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Back in the Saddle – Returning to the Show Pen After a Long Absence

Filed under: Current Articles,Featured |     
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196 – July/August 2019


“I’m back in the saddle again. Out where a friend is a friend…”

The theme of Gene Autry’s song is simple. On your horse is where you’ll find your friends. More than 70 years later, the message still rings true.

Those who know this better than others are the amateurs who have returned to the all-around pen after a 20- or 30-year absence. Despite industry changes in style, specialization, and show clothing, these ladies are loving the experience of being back in the saddle again.


CURRENT RIDE: Dreamin Gold N Roses, aka “Chaps,” 5-year-old gelding
EVENTS: APHA and PtHA Amateur Walk-Trot events
TRAINER: Julie Harnish of Harnish Performance Horses
EARLY DAYS: Early 1980s- APHA Youth, IBHA in 1980s, and NCHA 1989-2010 as a Non-Pro
ABSENCE FROM THE SHOW PEN: 30+ years from the all-around with a return in 2018
ADVICE TO OTHERS CONTEMPLATING RETURNING TO THE SHOW PEN: “You will need courage. It takes a wheelbarrow full every time you pin on a number.”

Armed with a quick wit and creative eye, Joan has waited a long time to pour her talent back into her first love, the Paint Horse. Showing Paints as a youth in the ‘80s, she bounced around among disciplines with some success, but painted horses were always in her heart.

“Yes, there were points chased and money was won, but the real prize is the folks you meet that stay friends with you for decades,” she explains. “It’s also the horses that stamp your heart. For me, it’s TLS Angler, Swinging Lena, and Harlans Quickstep. I’m pretty sure my current mount will be on the same list.”

Click the link below to read more from Joan Ames, Page Bales, Suzanne Benson, Carol Clemens, Stacy Dial, Robin Gorman, and Meredith Landy.

Click here to read the complete article
196 – July/August 2019
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