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We Ask The Industry – What are Your Thoughts on Combining the APHA World Shows?

The 2020 APHA World Show recently ended. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the youth show which was originally scheduled for the summer, was moved to the fall and combined with the open show. In recent years, many individuals in the paint industry have expressed their desire to have the shows re-combined as they were originally.

With the show fresh on people’s minds, GoHorseShow asked APHA trainers and exhibitors whether they liked the shows back together and if they have any suggestions to improve the event in coming years.

Vote in our poll below and let us know your thoughts.

Vanessa Froman – I loved having it combined. Normally, my boys stay home when I go to the world, and my cheering section is mostly Brian and Jenell, who doesn’t like yelling and can’t whistle. So, it was just so calming to have my husband and boys in the stands for the first time this year. Plus, it is one less 18-hour haul the horses have to make each year. The show was great for us, but it was obviously very different due to COVID changes. We had to be there a full two weeks to show our few classes. I know you will never make everyone happy, but I would have loved to see some schedule changes to shorten our time away. We had six days off between when Collin finished, and I started. Then, another four days off between our classes. We made the most of it with our families, but preferred to spend fewer days away from our homes. As a side note, I actually preferred not having the VIP tables behind the seats. It gave us much more room to walk in John Justin. And we really missed our baked potato and cinnamon roll vender that’s always been in the one corner for decades. I hope they can come back in 2021. It wasn’t right to not have them there.

Austin Gooding – I like that the world show is combined. I think it helps the open class numbers because when the youth horses are already at the show, it’s much easier to enter them. Still, when it’s a whole extra trip for the youth horses to show in only open classes, it’s a lot harder to talk the owner into that. I thought the numbers were up in some of the core classes this year.

In my opinion, there were a lot of positives to the world show this year, and a lot of horses were selling, which is good to see. The only negative I heard was about the new sponsorship program, but primarily due to how short notice it was and in a year of a pandemic. I think another year or two, and it’ll most likely be not a big deal as long as people don’t have to switch stalls year to year.

My only concern with the world show moving forward is next year it moves to the summer (end of June/first of July), and it’ll make it really hard for the young two-year-old classes to have much participation. In response to that, I would love to see the Paint Congress moved to the Fall (November), and some of the yearling/2yr old and 3yr old futurities moved to that show. Hopefully, that would increase participation in that show and give the paints another prestigious show to attend.

Erin Bradshaw Weiss – I do like that it was combined this year. There were more people there, which made the overall vibe much better. I like it combined for later in the year, but I am not a huge fan of it being combined and moved to July. It cripples your two-year-olds and young horse’s classes, putting even more pressure on young ones to be ready even earlier. It also drops having the WCHA there in July, so I think you will lose people by not having that going on simultaneously, which draws so many in.

Scott Suggs – I am thrilled the show was combined as I feel it was the first step in rebuilding the show to what it once was.  This year was challenging; obviously, with the changes in management, I don’t feel that Kathy and her group were put in a very fair position from APHA, and of course, they took the brunt of the blame.

As always, you do the best you can with the circumstances and carry on, which we did and had a great show regardless. I felt the sponsorship program implemented 60 days before the show was done and handled at best poorly. I personally was very disappointed to find out that not only had we participated, but my stalls had been moved when I’ve been in the same spot since that barn opened. 

These things that prior were handled by APHA, but not passed on to new management are just an example of their lack of leadership. Lastly, I feel the worst for the kids who worked so hard to get there and won all-around titles but had no awards presentation or there last victory lap or pictures in the arena for friends and family. Those once-in-a-lifetime memories will never be replaced and it is just unacceptable.

Jenna Tolson – Personally, I have no connection to the youth show, and we don’t have any APHA youth in our barn either. So, I don’t really care, other than I think the youth would have been more the focus with their own show. I understand that show was unsustainable on its own, so I get the business side too. I am not excited about the show moving back to summer from the sole standpoint of hot weather. Most of the youth classes were the first couple of days this year, and then they were done. If I were them, I think I would have felt like “my” world show experience was rushed. But perhaps that is just because of making concessions with COVID. 

I also felt like we had to practice in the middle of the night more this year than in year’s past, but I can’t say for sure if the youth show had much to do with that. Maybe it was just more people attending in general, and that would be a good thing.

Brian Isbell – I love the fact that the Open, Amateur and Youth are combined again. Personally, I think combining the shows will allow more people to attend. I’ve had customers in the past make a choice on sending their kids or sending their horses for the open week. They couldn’t justify paying the expenses on 2 separate weeks in Texas. This year’s show was great, but as in any new show, there are tweaks that could be made to the schedule. 

One of the best additions to this year’s World Show was Kathy Avolt’s, An Equine Production, and her amazing staff. They were great from the office to the back gates. On numerous occasions, I heard Scott Neuman and John Boxell giving their personal cell phone numbers to exhibitors telling them to call with any questions or concerns, and insuring them if they had a conflict, they would not miss their class. I think combining these shows is a very positive move for both the association and the exhibitors. My only wish is it could have remained in Sept and not June/July.

Alexis Miller – I liked that it was combined. It felt a lot bigger, but the practice pens were still manageable because youth showed the week before the amateurs, and the open was primarily the following week. However, and that can be hard on some of the horses that do multiple events for a youth/amateur and an open rider. Maybe finding a way to compact the schedule a bit would make it much easier for everyone.

Tim Gillespie – Yes, we liked it very much. The schedule was set up so the youth only had to miss a few days of school, and all the customers loved the weather this time of year.



Blake Carney – Well, I only brought an amateur, so I didn’t get to experience the full combined show. I do know a lot of trainers I spoke with were pretty exhausted with the accelerated schedule. I would imagine with the world show being in the summer again and the combined schedule, it will be easier for trainers like me who have to travel a long distance not to have to do it twice, and I’m not even close to the distance our West Coast friends have to travel.

Megan Brown – Combining was nice, though, the youth classes were so early, it seemed separate still. Having such lovely weather in September was an added bonus, but we won’t be getting that in July next year. I am glad that APHA chose to move the youth show from that dangerous time and still offer it as well as extend the youth, novice, green, etc. eligibility for a year. There are so many of our APHA families out there that didn’t get a chance to show this year, so very happy with our allowing them to do so next year.


What do you think? Do you like the APHA World Show being combined? Vote in our poll below and let us know.

Do you like that the APHA World Shows have been combined?

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