Are you looking forward to the new year in the show pen? Let us know your goals. Photo © Kirstie Marie Photography

We Ask Exhibitors: What are Your Major Goals for 2019?

It is that bittersweet time of year again. The last points were gathered, the last congratulations passed around, and new and old champions alike are being crowned. Another year has moved too quickly as 2018 has come to a close.

The New Year and show season are upon us. Some began on January 1, 2019. Some will not dive in for a few more months. GoHorseShow asked several horse show competitors about their personal, professional and horse-related goals for 2019.

We have some rather ambitious individuals in our industry—but we already know that. Horse shows and competition go hand-in-hand, and it carries over to their personal and professional lives as well.

GoHorseShow talked to trainers, youth and amateurs on the AQHA and APHA circuit. Please read some of their goals and let us know what your plans are for this year. Good luck to everyone in 2019!

Amanda Wallinger-Rowan – Moving into 2019, some of my goals for the show pen include showing and promoting more homegrown offspring by our stallion Acoolest Touchdown. He has over 40 babies expected this year, which is so exciting. Also in the show pen, I want to learn and grow this year into a great showman. Also to focus on the positive things in the horse world and as my dad says – smile more. Personal goals for 2019 include focusing on my kids, GiGi and Axel and also to start getting GiGi involved with the “neigh-neighs” as she calls them.

Missy Thyfault – I always have the same goal/resolution every year. It is to keep improving myself and my program. To do the best job possible with each horse I am sent and take it as far as it can go. I love setting goals with clients and reaching them. I try to learn from my mistakes each year and do better. I have trainer resolutions, but I also try to do better as a person in all my relationships. I also need to cut back on sugar because I love sweets and work out more too. Finally, this year I want to take every opportunity to squeeze a little fun in between work when I can.

Meg DePalma-Whelan – 2018 was an outstanding year both in the show pen and professionally for me. I was awarded my firm’s MVP award for my territory’s sales and performance in 2018, which is a huge deal personally. In the show arena, my horses and I were top five at the NSBA World and Congress, while making the finals in several classes at the world show. For 2019, my competitive nature doesn’t let me rest. My goals for work are bigger, and my goals in the show pen are too. I added two new horses to the family during Christmas time. I hope to start showing the horsemanship again with my new horse Mickey as well as add to my western riding string. I have a two-year-old hunt seater for this year as well. Keith Miller and I are looking forward to the summer and fall futurity season. As we all try to be the winner, I have to remind myself that what’s most important is to do better than I did last year. All in all, I hope all four horses, trainers, family and my horse show friends remain healthy and prosperous in the new year.

Lana Markway – This year I’ve decided to set new goals. This year we are focused on the NSBA World and APHA World Show. Last year, I hauled hard, but this year, I’m trying to step back and enjoy the ride. 2018 was terrific, but I’m excited about the journey ahead with Empyre Show Horses. This is a new step for me having someone helping me again. It feels good to have such good trainers working with my horse. I have so much to learn, and I am so excited to work with Troy Lehn and Bradley Ost this year.

Carey Nowacek
– My goals are always to be the best I can be in every aspect of life. This year in the show pen, I would love to get back at the Equitation and be a competitor at the major shows. In regular life, I am setting the goal to ramp up productivity at work. I have a few goals set within our business, and I look forward to achieving them. I look forward to 2019.


Laurel Walker Denton
– My goals for 2019 in life and the show arena are pretty much the same thing; to become a better rider and appreciate the process. After my accident in 2018, my priorities have changed. Of course, my goal is to qualify for the AQHA World Show and hopefully be able to beat the best, but this year, it is all about the health of loved ones and being the healthiest I can be. I have the best horses ever and want to savor every show, big or small. I want to enjoy my friends and customers, but most of all, enjoy the ride.

Ellexxah Maxwell
– My significant goals for 2019 are to enjoy my horse, my family and my friends. This being my last youth year, I’m not going to take anything for granted. As always, doing well is a bonus, but winning isn’t everything. I hope this year is one to remember.



Scott Reinartz
– My goals are to be in the Top 10 honor roll in all my classes and to complete my Superior in pleasure driving. I have a young horse I want to get qualified in at least three events. I have “rules” – always put my full effort into the ride, be prepared, be coachable, have fun and appreciate others.

Lindsey Stevenson – This year I will continue to show my horse, He Is My Choice, in the Amateur and Opens all-around events. However, the goal for this year is to pass the reins along on him to my mom to show in the Select Amateur events as I begin to show and teach my younger horse, My Daddys Lazy, in the All Around. I started to show him last year, but since then, we have gotten to work on our skills, and I’m very excited to show him in some deeper competition and see what we can do. As far as in life, I have a few options on the table in my career in the casino business, so we will see.

Amy Groefsema
– 2018 was very good to me, both professionally and in the arena. I plan to continue to build AG Realty and represent the brave men and woman of the Navy and Marines who get orders to Kings County (California). My specialty is the VA loan, and I want to educate fellow Realtors how to serve best those that protect us. My goal is to be more active within the community and sponsoring youth sports, as well as volunteering to coach. Both my kids are athletes, so being involved in their sports is vital to me. With that said, my goal is not to miss any of their sporting events, which may make my goal of qualifying for the World Show more difficult, but it will just make me that much more focused. Lastly, for 2019, I want only to be content. Too often, I find myself wanting more, which drives me to be successful, but I feel like I need to focus on what I do have, be grateful for it, while also continuing to be a better broker, rider and mom. I only have this one life; I’m going to live it and be happy living it.

Natalia DeVencenty – With becoming an amateur and now showing my junior horse, Moonlite Madnez in the all-around events, 2019 will be a year of firsts. My goals for us this year are to continue growing as a new team and finish up teaching Moonie the western riding. Every new year comes with new challenges and opportunities; I’m so excited to see what this year brings.

Jenna Tolson – My show goals for 2019 include focusing on perfecting my showmanship skills, learning to do lead changes pretty enough for the amateur equitation, and maybe adding the horsemanship as an event at some point. I have never been much of a pattern person, but I am finding I enjoy the challenge of the all-around events more and more these days. Outside of the show pen, I want to focus on living my best life. I know it’s an often used tongue-in-cheek phrase these days, but I tend to be very goal oriented and thus, like to focus only on the result. Instead, I want to be better at focusing on and enjoying the journey, as cliché and boring as that sounds.

Becca Walter – I am very excited for 2019, both professionally and in the AQHA ring. I have accepted a new position at my work, and I will have some more free time to show this year. As far as my goals for this AQHA season, I am looking forward to showing Pass Code in the all-around events. We will be starting the year off in Vegas for the PQS (Premier Quarter Sires) classes. My primary goal this year is to enjoy showing indeed. I tend to get super competitive, and I plan on toning this down a notch and enjoying my horse and all our friends who we get to see around the country. I am forging ahead in 2019 with a positive, uplifting attitude. I refuse to let negative people affect me in 2019. I can sincerely thank God for all my success in life, and I am enjoying the ride. I love the saying “Fix another Queen’s crown without telling the world it was crooked.” We need to uplift others and stop judging — cheers to 2019 #bestyearyet.

Ashley Hadlock – At the end of every show year and the beginning of the new one, I reflect on things that were positive as well as areas I want to improve. I come up with several goals at different levels-progress at home all the way to the show pen. Having goals at different levels is essential, it allows the feeling of success in different ways. I have had some very genuinely moments the past couple of years inside the show arena. I hope to continue building off that with more success while keeping it fun and not comparing to recent winnings. In work life, I recently joined a brand new cardiac unit at the hospital I have been with for several years. Not only am I helping develop a new, but I am also in a more leadership role. I am enjoying building new relationships with new coworkers as well as increasing current nursing skills. In horse show life and professional life, there is always room for growth.

Elizabeth “Spike” Brewer – For 2019, I do not have any significant show goals. Just hope I get to show a couple of times and have fun. The older I get and the busier we stay with our daughter, the horse showing has taken a back burner and isn’t something we get to do but a few times a year. We have a lot of other things going in our lives beside the horses. Honestly, I am most excited about our three babies arriving in the month or two – an Allocate Your Assets, All Time Fancy and a VS Code Red. We didn’t have babies last year so excited to meet the new ones this year. Every day I strive to be the best mother to my daughter Addison and a great wife to my loving husband, Jody. Those are the things I work on and hope I can be even better at in 2019.

Lauren Stanley – 2019 is going to be a fun year. We will be showing Extremely Good Stuff again this year and adding new events to his resume. I’m excited to get back into the equitation pen, and I have a renewed sense of respect for my fellow competitors already rocking it. Can you say sore legs? No gym needed here. Rooster will also be adding western riding, but not until later in the year. We also have two young horses that are kin of my youth horses: BlessedWithTheBest (Huntin For You’s baby) and Floating On A Star (Floating On Assets’ grandson). BlessedWithTheBest will be showing in the trail and Floating On A Star will hopefully be ready for the NSBA World in Three-Year-Old Trail and showmanship. Our goals with all the horses this year are to develop strong, confident and happy show partners that will be showing for years to come. This year will probably have lots of ups and downs, but that’s part of the fun. Outside the show arena, Micah and I plan on continuing to fine-tune our business. We are going into year three of operation but each day seems to offer new opportunities to learn and get better. It’s fun to be able to work together and bounce ideas off each to grow and better the business. There is also a mini triathlon that some of our friends are participating in, but it is yet to be determined if we will partake. (laughs)

Sarah Lebsock – My goals in the show arena for 2019 are the same as they have always been: to get the very best rides I can and to improve with each ride. I’ve been known to be a bit of a perfectionist and very analytical. After each show, Brent and Melissa give me “homework” to work on for the next one. So trying to be consistently better with each ride is always my goal. Out of the arena, I’ll be finishing my Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration in August of this year, so I’ll be focusing on school and the next steps in my career as well.

Kamiah McGrath
– My goals for 2019 are….
1. Most importantly, enjoy my final year as a youth
2. Try and keep Robin Frid happy
3. Keep Jake and Jlo at their best
4. Try not to get bucked off my young project
5. To have a successful Youth World and Congress
6. Try and find a boyfriend (laughs)
7. Have a successful Spring and Fall semester on the Equestrian team
8. Try not to get pulled over by any more police officers
9. Maintain honor roll throughout the semester

Blake Carney – This year we have a bunch of exciting things going on. I have quite a few new teams coming in, so we will probably be taking it a little easy this year as far as where and how we travel until we all feel built up and ready. I’m also going to focus a lot of my energy on judging, which I am thankful that my customers are enthusiastic about this new endeavor for me. I also might have another thing or two up my sleeve as the year progresses.


Madison Nirenstein
– I have some big goals for 2019. I have a fantastic new partner for the hunter under saddle which I couldn’t be more excited about. My ultimate goal is to connect with him and qualify for this year’s world show as well as qualify with my all-arounder. Outside of the show arena, I am extremely passionate about fitness and have always wanted to get my training license. I have decided this is the year where I take it off the back-burner and make it happen.



What are your goals for the new year? Let us know in the comments.