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A Winning Combination: Juliana Arora Leans on Family Members & Great Trainer Teams in and out of the Show Pen

What happens when you have two different horses in two different barns working with four different trainers? GoHorseShow caught up with amateur competitor Juliana Blackburn Baskin Arora this week to ask precisely that. It turns out it’s a winning combination.

Juliana worked with trainer Leslie Lange to hunt for a new all-around equine partner during the Arizona Sun Circuit. “I rode so many horses and Marge (Been Sleepin), a four-year-old mare out of Whoz Been Good, and by Too Sleepy To Zip was the last one I rode. I rode her around for about 10-15 minutes and knew she was the one. It has been so fun learning together since she is green in the trail. I am excited about the future, and hopefully, I can learn to continue to stay out of her way.”

Juliana and Leslie decided to keep Marge with trainers Becky George and Colton Pylman once the pandemic hit to maintain a smooth transition.

Gil Galyean teamed up with Juliana and her mother, Susan Blackburn, and found Joy (The Dark Impulse) in March as well. “We had been looking for a new pleasure horse for a while. I have always loved Joy since she has been in Gil’s barn for a couple of years and never dreamed I would have the opportunity to own her. The stars aligned, and she is now ours.”

Redbud was the first show for Juliana and her new horses. “I was so excited to show both of them and have my first show of the year.” Just a few weeks later, Juliana and Marge earned a trophy in Level 1 Amateur Trail at the NSBA World Show. “I did not expect that, and it was our third show together, so that was cool.”

Juliana will be competing at the AQHA World Championship Show in November. “As an amateur competitor, I have never shown at the world show, so I am looking forward to the experience. I will be showing both Joy and Marge this year. Joy and I will show in the pleasure and Marge and I in the trail and maybe the horsemanship.”

While this year’s forced slowdown and limited showing has been challenging, Juliana has put the extra time at home with her new horses to good use. “I have gotten to ride more since COVID. It was beneficial for me to ride and not have the pressure of showing right away. I feel I got to know both of them more, and in hindsight, I am thankful for that. It is scary how quickly showing was put on pause, so I try to be more present and not think about the future too much.”

When she’s not riding, showing, or working, you can find Juliana spending time with her husband, Anish, and their dog Maverick. “We take him for walks both around our neighborhood and at new places and also to dog parks. We got him in January of this year, and he has been such an amazing addition to our lives.” The couple enjoys traveling together and is planning to visit a few national parks in the Seattle area in-between horse shows at the end of September.

Besides the support of her husband and trainers, Juliana is grateful for her parents’ continued support. Her mother started her lifelong love affair with horses and showing at a young age. “I have been showing horses since I can remember. I started doing leadline with one of my mom’s horses, and I was hooked from that point on. I really cannot imagine life without horses. They are a huge part of my life and have shaped me into the person I am today. I have learned so many life lessons throughout the years. I sometimes joke that my horse habit kept me off the streets.”

When asked what advice she might share with other competitors as they work through the uncertainties of showing horses for the next several months, Juliana looked within. “I think we need to take it one day at a time and be grateful for the opportunities we have. I know that is easier said than done sometimes. Worrying or thinking about the future too much can be a problem. There are a lot of unknowns right now, and we have demonstrated we can still do what we love in the midst of it.”

CLICK HERE to view Juliana’s ad in the September issue of GoMag.

About the Author – Catherine Finger loves to dream, write, and tell stories. Retired from a wonderful career in public education, she contributes to the well-being of others by offering coaching support for leaders, writers, and speakers. Passionate about riding and showing Quarter Horses, she lives in the Midwest with a warm and wonderful combination of family and friends.