The Golden Selects – Exhibitors Over 70
The American Quarter Horse Association offers the Select Amateur classes for exhibitors over fifty years of age. Among those exhibitors lies a select group of people we like to call “The Golden Selects.” You might be wondering what the qualifications are to be considered a Golden Select. Well, it’s quite simple. You have to be seventy years young and awesome.
Now, if you’re familiar with these golden individuals, you know all of the fun and excitement they bring to the show pen. GoHorseShow also asked them about how the COVID-19 pandemic affected their show season this year and whether they are planning to compete at the AQHA World Show in November. This summer, the AQHA Select World Show was canceled and combined with Open World Show in Oklahoma City.
Read more about the three lovely ladies we featured in this article…Janet Egolf, Eleanor Green, and Kathy Lee.
Janet Egolf began her journey into the equine industry as a youth showing in 4-H. In 2008, she bought a show horse and began showing on the AQHA circuit. You can now find Janet showing her horse Hes Forever Good or “Fritz,” in western riding, showmanship, horsemanship, western pleasure, and her favorite class, trail.
Egolf’s advice for younger exhibitors is, “Everything depends on the connection between you and your horse. Never stop putting forth the effort. There are days when you wonder if you will ever get your name called, but riding and practice is the key to winning. Never give up on your dreams.” It’s important always to stay willing to learn as Janet says, “In this industry, you never stop learning.”
Since the Super Selects are in the high-risk group regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked Egolf how it affected her show season.
“In June, we started showing again and have been on the go since. I do believe there are issues regarding people’s health that need to be taken into consideration. I have chosen to live my life doing what I love rather than living in fear.”
After a long career of riding and showing, Janet has made some unforgettable memories, including being crowned World Champion in Select Trail at the 2020 NSBA World Show. Egolf described her victory lap as an “incredible” experience and gave all of the credit of her winning to her horse Fritz.
Along with great memories come great people. “Many people have impacted my showing. I show with Beckey Schooler. She has taken me to the next level. I would have to say, as an all-around exhibitor, she has impacted my life more than anyone.”
Janet continues, “As I get older, I hope to remain healthy so that I can continue to do what I love…showing my horse. The support of friends will always be a treasure in my life. I have met so many wonderful people. That is the best reward.”
At the age of six, Eleanor Green started formal riding lessons at Tampa Yacht and Country Club and hasn’t been without one since her first horse at age nine. After starting her riding career with American Saddlebred and Arabians, Eleanor got her first American Quarter Horse in high school and hasn’t looked back.
“One reason was that the AQHA shows were plentiful and conveniently located in Florida. While I had support from my parents, I began riding horses for other people to support my ‘horse habit’ further.”
Green continued to show in AQHA shows throughout college at the University of Florida and even in veterinary school at Auburn University with her horse Cable Bar Adams.
Eleanor’s years of experience make her a reputable source for advice. “We owe the horse. We must do all we can to ensure their physical and mental well-being in return. Treat them kindly, with compassion, and free from abuse. I have always said that the temper does not take over until the knowledge plays out. Horses make us healthier – heart healthier, mentally healthier, physically healthier.”
Green describes that one of the most influential people throughout her showing career has been Andy Moorman. “Andy is one of the best comprehensive amateur and youth coaches I have known. When I say comprehensive, I include how she treats her horses, how she treats her riders, and her high ethical and moral standards.”
Eleanor describes some of her favorite horse show memories as, “winning two reserve world championships at my first AQHA Select Amateur World Show. Certainly, doing well is memorable, but more importantly than that, Andy Moorman and I went together, and we made a memory together.”
Green plans on attending this year’s AQHA World Show. “We were disappointed the Select show did not proceed as planned at Fort Worth, as we would have been there. We will participate in many World Show activities, including the Select Amateur classes and perhaps others in Amateur and Open. We also have a horse in the AQHA World Show Sale. In addition, I will be present at the meeting in OKC of the Animal Welfare Commission, as I serve as its chair of the AQHA Animal Welfare Commission.”
This Golden Select also says, “My medical training and experiences give me a deep understanding of the threats and implications of this global pandemic, none of which I take lightly. We all must take personal responsibility for our own safety, as well as for our role in protecting others.”
Lastly, Eleanor mentions, “Have I said I love horses? I do. And I love the American Quarter Horse. I have devoted my entire career to horses through my role as an equine veterinarian. It has been a delightful and fulfilling journey in every sense.”
Kathy Lee has had a love for horses since she was a young girl, but never had one until she was older. “I wanted one badly, but it wasn’t until I met my husband, Glenn, that my dream came true. Glenn was a horse person and was breeding mares with a background in Rodeo Rough Stock and was showing in AQHA events. I started learning to ride when we met in 1983, and he gave me a palomino mare in 1984.”
Lee has had several horses throughout her show career, including her first show horse Mystic Lee Terrific, also known as Miss Minnie. “Anyone who knows me knows Miss Minnie. She is my once-in-a-lifetime horse, bred, born, and raised right here. She is 21 this year, but I still show her in western riding and ranch riding. She has won numerous AQHA titles, including Amateur Supreme Champion, and in September 2017, we were honored on the cover of the AQHA magazine.”
Lee also shows Miss Minnie’s son, Terrific Lee Hot. Kathy has been showing for the past 33 years in several events, including halter, showmanship, hunter under saddle, hunt seat equitation, western pleasure, horsemanship, reining, trail, western riding, ranch riding, and even barrel racing.
With regard to how Kathy keeps herself in horse show shape, she says, “I just turned 71 years young, so staying in shape is important at my age, and at any age, I have always had my horses at home, so that, in itself, is work. I taught Physical Education for 20 years, raised my two kids, and then started teaching adult fitness classes, including Zumba, Yoga, and Step Aerobics. I also workout at Orange Theory 5-7 days a week.”
Lee’s advice for younger exhibitors is, “soak up information and guidance from others, don’t think it’s all about winning or you will burn out. Concentrate on the day-to-day, experiencing what it takes to make you and your horse a team, learn your horse. The friendships you will develop along the way will help you in life. When I first started showing, I was intimidated to show against those who looked like they had everything under control. But once you get to know those riders, they have gone through the same struggles any rider does. Never quit learning.”
After years of learning, in and out of the show pen, all three of these powerful women have lessons to give, memories to share, and more ribbons to win. It is easy to tell that all of these Golden Selects care much more about building relationships, bonds with their horses, and just having fun than winning. Take the advice from our most seasoned exhibitors, and you might end up with as many great memories one day.