Nowadays, plenty of exhibitors with huge work ethics and equally lofty dreams are proving that you can do-it-yourself–without a trainer–whether they are winning the Congress, setting records at the Breeders Halter Futurity, or becoming the #1 APHA Amateur Exhibitor in the nation.
The golden dream can belong to anyone who wants to work hard enough to grasp it, so read on to learn what philosophies and strategies today’s winning DIY exhibitors have utilized to take them to the top.
Patricia Breitberg of Cary, Illinois
APHA/BHF Halter Exhibitor
Notable Horses: DLA Intentional, RPL Miss Bobbie Doll, and Bobbies Imprinted Doll
Recent Accomplishments: Patricia led her weanling filly, DLA Intentional, to win three golden globes in Open Junior Weanling Fillies, Amateur Junior Weanling Fillies, and the DIY class at the 2019 Breeders Halter Futurity. Patricia and her husband, Dave, owners of Bright Paints Show Horses, have won Owner/Breeder/Exhibitor awards at the BHF four times, but this particular feat of winning each division hadn’t been accomplished by anyone before.
In addition, in 2002 their mare, RPL Miss Bobbie Doll, was the #1 Honor Roll Mare in APHA competition. “Since then, we have won nine World and Reserve World Championships in APHA,” Patricia says.
Horsey Beginnings: As a farmer’s daughter, Patricia always had horses in her life, especially when showing at 4-H and open shows. With her husband, Dave, they started showing their Halter horses at open shows, then at state level futurities, and then at APHA events. She explains that once she purchased RPL Miss Bobbie Doll from Michael Ochetto, it opened up more opportunities for success in the ring.
Education: Patricia and Dave breed, train, fit, and show their own horses, so when it comes to educating themselves, they listen and they observe what professionals are doing, whether it has to do with feeding, training, or exercising. “When in doubt, ask,” Patricia says. “You will be quite surprised what a professional can tell you if you just ask and listen.”
Strategy for Success: When asked how they have accomplished it all, Patricia reveals their approach of good old-fashioned focus and dedication. “Our routine is very strict. I get up at 5 AM to keep everyone on a schedule. There’s no time off when we’re getting ready for a show. It’s all about routine, because there are always things to do, even if it’s the horses’ day off.”
Support Team: Patricia also adds that it’s extremely important to have mentors. Those who have influenced her include Michael Ochetto, who has become a dear friend; Clint Fullerton, who has been helpful with breeding advice; and Dewey and Tammy Smith, who have always been there for advice or guidance. Above all, Patricia and Dave are the daily working team who support each other 110 percent.
Advice to other DIY-ers: “If you put in the time and the hard work, you can do it,” Patricia says. “You’ll have trials and errors, but you can do it if you look at your horse daily and evaluate their legs, weight, and more. I’m not saying it’s easy, because it’s not, but if you don’t throw in the towel, you can do it.”
She also says to come with a positive attitude of enjoying the show, not just a need to win. “Sometimes, I think people defeat themselves before they ever go into the show pen,” Patricia explains. “They become too overwhelmed by others and their surroundings. If you’re a competitor, which you are or you probably wouldn’t be there, bring it with you. Show your confidence.”
Robert “Bob” Hicock of New York
AQHA Halter Exhibitor