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Success in Sisterhood: The Rippeon’s Journey to the All-American Quarter Horse Congress


Most horse-crazy ten and 11-year-old girls only dream of riding and showing their very own horse. Many equestrians only have hopes of winning blue ribbons, but for Allie and Maddie Rippeon, this is not just a dream. The two girls have both been riding and showing from a very young age, and now they are both World Champions.

“It takes a special kind of character and confidence to go into the show pen and be judged against eighty other competitors,” says their proud mother, Deanna Rippeon. “This sport has so much to offer and teach you. My girls have learned leadership skills, grace under fire, and how to be a humble, good sport.”

Read more about what it takes to show at such a high level at such a young age.

Alexandra Rippeon

The younger sister, Allie, also known as “Gator” by friends and family, started showing when she was just four-years-old. Allie and her horse, The Terms Are Sonny, went to their first show together four days after the Rippeon family bought him. Since that first show, Allie has created quite a name for herself in the horse world. This year, at the NSBA World, she won three world championships in addition to other reserve champions and top ten awards she received with her horse, Famous N Foolish, in showmanship, horsemanship, and hunt seat equitation.

In addition to a fantastic NSBA World Show, the Rippeons have high hopes heading into the Congress. To the people that know her well, Allie is a spontaneous and energetic girl who loves to sing and dance. However, some people may not realize that Allie is more than a one-trick pony.  She can do “the worm” from one end of the barn to another. Talk about an all-around athlete.

Madeline Rippeon

Trainer Shannon Vroegh recently paired eleven-year-old Maddie with a very green three-year-old gelding named Amarillo By Moonlite. At the Congress this year, Maddie will be showing her horse, “Laredo,” in western pleasure, horsemanship, trail, hunter under saddle and hunt seat equitation. She will also be showing her sister’s horse Calvin (Famous N Foolish) in the 11 & Under and 13 & Under Showmanship and Trail. Earlier this year, the duo was crowned APHA World Champions in the 13 & Under Showmanship in Fort Worth.

Maddie told us that her favorite class is showmanship. “I enjoy the challenge of a pattern and having to hold my body tall and in a perfect position.” The 11-year-old went on to say how the harder she works in practice and at home, the more it pays off in the show ring.

In addition to being a powerhouse in the 13 & Under All-Around classes, Maddie is also known for her love of all things cooking, organizing, playing sports, and her nickname “Mad Dog,” which was given to her by her grandfather.

Both of these young horsewomen train with Shannon Vroegh out of Woodward, Iowa. The long-distance can at times be challenging since the Rippeon family lives on a cattle ranch in Mount Airy, Maryland. Vroegh says, “This family is just so dedicated. The girls’ parents are amazing, and they take excellent care of their horses.”

Why the Congress?

Everyone in the Rippeon family loves the All-American Quarter Horse Congress, whether they’re showing or not. Father, Michael and older brother, Jackson, enjoy watching Maddie and Allie compete, but also love the jeans, boots, and environment.

“The Congress is a combination of all that you’ve worked on all year,” Deanna explains. “We all love it. From the shopping to the food and competition.”

Vroegh adds, “Allie has shown at the Congress a couple of times and I think she’s just hungry to win the all-around. Maddie and her new three-year-old have exceeded our expectations and I’m excited to see what they do at this show.”

Both girls love the Congress as well. Allie says, “There are so many things to see and do, it’s really fun. I also love the food, and the prizes are awesome. It’s really organized, and they do a good job putting it together.”

The sisters share their love of the food and fun at the Congress, but Maddie also loves seeing and meeting new friends. She says, “Hands down, the Congress is my favorite show. It’s so fun to show against eighty other competitors. I think I’ve had more fun waiting for my name to be called in the lineups there than anywhere else.”

The Rippeon girls’ parents want them to know that “With whatever you do, your family always has your back, and you have to work harder than everyone else to achieve your goals.”

Mrs. Rippeon often tells her girls, “Your ribbons and trophies are earned at home…you just go to shows to pick them up.”

The dedication these two girls have is often what sets them apart from their competition. Eleven-year-old Maddie even flies by herself to go prepare for upcoming shows.”

Their mother, Deanna, adds, “We’re trying to raise little boss ladies around here, so when they’re older, they are strong, independent, and ready to succeed in life.”

CLICK HERE to see them in the October issue of GoMag.


About the Author – Lauren Pursley is a devoted equestrian showing in the all-around events with her horse Lovin Some Lazy Lola. Lauren is the current Texas Quarter Horse Youth Association Reporter. In addition to competing in AQHA shows, Lauren competes in Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) horse shows, 4H Horse Judging, and is a member of the 4H Veterinary Science Club. Lauren enjoys working with horses, writing about horses, and equine photography.

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