1 of 22: AQHA Exhibitor Earns Supreme Performance Champion Award
The American Quarter Horse has long been celebrated as a versatile companion and is highlighted at the top level of competition, from weekend horse shows to world championship shows. This distinction continues to showcase how the breed is not only accomplished in many disciplines, but proves its longevity over numerous generations.
Aside from the nation’s largest and most competitive horse shows, AQHA offers a set of awards that feature horses and their accomplishments differently – accumulated career points. Once achieved, these awards are added permanently to a horse’s show record.
These awards offer exhibitors something to work toward in addition to the usual Congress or world show titles. For some, having an additional purpose of attaining points provides an opportunity to work towards something when attending championship-level shows isn’t feasible.
Below is a sample list of AQHA offered awards and their descriptions:
Registers of Merit – Racing, Performance, Halter/Performance Halter
Superior (Event) Horse – Horse has earned 50 or more points in one event
Performance Champion – Horse has earned three individual Superior Event Horse awards
Supreme Performance Champion – Exhibitor has earned six Superior Event Horse awards with the same horse
Superior All-Around – Exhibitor has earned 50 or more all-around titles
Versatility Award – Horse has earned 65 points in eight events
AQHA Champion – Exhibitor/horse has earned 35 points in AQHA-approved competition or races
This is not the complete list of awards available through AQHA, but they can be found at AQHA.com, along with the specific requirements for each.
What makes some of these awards even more special is that very few names have been added to the list. For example, only 22 exhibitors have earned the Supreme Performance Champion title. Beth Becker is the most recent AQHA member to add her name. GoHorseShow talked to Beth and discussed what makes this unique to her and the industry.
Beth’s equine partner, Only Promoting Me, is a 12-year-old gelding who was supposed to be her significant other’s (Andy Bonner) horse. She sold her previous horse and started ‘Stewart’ in the all-around. He had to learn showmanship, horsemanship, equitation, and lead changes in just a few short months.
Beth explained that having to earn six superiors was the most challenging part of reaching this award, especially when halter does not count as one of the six. “The competition is very tough, so you have to stay focused and determined in accomplishing this goal. There was also the challenge of some classes, like western riding, not always having many exhibitors in it. This makes it extremely difficult to earn points. Also, having a horse that is versatile enough to show in that many class is tough to come by, and I am almost a select rider showing against exhibitors half my age.”
“I keep Stewart at home and work a full-time job. Getting Stewart prepped comes down to Andy and me. There is no one else. We have to take the time to be sure he is ready to show. Stewart is quite the character and needs to be busy. He likes to be ridden and messed with every day, and that requires a lot of time. He occasionally likes to make sure you are paying attention and throws in a bonus maneuver or two.”
Beth said that this award is special to her because so few have achieved it. This speaks volumes to how challenging it is to accomplish with a one-horse, one rider team.
“To me, personally, it means the world. I work very hard at this hobby that I love so much. This award is a culmination of all the years of lessons and riding.”
AQHA’s acknowledgment of these accomplishments is one way to applaud the exhibitors that show their horse and show up for the association. They travel multiple weekends to different states, work their day jobs to afford the fees, and support the industry with their involvement year-after-year. Beth described it as a celebration of horse and rider. We, as an industry, need that. We need to share the victories, significant or small, for ourselves and each other.
“I hope I have lead by example that you don’t have to have the most expensive horse or trainer to win an award like this. It just takes a lot of hard work and dedication. I encourage my fellow exhibitors to dream big and go for an award that you thought impossible. I want to thank Andy Bonner. He has been my rock. He is our biggest cheerleader and mediator at times (Stewart and I sometimes have creative differences). He is the truck driver, encourager, reality checker, and coach. If it weren’t for Andy, we would not have achieved this award. I would also like to thank Jeff and Liz Long for selling us Stewart and for being a constant supporter of us. And Art O’Brien and O’Brien Quarter Horses for helping Stewart at the start of his all-around career.”
If you were unaware of these awards from AQHA, we encourage you to check them out in the current edition of the rulebook or online. Goal setting, short or long term, is an integral part of showing horses. Awards such as the Supreme Performance Championship are a great way to hold yourself accountable with a longstanding show partner.
Congratulations to Beth on this achievement. Completing the requirements of this prestigious award is a testament to her dedication to the American Quarter Horse, a belief in her horse, and a passion for showing. We hope to see more exhibitors accomplish this feat.