By: Brittany Bevis
Gillespie Show Horses barn mates, Carson Click and Kaitlyn Smith, have more in common than simply being from the same training barn. They are both first time attendees at the APHA Youth World Show. They also split the top two spots today in Novice Youth 14-18 Horsemanship. Carson rode Im First N Line to win, and Kaitlyn was Reserve with Seems Like Heaven.
18-year-old Carson is in his last year of showing youth, and he has a new partner for the journey in the double registered gelding, Im First N Line. Their first show was at the Silver Dollar Circuit a few months ago.
“He’s always been one of my favorite horses. Susan’s [Juroe] business was taking off, so she didn’t get to go to the shows much with him, so the stars aligned and everything fell into place. I love the fact that he’s so versatile, and you can show him in pretty much every class and be successful.”
Just recently, Carson competed at the AQHA L1 Championships and was named the Reserve All Around Youth. Coming up next at the show, he will compete in Novice Youth 14-18 Western Pleasure, before heading off to the NSBA World Show and Quarter Horse Congress in the fall.
In today’s pattern, Carson feels his horse’s excellent lead change helped to set him apart. “I really liked my lead change. He’s super fun to show, and he steers really easily, so he makes me look good. I can go out there, and I can trust him to do his job. The biggest thing I have to remember is not to look down. I think about keeping my head up and looking forward. If I do that, then it pretty much squares up my whole body.”
Kaitlyn has been a team with “Eddie” since the end of April. She has two Quarter Horses and one double-registered horse, but Eddie is her first, colorful, “requires-a lot-of-washing” Paint Horse.
Just like Carson, Kaitlyn says her favorite part of today’s pattern was the lead change. “I really liked my lead change in the line across the middle, and I liked my extended jog. He was in a very good mood, and his head was good the whole time. It was a really fun ride.”
Coming up next, Kaitlyn and Eddie will show in 18 and Under Horsemanship and Western Pleasure. Then, she’s off to the AQHA Youth World in a month to compete in Trail, Horsemanship, and Performance Halter Geldings with Ona Kruize; Performance Halter Mares and Hunter Under Saddle with Always Decked Out; and Western Pleasure with Southern Comfort Zone, while Eddie takes a break at home.
With so many kids and competitive horses in the GSH barn, we wondered what the atmosphere is like behind the scenes. “We’re kind of all like a family,” Carson says. “We’re all best friends, and we get along so good with each other. That’s the biggest thing that’s so rare to find, because we all support each other and we all want each other to do well, so the atmosphere is always fun. There’s no drama.”
“It’s very lighthearted, and we make fun of each other a lot. That’s how we joke around,” Kaitlyn says.