fundraising by selling t-shirts in May. Once we got down here, we all got to meet each other. I had only known Gia Pozzi before coming here since we show in Illinois a lot. The overall experience was great. We all got to meet so many different people and learn about everyone’s home countries. I definitely made new friends and great memories throughout this experience and that’s the part that makes it all worth while.

US Team member Kellianne Lunny of Charlotte, North Carolina talked about her favorite moments:

My overall favorite moment was definitely Sunday night/Monday morning. We had already done the showmanship earlier that day and we were waiting through all the Ranch Riding classes so the World Games Ranch Riding could take place. We probably didn’t start the class until 12:30 am. The Canadians got to the show grounds earlier than the Australians so they decorated the kangaroo with Canadian gear. Chelsea Henderson and I had blankets and pillows and proceeded to relax in the stands waiting on the class to start. A few of the Aussies and some of Team USA got into a dance contest (and lost) with a kid across the arena. It was just a super fun late night. We ended up playing volleyball with Canada’s ball and in the midst, we all exchanged country gear. I had a Denmark flag on my shoulders, Chelsea was wearing Germany gear. I think Livia (USA) had a German flag, and every country “donated” decorations for the kangaroo. It was just a super fun night.

Other than that, I just really loved the whole experience and getting to meet other people from different countries. It was really cool watching the classes because everyone got super into it and cheered as hard as possible for every single person, whistling through their pattern, which is just not something you see all the time. It was just great fun enjoying everyone’s company and having fun.

And the horses were really the best sports we ever could have asked for, because we really did push them. I know Team USA was hanging our large flag down next to our equitation horse while he was on the rail, and he was only five and he stood like a champ. Sabine had a towel around her and carried a flag to collect her win in the trail. I carried a flag on my horse, we had a lot of fun. I was even surprised to have a simple or flying lead change in my pattern, and my horse had a flying so we only had the 30 minutes to not only learn him but also his changes. He changed absolutely beautifully for me in the pattern. Every horse handled the situation amazingly, and we were super lucky to get the horses donated that we did.

The 2018 team members were as follows:

Team United (Italy, Slovakia & France)
Coach – Randall Roser (United States)
Trail – Laura Semesova (Slovakia)
Horsemanship – Tiphaine Le Bray (France)
Showmanship – Davide De Monte (Italy)
Hunt-Seat Equitation – Tiphaine Le Bray (France)
Ranch Riding – Laura Semesova (Slovakia)

United States
Coach – Pat Trebesch
Trail – Sabine Lazo
Horsemanship – Kellianne Lunny
Showmanship – Livia Hillenburg
Hunt-Seat Equitation – Gianna Pozzi
Ranch Riding – Sarah Beth Felker

In the end, Team United States was the gold medal winner and Team United was the silver medal winner.

Well, that’s a wrap from Fort Worth. Until next year!

DAY 4 – Cara Christensen

Guest reporter, ten-year-old Cara Christensen, with help from mother, Christi Christensen, thought it would be fun to ask horse show parents a few questions this week at the AjPHA World Show. So, they talked to a few parents of top youth competitors.

Question #1- How do you, as a parent, prepare for the Youth World?
Question #2- How do you prepare yourself each time your child enters the arena?
Questions #3- Do you bring along a lucky charm of some sort to the World Show?

Parent #1 – Rebecca Camp, mother of APHA #1 14-18 youth competitor, Mary Katherine Camp from Longview, TX.

I allow Mary Katherine to be responsible for her stuff getting to the horse show. Of course, I do a lot of laundry, but Sara Simons has taught her to be accountable for her stuff.  I have to make sure everything is washed and cleaned.

I take a deep breath before she walks in the pen. I get very nervous, so I walk around, listen to the reaction of everyone around me while she is showing. If they are whistling or whooping or hollering, I know everything is going right. Sometimes, I pace around; sometimes, I sit still. Sometimes, I go to the tunnel at the end of the arena and sometimes, I watch from there. I get very nervous.

At all of Mary Katherine’s major events, including horse showing and school, I wear purple panties for good luck. (laughs) She has just always done well if I have purple on so I save them for her special occasions.

Parent #2 – Sarah Hostetler, mother of World Champion Walk Trot competitor, Izzy Hostetler.

To prepare for the World Show, I do A LOT OF LAUNDRY and try to pack a lot of stuff into a small space.

To prepare as she sets foot in the arena, I try to encourage her on how good she is riding and tell her we are proud of her no matter how she places. My husband makes me leave and disappear when she is about to show because I make Izzy very nervous. Then, I get sick to my stomach when she is showing due to my nerves.

Izzy wears a particular pair of lucky hunter under saddle socks that she wears each time she shows in the hunt seat.

Parent #3 – Mike Harms, father of Reserve World Champion Walk Trot competitor, Gracie Harms from Darlington, Wisconsin.

First, I save up lots of money. Then, I get the horses ready, trained and good to go. Then, I make the long trip here to Ft. Worth and we practice hard.

I give Gracie a little pep talk and make her feel good about her riding and class she is about to compete in.

My daughter, Gracie, is my lucky charm.

Parent #4 – Tonya Gralla
, mother of multiple World Champion 14-18 competitor, Lauren Gralla from El Reno, Oklahoma.

Typically, Lauren goes to her trainer for two weeks before the World Show, so then, I have time to do A LOT of laundry and packing. I keep a checklist of everything we will need. I like to write it all down so I can make sure I find it all.

I try to stay away from Lauren when she is preparing to enter the arena. I think I make her nervous and she makes me nervous too. I do not like to sit with anyone when she shows. I want to sit by myself.

The lucky charm that we bring to the horse shows is Coconut, our Maltese. She is our lucky charm.

Parent #5 – Rebecca Martin, mother of World Champion 13 & Under competitor, Kayla Martin from Deland, Florida.

First, I have to make sure that Kayla’s clothes are all ready for the show, making sure they are cleaned and hung, and everything is in order.  I have to make sure that we have food and recipes together for the camper and make sure the camper is prepped for the show.  I also make sure that Kayla knows what her patterns are and that we know her show schedule.

I get nervous and excited for her at the same time, but I always walk down to the holding area with Kayla. I ask her if she is good and if it’s okay if I go ahead and go to the stands, I tell her I love her. My heart pitter patters when she shows.

I do not have a good luck charm that we bring. We hope for the best each time.

DAY 3 – Rela Ratner

Hi Everyone! My name is Rela Ratner, and I am fifteen years old and live in Boerne, Texas. Coming from a quarter horse background, this was my very first paint show. My horse, Cool Krymsun Zip, is double registered, and we recently decided to add some paint shows to our schedule. This being my first paint show along with my first paint youth world, I was happy to see some familiar faces. Today, I was able to talk with some other girls who also owned double registered horses. I spoke to three talented girls who train and show with Tim and Shannon Gillespie.

First, I talked with Avery Mortman, who rides, Just A Touch More/Hes Just A Touch More (APHA) lovingly known as “Gumy.” Avery began showing paint horses at the age of five and has recently started showing at quarter shows as well. Avery says that the quarter and paint world have different atmospheres, as well as showing with various competitors.

Next, I had the opportunity to talk with Erin Griffin who shows Gotta Glo Slo, aka “Landry.” She has been showing paints as long as she can remember, and has currently been showing more quarter shows to be able to get qualified for the AQHYA Youth World. When asked if paint and quarter shows had a difference, she said, “There is a difference. Quarters seem to have another competitive level which inspires you to become a better rider than you already are, which has made me step up my game as a rider.”

Lastly, I caught up with Caroline Nielson, who owns and shows two double registered horses, BMQ The Jig Is Up, “Ziggy,” and, The Only Kiss To Envy, “Scotty.” She began showing paints before she moved into the quarter horse world. Caroline also agreed that the two associations differ. She said, “There is a difference, there are a lot more people in the quarters, so there tends to be a wider range of riders. I think for me, being new to the quarters, it made it more challenging to establish myself.”

So far these girls have racked up a few titles. Caroline Nielson won the 18&U Youth Hunter Under Saddle, Avery Mortman won the 13&U Hunter Under Saddle and was the reserve champion in the Performance Halter Geldings, Erin Griffin placed Top Ten in the 18&U Youth Hunter Under Saddle.

All three girls will be competing at the AQHYA World Show in August. I wish them the best of luck as they continue showing at the AjPHA World Show. I look forward to seeing them at the AQHYA World Show and any future shows.

DAY 2 – Collin Froman

Greetings from Ft. Worth, TX. I’m Collin Froman reporting to you from the 2018 AjPHA World Championships. I’m 11 years-old, and this is my first Paint World Show. Today, I witnessed some exciting events with my mom (Vanessa Froman) that I want to share with you.

First, we watched some halter classes where the entertainment was in the stands listening to everyone coach the exhibitors in the arena. The two most popular phrases I heard in the stands were “now show it” and “WHOA!” We got to watch Reece Chapman and Serena Wilborn from back home in Michigan and Illinois win World and Reserve world titles in Yearling Mares.

My mom talked to Serena after her Reserve win. This was her first world show ever. In fact, her Aunt Carri Hanson first introduced Serena to horses just a year ago. Since then, she has seen pictures on Facebook of last year’s Youth World Show, and her Aunt Carri told her about her world show experiences. In their talks, her aunt said they could work toward Serena showing here if she met specific goals and worked hard. When asked if there is someone special who has helped her get here Serena replied, “My aunt! I would not be here, literally, if it weren’t for her. She’s stuck with me and taught me so much. She’s just amazing, and I love her so much.”

Since arriving in Ft. Worth, Serena has met a lot of new friends who have all been very helpful and kind to her. She doesn’t know all their names but plans to learn who everyone is that has wished her luck and congratulations. Serena also participated in the knowledge relay and hippology events here which were the most fun thing she got to do here. She highly recommends it to everyone who attends the youth world.

Next, there were some entertaining classes from the show. They have a stick horse class for kids 7 and under. This class was just hilarious, especially the little boy who had a tractor for a horse. The only thing that could have made it funnier was if one of them had started schooling on their stick horse in the middle of the class. You have to see this class; it was the best.

Another fun class they did in the middle of the day today was a dog race…that I did with my Grammy and her dog, Lego. Well, I wouldn’t say we raced. Lego was horrible! He didn’t even get placed. He ran three feet, saw the other dogs, turned around and peed on the starting line. At least we provided some entertainment for the crowd, and Lego got a bag of doggy biscuits out of it.

After that, we watched some of my fellow walk trot exhibitors from back home compete in equitation and hunter under saddle. They did great. Hannah Truex was Top 5 in her equitation, and Izzy Hostetler was Reserve World Champion. That was exciting to see them so happy and having fun. It has been an exciting and fun-filled day here at the AjPHA Youth World Championship.

While it may be my first trip here, I do not plan on it being my last. I hope other kids like me at home are inspired by all this fun to join and try it yourself next year. AjPHA even gave us a cool shirt for entering the show. Now if only they would provide us with free WiFi!

DAY 1 – Lillian Woodruff

Today at the AjPHA Youth World Show in Ft Worth, Texas, we got a chance to speak with Kayla Martin who was AjPHA Reserve World Champion in the Novice Youth 13 & Under Equitation, third in the Novice Youth 13 and Under Hunter Under Saddle and fourth in her Youth 13 and Under Hunter Under Saddle Class. Kayla’s horse is a 2009 overo gelding named Wicked Roses. We asked her about her experience.

Lili: What thoughts were going through your head as you were listening to the placings?
Kayla: I was nervous and anxious about how I would do. In my opinion, I thought I did well on my pattern and rail work. I felt confident and I was hoping for a high placing. I had a goal of earning a top five, so all my hard work paid off. I’m proud of Stetson and how well we did.

Lili: We learned that your horse “Stetson” is deaf. Can you tell us what challenges or advantages you face with riding a deaf horse?
Kayla: The biggest challenge for me with my horse, Wicked Roses, “Stetson,” is that he can not hear vocal commands, so I have to ride with a lot more body language relying on my hands and legs more than my voice. Since he is deaf, my best advantage is that he can zone out the audience and other loud noises. I have observed horses spooking from the crowd, but with Stetson, it’s no problem for him. Despite his deafness, his size, conformation and movement is a huge advantage.

Lili: What last-minute tips did your trainers give you before entering the show pen
Kayla: My trainers, Allan and Julie Schmidt of Dare to Dream Performance Horses, usually tell me to stay focused, keep my heels down, shoulders back, chin up and smile. Also, to pay attention to feel which shoulder is moving forward at all times. And of course, to always have fun.

Lili: What kinds of things did you do to prepare for the AjPHA Youth World Show?
Kayla: My parents dropped me off at my trainer’s barn in Wilson, North Carolina about a week and a half before the show. When I was there, I practiced every day with Stetson. On average, we practiced for around five to six hours a day. I also go there throughout the year to keep up my riding skills and my partnership with my horse.

Lili: How would you describe your horse’s personality? Any fun or unusual qualities or traits?
Kayla: Stetson is more on the funny side. He is quirky and fun to be around. He has interesting habits including licking people, drinking out of the hose, wiggling his tongue before he yawns and making strange frog noises. He also likes to entertain himself by flopping his ears around. He is a friendly and loving horse, and I wouldn’t trade him for anything.

Stay tuned for more reports from the show!