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Samantha Ihde-Foust and Cool Cruzen Lady Head to the World on a High

Amateur exhibitor Samantha Ihde-Foust and her mare, Cool Cruzen Lady (Hazel), are coming off an outstanding Congress with two championships and one reserve. Her trainer, Tonya Brown was reserve in a tough Junior Western Riding with a score of 231.5. Later in the show, Samantha and Hazel not only won the Level 1 Amateur Western Riding, they were champions in the Amateur Western Riding in dominating fashion.

“I feel delighted and blessed for the rides Hazel gave me at the Congress,” the California native, who is a catering chef and owns a bakery, told us. “Never in a million years would I have thought I would win the Congress, let alone twice. This year was my first time showing in the Amateur Trail and Western Riding at Congress. I could not have asked more from her.  She gave me her all, every time we stepped in the show pen. My goal all year was to score a 240, and to win the Amateur Western Riding with a 241.5 was amazing.”

A relatively new team, Ihde-Foust bought the gorgeous red roan mare at the AQHA World Show last year. The duo has been showing in western pleasure, trail, and western riding. “We bought Hazel at the AQHA World Show last year. For a mare, she is so kind and willing. No matter how hard she is worked or tired, she always goes out and does her job. She’s gorgeous and has incredible talent. The western riding comes so naturally to her, and she loves it.”

We asked her what it was like working with Tonya Brown. “Tonya has been a huge part of the success of Hazel and I. When I came to Tonya five years ago, I had very little knowledge in the all-around, especially western riding. She pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped make my dreams come true. She will go above and beyond to make sure I am prepared to show. She’s the glue that holds us together.”

Samantha, who currently lives in San Diego, talks about her favorite accomplishments from this year. “Of course, my two Congress championships, especially the Amateur with such a huge score. I’ve felt very novice this year competing against these seasoned competitors in the Amateur Western Riding, so it was a big confidence booster for me. However, winning the 4-6 YO Non-Pro Trail at the NSBA World Show was special. Trail is an event Hazel and I are learning together, so when we can sync together and have a great go like we did…it’s really fun. I had no expectations going in. I was aiming for Top 10, so winning was a huge surprise.”

Samantha told us that she and Hazel have a special bond. “I have never bonded with a horse as fast as I have with Hazel. She’s unlike any horse I’ve ever ridden, and she’s pushed my skills as a rider. When I’m on her back, I feel like we are bonded, we are a pair, and we are meant to be. It’s an extraordinary feeling I can’t quite explain. She’s got such a kind soul.”

At the AQHA World Show this year, she is entered in the L2 Junior Western Pleasure, L3 Junior Trail, and Western Riding with Brown. Samantha will be showing in the Level 2 and 3 Amateur Trail and Western Riding.

“I have zero expectations for the World Show,” Samantha told us. “My goal is to be at the top of all my classes, but I don’t expect anything. I am human and I am riding a horse with her own thoughts and feelings. What happens on that day is meant to be. I plan to ride my ride and pray for the best and have fun.”

“I’d like to thank my mom, Kelly Ihde. None of this would be possible without her,” Samantha says. “She’s always been the best show mom a girl could ask for. She never expects anything from me, other than to have fun and love my horse. Horses have been my saving grace after my dad passed when I was 16, and she’s always made sure my heart was full.”

Ihde-Foust adds, “I’d also like to thank my husband, Bronson Foust. We just newly married on October 5th, right before the Congress. He has always supported my passion, even if that means leaving him for weeks at a time. He always holds the fort down at home without one complaint. I am so so grateful for him.”

CLICK HERE to view her ad in the November issue of GoMag.

Photos: Shane Rux, Kassidy Lammers, Larry Williams