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Select Amateur Wins First Globe in 51 Years of Showing

The curtain has closed on the 2020 Farnam AQHA World Championship Show. As competitors from all over are trying to recover from their lack of sleep, unpack their suitcases or remember where that one thing in the trailer was packed – we are here to revel in the memories for just a little bit longer.

Over the past three weeks, 99 Farnam AQHA World Champions and 44 Adequan Select World Champions were crowned. Along with the numerous World Champions, Reserve and Bronze Champions brought home their own coveted AQHA globes. It was the first world show for some exhibitors, but for one exhibitor, it was her first world show globe in 51 years of showing the American Quarter Horse.

Amanda Martin McHollan from Keystone Heights, Florida, earned her first-ever globe last week when she placed third in the Select Amateur Hunter Under Saddle with her horse, A Blazing Loper.

“I was completely stunned. I couldn’t believe it,” said Amanda. Growing up in Florida, Amanda got her first horse at the young age of nine years old. “My first horse was a Palomino, and I started showing at my first open shows at ten years old,” said Amanda. “Shortly after that, I started showing at both AQHA and Palomino shows. That would have been around 1975.”

For the remainder of her youth career, Amanda grew up owning and showing American Quarter Horses. She kept her horses at home and, during the summers, she would stay with her trainer to learn and grow as a rider. She attended the AQHA Youth World Show, but she did not place.

After graduating from youth, Amanda decided to become a professional for a few years. “In my early twenties, I decided to show horses for a few years professionally,” said Amanda. “The amateur classes started to get big at that time, so I gave up my card for the required years to get my amateur card back.”

In 1989, Amanda and her horse, Truckles Hustle, won Reserve High Point Amateur in the nation. “That was a fun time. We earned over 500 points that year,” said Amanda. “I would haul places by myself, and Sandy Vaughn would help me when I got there. I think back then, I showed my horse in about nine events every show.”

However, the rare placing at the World Championship Show eluded Amanda.

“After that year, I started buying younger horses primarily. I loved the challenge of taking a young, unfinished horse and teaching them the all-around events,” said Amanda. “I would keep them for a little while and then sell them after two or three years.”

It was not until a few short years ago that Amanda had her first taste of world show success. Her drive to continue climbing was more vital than ever after being named a finalist in the Select Amateur Hunter Under Saddle. “I told myself once I retired, the one thing I wanted was to have no regrets,” said Amanda. “As I age, I don’t want to look back and think about the opportunities that I could have taken. I would rather know that I at least tried my best.”

Having no regrets was central to Amanda’s mindset going into the 2020 Farnam AQHA World Championship Show. “The pattern classes have always been my favorite, so I thought the equitation was my chance to place at the show,” said Amanda.

After a successful preliminary pattern and rail work, Amanda made it back to the Select Amateur Equitation finals. “When they called out that I had made the finals, I was thrilled!” Amanda ended up placing ninth in the challenging Select Amateur Equitation class. After the equitation, it was time to refocus for the hunter under saddle. “I knew my horse was a nice mover, but the hunt seat is tough. I was just excited to have made the top fifteen,” said Amanda.

“When they started calling out the results in the finals, I was standing in front of my group of friends we were stalled with and my trainers on the rail, and I thought ‘Okay, here we go.’ The announcer got down to the top ten in the class, and I couldn’t believe it,” said Amanda. “When the fourth place was called, and it still wasn’t me, I heard my trainer Sandy Vaughn behind me say, ‘Oh my God!’ I immediately started crying, and the next thing I heard was Sandy tell me to stop crying. I had to tell my husband afterward that it was happy tears,” said Amanda. “It was my first globe ever in 51 years of showing. I was overjoyed. I cried on and off for the rest of the day.”

When asked what she was most proud of, Amanda said it was her journey through all of the years she has shown horses. “What I want people to know is that it is doable. You can keep your horse at home, love them, and work hard enough to have success. It just takes time,” said Amanda. “I am so proud of my horse for being so good for me, and I am so thankful to Andrey Ferreir and Sandy Vaughn for their hard work in preparing us to show.”

About the Author: A native Mississippian, Sabrina Turner graduated from Mississippi State University in 2019 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance, Risk Management, and Insurance. Sabrina currently attends The University of Alabama, where she is pursuing her Master of Arts in Advertising and Public Relations. Sabrina shows in AQHA amateur all-around events with her horse VS Ona Good Impulse.