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New Year Brings New Role for Whitney Vicars at Walquist Quarter Horses

After a very challenging year, Whitney Vicars discusses her decision to give up her amateur card and exciting new changes for Walquist Quarter Horses in 2024.

Undoubtedly, 2023 brought many unexpected turns for 35-year-old Whitney Vicars, including the sudden loss of her dad and industry professional, Bruce Walquist, as well as a serious horse related accident for her husband, Craig, just months before that.

The new year marks a new beginning for Whitney, though, as she’ll step into a professional capacity as coach and trainer at Walquist Quarter Horses.

Leaving behind her amateur career was not an easy choice. She is a seven-time AQHA World Champion, three-time Congress Champion, two-time NSBA World Champion and multiple AQHA year end high point award winner, which includes being named All-Around Amateur in the Nation in 2013.

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Though bittersweet for many reasons, the change has Whitney looking forward to the opportunity of sharing her wide swath of experience and knowledge with others.

“Losing my father was devastating and initially, we were just trying to survive from one day to the next. But, as time went on, the idea of me moving into a professional role started coming up as an option for our business. My husband, my mom and I discussed it together of course, and have sought the Lord’s leading in prayer many times and the advice of some close friends, respected industry professionals, and spiritual leaders,” Whitney explains.

“Since completing my final World Show as an amateur in November, the Lord really started working on my heart about taking on a role to serve others and share the knowledge I’ve been able to gain and to give back to an industry that’s given so much to me,” she continues. “My family and I decided it made the most sense to make the transition with the start of the new year.”

Whitney, Craig and Whitney’s mom, Cindy approach the business as a true team, with everyone pitching in to keep things running smoothly. That approach will continue. Cindy, Craig and Whitney will all serve in coaching roles, and Cindy and Whitney will partner up to conquer administrative tasks. “She’s an excellent asset with years of experience. She is a great set of eyes on the ground for us,” Whitney says of her mom. Craig and Whitney will share responsibilities of training and riding.

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“I’m most excited about working with youth and amateurs, and teaching them all I know about riding and showing to the best of their abilities. Teaching them to develop a close relationship with their horses, giving them the confidence they need to compete successfully, and showing them how important faith is during this journey. I’m also looking forward to growing our knowledge and abilities in the ranch events. My husband Craig has already trained and exhibited a few horses in that discipline, and I look forward to us doing more in the future,” Whitney says.

Whitney is very detail-oriented, which helps in both the business administration and coaching sides of the business. She also holds a degree in education, so will be putting that knowledge to use in training and coaching.

Though she is saddened to lose opportunities to compete in pattern classes, which have been a true passion for her as a non-pro exhibitor, she knows her experience will be an asset to clients. But, perhaps the most important skills she brings to her new role are those values and instincts that her dad helped instill in her.

“As much as I’d love to be exactly like my Dad, I realize that isn’t completely possible. We both have different beginnings and our own paths to this role. My dad was a Christian, a true horseman, a man of his word, friendly and kind to others, took great care of his horses, had a great work ethic, and a strong desire to see others succeed. He believed very much that all horses are different, and we must make adjustments to them and try our best to listen to what they’re trying to tell us. I hope to carry these great qualities with me in my career,” she explains.

Whitney describes this change as a mixed bag of emotions: excitement, joy, thankfulness, nervousness, a little fear, a sense of responsibility, and some sadness, too.

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“I’m very excited for this change in my life, and I strongly desire to keep my Dad’s legacy going. I’m so grateful for all he did for our family and the legacy he left for us at Walquist Quarter Horses,” she says. “I’m so thankful for everyone welcoming this change and sharing words of encouragement and belief with me. I’ve been blessed with so many wonderful experiences and opportunities because of the horse industry, and I can’t wait to see how God can continue to use our family here.”

Everyone at GoHorseShow wishes the best of luck to Whitney and the entire Walquist Quarter Horses team on your future endeavors.


About the Author – Megan Sacia Ulrich earned her Bachelor’s in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin. She currently teaches high school English and enjoys showing in all around events.
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