Shilo Eggers (pictured right) has a final report from the APHA World Show discussing many of the ups and downs occurring at this year's show. Photo © Shilo Eggers

Wrapup Report from the 2018 APHA World Show: Shilo Eggers

In its second year of being held in September, the 2018 APHA World Show is in full swing. The show is giving away over $800,000 in cash and prizes with several specialty classes added to award even more exhibitors in additional classes.

To keep everyone apprised of the show’s happenings, both in and out of the arena, GoHorseShow has multiple top exhibitors reporting for a day from Fort Worth throughout the event. Read the final report from Amateur exhibitor, Shilo Eggers.

Final Report – Shilo Eggers

The APHA World Show has been full of ups and downs for many exhibitors. Many World Titles were crowned with many more already hoping and dreaming for next year.

Jason and Julie Smith have been striving for excellence since they started in the horse industry as children growing up in Kechi, Kansas. Their legacy and success are evident once you meet their motivated and driven adult children, Cooper and Shyanne. Hard work, perseverance and a love for horses brings them together and are the building blocks to their success and many championships.

This past week, Cooper showed Giorgio and won an APHA World Championship in Amateur Weanling Geldings and Julie and An The Winner Is (pictured right) were named Reserve World Champions in the same class.

Then, in the Open Weanling Geldings, the results were swapped with Jason Smith winning the World Title with An The Winner Is and Ted Turner being Reserve World Champion with Giorgio.  This was an up moment.

On the performance side, watching and feeling the time, dedication and love that Gillespie Show Horses have for their clients and animals brought tears to my eyes. Often they were up riding at 3 am only to be up all day with smiles and welcoming attitudes. This is also an example of true motivation with the results being seen from the multiple neck ribbons hanging from their stalls. This was an up moment.

Follow this up with a mathematical and inputting error that changed the results for seven out of ten placings for the Amateur Horsemanship and emotions were up and down. In the grand scheme, we are all human, and mistakes will be made.

Feedback around the stands is that changes need to be made as APHA moves forward. Some of these changes include the schedule and calling out individual placings, even if the exhibitor steps forward out of line a few steps. Inputting of results for accuracy is another area where improvement can be made as multiple class placings were changed after the classes were over, due to exhibitors double checking the standings.

There have been hushed conversations indicating that announcing the exhibitor and horse name as they enter the arena before being judged could sway a judges opinion. Overall, we are lucky that judges are held to a high standard of conduct.

On a positive side, Performance Halter classes have been well received with class numbers being large. Along with that, Ranch Pleasure is growing in numbers. This was an excellent addition and it continues to improve. APHA staff works hard, and the consensus is that they will improve and make changes next year based on feedback from the majority.

Earlier this week, Tami Dobbs (pictured right) and several others, including me, were not even thinking about World Titles or buckles when we struggled to perform CPR and revive a fellow horseman whom we had ever met before. At that time, the only thing that mattered was a human life.

My take away from this World Show is that all of us, from halter to performance classes, are part of a special community and team who need to stick together and support each other. In the grand scheme of life, our buckles will tarnish and our ribbons will fade. In the end, our passion and love of horses will be unwavering. The memories and friendships we have will stay with us for the rest of our lives.  We need to continue to adhere to a high moral and ethical standard that will cause other industries and professions to look up to us as true champions.

Report #5 – Missy Neill

As a therapist, I’m always interested in the ‘behind the scenes’ scoop rather than the obvious observations. So when GoHorseShow asked me to be a guest reporter for the APHA World Show, I jumped on the chance to be able to dig a little deeper into what makes these world caliber exhibitors tick. What drives them to return year after year? Why and what do they sacrifice to get here? What are their hopes and dreams? What is unique about their journey?

All the horses and riders that come to the APHA World Show are talented and deserve to be there, but in my quest to get the scoop, I discovered that the real winners were the first timers to this show. I took some time to track down and interview some people whose first time it was showing here. After all, the people and their unique relationships with their horses is what makes the World Show so inspiring and memorable.

“Did we ever dream it would come to this?”

That’s what first-timers, Sandy Boettcher-Ballo, and Wendy Varish have been telling each other all week. Friends for 20 years, showing at the APHA World Show has been a long time dream and long road for both of them. Sandy, a breast cancer survivor and her friend, Wendy, are from Howards Grove, Wisconsin. It’s a small town where everyone knows each other well with a population of about three thousand.

Sandy and Wendy (pictured left to right) live about eight miles from one another and consider themselves the ‘underdogs’ at the World Show. They are both showing ‘home-grown’ yearlings in the Longe Line, Halter and Trail In-Hand. They train their horses themselves with just feedback and help from one another and are actively involved in helping their local 4-H clubs.

So far, they have found success at their first World Show with Whata Dream Asset aka “Dixie” and Original Cowboy Joe aka “Java.” Original Cowboy Joe took home a Reserve World Championship in the Solid Paint-Bred Halter Geldings, and Whata Dream Asset took home a fourth-place Intermediate award and won $750 in the Lynn Simons Halter Futurity. Plus, the Top 5 and Top 10 that they’ve brought home in the Trail In-Hand classes as well. Whata Dream Asset will also compete in the Tobiano Color Class, and Longe Line and Original Cowboy Joe will compete in the Solid Paint-Bred Yearling Longe Line.

Both of these yearlings are a result of Sandy and Wendy’s breeding programs. For Sandy, it has taken her 30 years of breeding and careful selection to produce Whata Dream Asset. For Wendy, it started in a kill pen with the purchase of a $500 mare that would become the foundation of her breeding program that led her to produce Original Cowboy Joe.

After talking with both of these women, it was clear after they were telling me their story with tears in their eyes that they had GRIT, in every sense of the word. One year they decided to attend the Quarter Horse Congress, and they were given strict instructions from their husbands not to bring home another horse…instead, they pooled their resources and traded in each one of their trailers to upgrade to a bigger trailer to travel to shows together. Sandy’s husband had forgotten Sandy’s motto, “There is no can’t in my world.”

They were not to be deterred from their path to World Glory.

When I asked them how they were feeling so far at their first World Show, “excited,” “nervous,” “grateful,” “very blessed” and “this is a dream” were a few of the phrases that they could articulate through their tears. They both enthusiastically answered ‘yes’ when I asked them if they were planning on returning to the APHA World Show and the advice they would give other first timers to the World Show was “Believe in yourself.”

Well said, ladies.

Good luck to all the first timers and World Show veterans alike during the rest of the show.

Report #4Lana Markway

For Stacey Carleton of Dewey, Oklahoma, this past week in Fort Worth Worth has been a once-in-a-lifetime show for her and her mount, All Good. Today, I caught up with Stacey to talk about her experience so far. She’s been on a roll with her two-year-old gelding, affectionately known as Jameson. She started off getting her first buckle in the Amateur Junior Hunter Under Saddle, and then the duo went on to win the Two-Year-Old Non-Pro Hunter Under Saddle.

After that win, multiple AQHA/APHA World Champion rider Beth Case of Highpoint Performance Horses rode him to win three more classes. “There’s nothing not to like about him,” Beth told me at the show. “He’s fun to ride, has a great top line, trots great and canters great both ways. Plus, he’s beautiful to look at.”

I interviewed Stacey to find out more about her wins and time here in Fort Worth.

What is the best part about this year’s APHA World Show? – My goal was to win the Two-Year-Old Non-Pro Hunter Under Saddle. The other classes were just icing on the cake. It was a last minute decision to do the Amateur and Green Hunter Under Saddle.

Can you tell us how you found Jameson and what do you like most about him? – Jameson is just easy. I saw a video of him when he won the Pinto World in the longe line class and went to look at him. I asked Beth Case if she had a paint two-year-old and when she said no, I asked if she would consider showing him. She said, sure bring him down, so from then on, when she had time or I could get off work, I took him down and she helped me with him. Then, I would take him home and work on what she told me to. He’s special to me because I have done this thirty some years, and he has given me my first world show buckle. He’s so calm to show, great in traffic, easy to clip and so pretty to look at. It is also special because I don’t train with anyone, and I got him ready mainly by myself.

How do you juggle everything? – I have to plan everything out since I do most of it on my own. It’s been a lot of early mornings and late nights. I work in between longing and getting the halter horses worked. I work for a dermatologist. She sees the patients and then dictates, and I put it into the electric medical records for each patient. So, it’s nice because I can do it on the road or at shows. However, it is super hard to find the time to do it while at the show, so I’m usually up early or stay up late to get caught up.

What’s in Jameson’s future? – That’s yet to be determined, but this world show has been nothing short of amazing.

Report #3 – Jenna Tolson

This 2018 APHA World Show means so much more to me than “just another horse show.”  It was almost one year ago exactly….

My mare, Scarlett, was rehabbing a suspensory injury for the entirety of 2017, so I was forced to take the whole year off from horse showing. I was pretty bummed about not being able to show at the 2017 APHA World Show, so my husband talked me into going to the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas instead.

After enjoying two beautiful nights under the stars at the county music festival, night three, October 1, 2017, turned into the most terrifying night of our lives. Shortly after Jason Aldean began his set, a gunman aimed at the concert crowd from his Mandalay Bay hotel room…and just like that, we were experiencing what they’re calling “the worst mass shooting in modern US history.”

We hit the ground and listened to bullets spray around us. My husband laid on top of me and then as soon there was a brief pause in gunfire, we ran and then would hit the ground when the shooting started back up again. It was utter chaos. Eventually, we were able to make it to the fence at the back of the property. We climbed over the chain link fence with hundreds, if not thousands, of others all trying to escape and survive. We then worked our way back to the MGM hotel, navigating a maze using parked vehicles around the Tropicana for cover.  It seemed like hours went by, but I know it was only minutes.

My husband and I are some of the lucky ones. While deeply emotionally scarred, we were mostly physically uninjured aside from some minor cuts and bruises. A 28-year-old military veteran lost his life that night, standing just a few inches to the right of my husband. He was one of 58 beautiful souls that didn’t get to come home from a country music concert. Almost 800 people were injured.

I don’t think you can accurately put into words the intensity of feeling your life or death hanging in the balance of seconds and single breaths, and what that does to your state of being. Throughout the past year, I have struggled with significant periods of anxiety and depression. The depression stemmed from a penetrating feeling of guilt for surviving the shooting when so many others didn’t. I worked with a therapist for several months. He was able to help me organize my thoughts and perceptions regarding the event. Much to my surprise, there has been a drastic shift in my attitude of showing horses as well.

Previously, each major show for me was brought with a massive amount of self-inflicted pressure. I’ve always struggled to manage the nerves and anxiety of horse showing and the World Show just further served to magnify that. But my perception has now changed. Simply put, I now find the joy in the process and the experience, rather than just being focused on the outcome. I feel like it is such a privilege to have each opportunity to show. I welcome the challenge of the show pen and the chance to demonstrate the hard work that Scarlett and I have put in.

Whether the class goes the way I want to or not, it still provides information on what to do next time. That’s a win-win! We can always gain something positive from each time we step in the pen. I feel fortunate because there GETS to be a ‘next time.’ I feel privileged that I get to soak up the electricity in the air, the sights, the sounds, and yes, even the smells of a horse show…over and over again.

If you stop and think about it, many of us spend 99.9% of the time with our horses solely focused on what happens in that .01% when the announcer is calling the results. Here at the 2018 APHA World Championship Show, instead of the world show being the pressure cooker it once was, magnifying my nervous energy to an almost paralyzing state, it is expanding all the beautiful things – excitement, fellowship with friends, quality time with my horses, feelings of accomplishment and achievement, positive energy and just experiencing life to its fullest.

Now, I choose to enjoy the 99.9% and let the .01% fall where it may. And ironically enough, 2018 has been my most successful show season and World Show to date. Scarlett and I were crowned Reserve World Champions, not once but twice. She was also reserve in the Senior Pleasure Driving with Brian Garcia. I am so blessed to be in Fort Worth this year. Life is precious – enjoy every minute.

Report #2 – Christi Christensen

The APHA World Championship Show is the most prestigious show for the American Paint horse. People travel from all over the world to attend. Since many event planners like to hear what can be done to better their event, I thought I would ask exhibitors here at the world show how their experience has been after the conclusion of the first week of competition. Also, I asked them what they thought could be improved for next year to make the APHA World Show that much more desirable to attend.

Sid Karr – Pilot Point, TX – APHA is my home, and I am so happy to be a part of a wonderful organization with great leadership. The staff at this show is fantastic and so accommodating….it’s what I look forward to every year. As an all-around competitor, I feel that the schedule should be separated into an amateur week and an open week. The classes are scattered all over the board this year, and that makes it hard on exhibitors and horses.

Christine Russell – North Richland Hills, TX – I have had a phenomenal experience here at the world show. I have recently beat cancer, and the Christensen brothers got me back in the arena in the walk trot hunter under saddle and equitation. Everyone here has been extremely friendly and helpful. One of the best things that I think has been here is the Ride The Pattern that was offered for exhibitors to know how the patterns are being judged and question/answer session with judge, Lisa Ligon. It helped me learn the key points of the patterns. If I could change one thing to improve this show, I would say to make the holding pen bigger. They put 29 walk trot exhibitors in that tiny holding area that is only big enough for about ten horses, and it was just too tight to be able to do any last minute preparation except to walk.

Nathan Miller – Dewey, OK – It seems to be run more poorly than usual – like the big screen not working a lot of the time you look up to see who the breeder was or exhibitor or who the horse is by, etc. They also seem to be very unorganized like calling the wrong exhibitors names during the trot down the center and not starting the night classes on time as scheduled.

Elizabeth “Spike” Brewer – Wilson, NC
– The APHA World Show is a well-run show with the best show office staff of any show I’ve attended. If you ever have a question or concern, they are always there with a smile to help you any way they can. The stewards that work the gates are equally as helpful and make it a great show experience. With the influx of new classes APHA has added over the past few years and the extra two days added this year, it has made the schedule quite a challenge. Being a member of the world show advisory committee who makes numerous suggestions each year when the master schedule is sent out, I have already started a list of recommendations for 2019.

Christine Parr – Walkerton, IN – My experience has been fantastic. I haven’t been to this show in 20 years, and I recently bought a double registered Hot Ones Only mare that I have started showing in the APHA shows. I have been in great company with my support system and have enjoyed seeing old faces and meeting new faces. My recommendation to improve this show would be to improve the scheduling of the amateur classes. It was a hard decision for me to come because of the schedule so spread out that my classes would have been over a ten day spread. I had to choose only a few classes as I couldn’t be away from my family or job for the entire duration of the show.

Thanks everyone for your input and hopefully next year’s show will be even bigger and better than 2018 with these helpful suggestions.

Report #1 – Elizabeth Spike Brewer

World show prep might seem important until you are interrupted by a projected Category 4 hurricane named Florence. Our friend, Samantha Gardner, was able to make it to the APHA World Show safely but was unable to make her original classes. I had the chance to catch up with Samantha after her Top 5 finish in the Amateur Junior Hunter Under Saddle Class at the World Show.

Tell me a little about yourself – My name is Samantha Gardner, and I have two beautiful children, Brady, 7, and Charlotte, 5. We live in Porter’s Neck section of Wilmington, North Carolina. My horses are in training with Julie and Allan Schmidt at Dare To Dream Performance horses in Wilson, NC. I have a three-year-old, All Time Fancy gelding, EPR Face It Im Fancy, “Chrome,” my unicorn, and a six-year-old All-Around gelding, Just Roll With It.

Where do you live in relation to where the eye from Florence made landfall? As you can see in the picture, the eye was directly over us Friday at 10:24 AM.

Tell us about the hurricane and your experience with past natural disasters? I have been through about five hurricanes in my life. I was attending college at ECU in Greenville in 1999 when Hurricane Floyd hit. Personally, my worst because my townhome was engulfed when the Tar River crested and engulfed it ripping many pictures and memories that I could never replace.

How was it compared to what you thought? I expected to lose power, but it became a situation when the news shared possible water shut down in 48 hours if they were not able to get a fuel supply to the water plant. People panicked. Gas became a hot commodity. People would search for an open gas station and wait in lines for hours to only reach the gas pump and find it sold out. This enraged people who began cutting lines and weapons were drawn.

With the notice you received, what preparations did you do? To prepare for the hurricane, my family and friends pulled together to gather food and supplies. I had a generator to keep my fridge running and fans for my dog. We brought everything in the yard that could become projectiles and boarded up windows. I am glad I did board up my window because it protected me from the tree that fell on my roof.

Did you lose power? We lost power early Friday morning, it was still dark, and it returned to my home Tuesday morning. Many of my friends are still out of power, and projected restoration is not until Sept 23rd.

Tell us about the damage that you witnessed? Flooding was terrible in the majority of Wilmington. My house was saved from flooding, but the two entrances to my housing community were under water. A tornado touched ground in my neighborhood ripping trees down on houses and roads. Luckily, the neighbors pulled together and immediately began cutting trees in hope to find a way out. Wilmington was soon referred to as an “island” as there was no way in or out. Roads were crumbling and people were being washed into the water. So many stories of people drowning and stranded. My heart hurt seeing all the pictures of devastation in my town.

How was your business impacted? Our family-owned business, Net Recycling, is a recycling plant for one of the largest fiber optic in the world, which also happens to be in Wilmington. Although we are open for business, our company is struggling because of a lack of employees and product to work. Our staff of 70 employees is down to 18 people who have been able to make it into the warehouse. We are still battling finding passage for the truckloads of product ready to be recycled into Wilmington. Our company is basically forced to shut down. Every day is a challenge as roads are still collapsing making in unsafe or impossible to enter Wilmington.

How were your World Show plans impacted? My flight, booked for early Monday morning, was canceled. Every time I would hear a text notification, I was scared to look because they canceled my trip four times until power was finally restored at the airport on Tuesday morning. I jumped on the first flight out of Wilmington seeing that was the only way to leave the “island”. I arrived in Ft Worth in time to watch my class live entering the ring. It was the one time I prayed the show was running behind. Although I was crushed to miss a class, I have been excited for this show all year and it was the horse community that brought a smile to my face. Many of my barn family checked on me and encouraged me through the process. When I arrived at the show grounds, I was greeted by friends and even horse people I did not know with a kind word. It made the journey worth it.

What classes will he be showing in here and at the Congress?
 My horse is EPR Face It Im Fancy. I missed my Three-Year-Old Non-Pro class but was able to compete in the Amateur Hunter Under Saddle. Julie will be showing him Saturday in the three-year-old class and the Three Year Old Challenge on Sunday.

Since Hurricane Florence, what are your thoughts on if another hurricane would threaten again? Florence was nasty to the community of Wilmington. I was nervous hearing she was headed for us at a Cat 4 and was praying she would lessen by the time she made landfall. Luckily, she did, making landfall at a 1. However, after seeing what she did at a Cat 1, I know if she met us at a 4, Wilmington would have been beyond devastated.

Thanks, Samantha for telling us about your experience with Hurricane Florence. Good Luck the rest of the week! Sure, and thanks for sharing my story.