Youth in the Industry: How Young Exhibitors are Supporting their Horse Showing Habits
Making it to the top requires great determination and dedication, and AQHA is no exception. The top youth exhibitors in the nation have an immeasurable amount of commitment toward their sport.
These young individuals are go-getters, in and out of the show pen. Youth in the AQHA industry are working hard to support their showing and future.
Alexis Potts is a prime example of hard work and determination in the quarter horse community. Not only is she one of the top 14 to 18 exhibitors and recently signed to Auburn University’s equestrian team, she is also the owner and CEO of The Frilly Filly. The Frilly Filly is an online boutique that sells cute gifts, accessories, shoes, and clothing.
Alexis claims the boutique niche is “a competitive, yet empowering environment” and that she has made countless connections with other boutique owners of all ages. “I am so proud to be a part of this inspiring group of women entrepreneurs,” Potts says.
Potts believes she has always held a passion for entrepreneurship. From an early age, she would run around horse shows and sell bracelets. This blossomed into her first business, The Southern Slime Shop, in 2017, which she sold to another young, aspiring entrepreneur.
Pageantry has become another passion of Potts’ over the last few years. She is the current Palmetto State Teen and will be competing at nationals this July. Competing in these pageants inspired her love for fashion, which sparked her idea for The Frilly Filly.
“The pageant world is not the only reason I started The Frilly Filly, but my ultimate goal is to expand my boutique where I will carry prom and pageant dresses,” Potts says.
Alexis says both showing and running her business has its challenges. For example, she tries to get pictures of all her merchandise to post the pieces online as soon as she gets them. Potts says the key to balancing the two is prioritizing customer communication.
“My customers have been very understanding when I’m not able to ship their purchases while I’m away,” she says, and she also tries to throw in a gift if there is a delay.
While building her business from the ground up, she has also built her all-around horse. Her current show horse, Mouse Trapped, was purchased as a two-year-old at the All-American Quarter Horse Congress. She says that working alongside her father, TR Potts, and Geno Spagnola has been one of the most rewarding experiences of her life.
“It’s been amazing to see every step of the process, and the small victories make this journey so special.” She believes Mouse Trapped, aka “Tater,” has become a true partner, in and out of the arena. “He is a horse with a lot of personality and even more heart.”
The Humbert Sisters
Jordyn and Karly Humbert are two sisters who share a passion for showing. Karly wanted to purchase Soft Rides for her horses and found holding a typical teenage job challenging. So, she started pre-bedding stalls as a coincidence, just wanting to help a trainer running late to a show. Karly realized what a great opportunity it was and decided to advertise for her next show.
“At the first show, I got in over my head, and my sister gracefully said she would help. So, we’ve been doing it ever since,” Karly says.
Jordyn also helps her trainer, Adam Winter, at shows. Being able to arrive to shows early to pre-bed ensures no conflict between working and showing.
“We also have a great trainer and show family. And power naps are key,” Jordyn says. “Unlike my sister, I need sleep, so getting my work done early in the show makes it easier for me,” Karly told us.
In addition to showing and working at shows, the sisters help at their family’s meat shop. Karly explains, “We make and smoke different things in the smokehouse, but we are best known for our Maple Pepper Jack Pig Sticks. If you’ve never had them, you need to.”
“We don’t ski or play volleyball,” Karly laughs. Instead, they participate in tournament walleye fishing. Karly says she’s always been “hands-on” when it comes to their farm and has learned to weld and hunt.
Karly has competed with her show partner “Riggs” for the past year. “I lost my heart horse, Jackson, a little over a year ago, and transitioning to Riggs was a little rough.” However, they have figured each other out since then and made quite the team.
Jordyn has shown her two horses, “CC” and “Liam.” “I’ve shown CC for a few years. She’s our princess, loves the trail, and we’re starting the western riding, so that’s fun,” Jordyn says.
Liam is new to the all-around but has only become better each time he is shown. “He’s cute, and he knows it,” Jordyn explains. “He’s young and has a toddler personality, so it’s been interesting.”
Jordyn says both horses have been amazing show partners.
Dedicated, hard-working youth is what cause change and growth in our industry. So, if you see any of these young individuals or others, consider supporting them and their businesses. The youth are the future; if the rest are anything like these exhibitors, the future will be bright.