Custom Top Container Text

GoMag »

Latest News »

We Ask the Industry: What is One of Your Funniest Congress Memories?

GoHorseShow talked to several people at the All American Quarter Horse Congress, and we have compiled some fun anecdotes from past years. We asked trainers and exhibitors about their funniest Congress memories.

Many Congress veterans told us that their most memorable stories were not printable or for public consumption, probably involving the Green Bar or the Corral. However, many others were able to share some of their more G-rated stories, involving golf carts, lack of sleep, getting dumped, horses being fresh, getting sprayed by water, almost missing classes, and more.

Find out what they had to say. Do you have some funny memories from Congress? Let us know in the comments.

Julian Harris – I was riding The Mile High Club in the Celeste at 2:30 in the morning. I was so exhausted and sleepy. And he had the best walk. He walked slow and side to side. I had just finished riding him, and I was walking along the rail. There was hardly anyone there at the time. But, his walk must have rocked me to sleep because I woke up standing in the middle of the pen still in the saddle with Miles resting a hind leg asleep as well. He walked a whole half lap with me sleeping and then took it upon himself to go to the middle and sleep too.

Kristen Galyean – One morning, back in 2009, it was about 4:30 am, and the Amateur Western Pleasure was that morning right after I was showing VS Code Red in the finals of the 2YO Open Western Pleasure. I was showing Vital Signs Are Good in the Amateur Western Pleasure, and I had told my dad I wanted to focus on getting Waylon ready for the 2yr old finals, so I was going to longe Lucy lightly, and that would be all the prep she would need.

I walked under the overhang of the Coliseum, and it was a cold morning, so Lucy had most of her blankets on so no one could tell what horse it was, I’m sure. Mind you, this is at the end of Congress, so Lucy should have been tired. She had shown around five times by this point of the show. As I let the longe lead out, Lucy takes off like an All American Futurity racehorse out of the gates. Snorting and bucking and running so fast she was running sideways. Immediately everyone is looking to see who is this crazy horse I’m longing, acting like a wild mustang so much so that she is amping up everyone else’s horses with her.

Right when I have everyone’s attention, whether I wanted it or not, Lucy stumbles while running at record speeds and falls on her side and was going so fast she left a skid mark in the dirt because she slid so far. It scared me to death because I thought she broke herself, but she popped up with dirt head to toe and looked at me like, “Okay, I’m ready. I might have taken that a little far, huh?”

Brad Kearns was nearby and said, “Is that Lucy?” I was like, ‘yep, in all her morning glory.’ I took her back to the stall, and she won the Amateur Pleasure a few hours later, right after Waylon won the Open 2’s. It was a special day, but that morning gave us a lot of laughs looking back.

Abigail Hardy – Well, I walked up to the show this year and was first to go. I saw the water drag and told my friend, Jadalynn to walk into the tent so I could get on. Well, little did I know, he warned everyone right before I got up there that he was starting it. So right when I told Jay to walk into the tent, we got soaked. Jay could run away, but since I had my horse, he went backing up, so we got even more soaked. I couldn’t see out of my glasses or anything. My number was so wet the string broke my holes, and we had to run for a hole puncher. My horse just put his head up and backed a few steps, which is funny because he comes undone for baths, but didn’t care about the freezing water hitting us. We still ended up 4th.

Violet Shetler – In 2017, I had two NYATT classes with two horses, Mister Awetabulous and Dolls Dark Captive, in the equitation and the showmanship. They ran at the same time, but I was early in the showmanship. I had a few mistakes, and we didn’t think I would make it back. I got dressed for equitation and got the other horse undone. I went to watch the pattern; I was about ten out. We get a call that I made it back in the showmanship, and we run back to the barn. I had about five people getting me changed, getting my bun back in, and somebody getting the horse ready. They run with her to the Cooper from Adequan, and I hop on the cricket. The cricket isn’t in the best shape, so steering through the pathways wasn’t easy, and we hit one of the cement barriers. So, I get off and run the rest of the way. My finals pattern wasn’t the greatest.

Meggen Morrow Baynes – One of my funniest Congress memories was when my quiet mare, Sleepy bucked me off during the Pole Bending at the Amateur Versatility. This was the only Congress my mom missed before her passing. Of course, this was about ten years ago, so technology was a little less sophisticated than it is now. Anyway, I was pushing Sleepy as hard as I could, and when I turned to start weaving the poles, she took off like a bronc. I stayed on for 8 seconds, but then she dove left, and I went right. I fell off, face first in the dirt, and couldn’t move for what seemed like an eternity. It was caught on video, and my mom could not believe that Sleepy could do such a thing. Once she watched the video, she came up with several reasons why it wasn’t Sleepy’s fault. 

Debbi Trubee – The damndest thing I’ve ever seen at the Congress was the time Darlene Trein was driving in the overhang, and her horse freaked out, dumped her, and ended up going in Congress Hall. Not funny but, it was a helluva wreck!



Jennifer D’Onofrio
– My first year at Congress, I came to shop for a small fry horse. I had no trainer and had never shown there myself, so I was pretty clueless. I ended up finding the perfect horse, and after picking him up and taking pages of notes on what to buy from his current trainer’s assistant, we proceeded to walk him straight down the middle of the midway past the Sweet Shop, past Rods. My husband would hold him outside each store while we shopped to get our essentials.

I had no idea why everyone was staring at us. Luckily, Roanie was a saint and even tolerated my husband’s stop at the Stage Coach for refreshments. I only wish I had a picture of him standing by the bar. We have learned a lot!

Jodie Ploog – I remember a few. I was in the 12-14 Horsemanship and had spent three days teaching my mare a lead change for the pattern. I was excited to show. I went up to check in, and they told me I had missed the class, and I was in the last split. Lia had checked my splits and told me wrong. I was sooo mad, but we sure laugh about it now.

Another time, we showed late the day before and then had finals the next day after a reining class. In the morning, we went up to the Sweet Shop to get some coffee and breakfast. Most reining classes took forever, so we had plenty of time. However, as soon as we started walking back to the barn, they first called for Lia’s finals. We dropped our coffee in the trash and sprinted back to the barn. It turns out NYATT reining doesn’t take nearly as long as most. She made that class, and all was good, but we still laughed at how dumb that was.

Madison Fussell – The first time I was ever at Congress, I did the 11&U Horsemanship, and I went first. I was freaking out and ended up forgetting my pattern and riding around looking completely lost the entire time.




Emma Garcia – The first memory that comes to mind is from my very first Congress. My mom and I flew to Columbus so that I could show my class the next day. We got in late, got lost driving to the Gilligan, and eventually found our stalls. We met up with my trainer Lynda and our friend Kat, and as soon as we got there, they said they wanted to watch the 3YO futurity, so we decided to go, except we would be taking Kat’s golf cart, which only had seating room for three people. So, my mom and Lynda sat in the front while Kat drove, and they had me stand on the back and hold on for dear life while navigated from the Gilligan to the Celeste.

It was a simultaneously terrifying and hilarious night. The worst part was that no one could hear me yelling for them to slow down and not fly around every turn. My mom was scared that I’d fall off the back of the golf cart and break something the night before I showed. Despite the fear I felt, it’s become one of my favorite Congress memories.

What is one of your funniest Congress memories? Let us know in the comments.