Gracie Himes is the second Himes lady to win a World Championship title here at the 2018 AQHA Youth World Show. On Monday, we had the opportunity to chat with Gracie’s younger sister, Issie, when she was named the World Champion in 13 and Under Horsemanship. Today, it was big sister’s turn in the spotlight.
Gracie led her gelding, Essentially Good, aka “Rico,” to win a tough 14-18 Showmanship class. When Gracie first looked at the complex pattern with its backing corner, small extended trot circle, multiples turns, and transitions, she knew there were a number of maneuvers she could utilize to highlight Rico’s special skill set.
“Rico is an awesome backer, naturally. I think it’s like he’s doing the moonwalk! He stays so up in his shoulders and backs right up for me. He steers really nice, so I was really excited when I saw the square corners and the long back, because I feel like those are two spots that we can really show off.”
“He has a beautiful headset; so, for that first trot line, we wanted that to be really straight and to have a solid stop to get their attention right from the get go. We wanted to really focus on the accuracy of the back after I finished the corner. Then, I accelerated a bit. We had a nice big walk and a turn. Then, I wanted a nice, trot extension in the circle to a soft, slow down. I watch everyone do it and thought it was a pretty maneuver.”
Showmanship is definitely one of Gracie’s favorite classes. “I feel like it’s a class that I’ve always clicked in. It’s come natural to me, and I’ve tried to build off that. With all my horses, I feel like I have a natural ability to get them through, and my trainers are great at it too, so that helps.”
Gracie does admit that Rico can be a bit on the ornery side, always touching her jacket and chewing on his lead shank. But it’s often the horses that have busy minds that excel in challenging classes like Showmanship.
“He’s always looking for my next move. He’s usually really good about not anticipating. He’s always waiting for me. Then, the minute I give him the signal, he goes and does it for me. I feel like he and I have a pretty good connection in really all the classes we do, but its Showmanship especially.”
Earlier in the show, Gracie and Rico made it back to the Horsemanship Finals. Next, they will compete in the Equitation Finals. She will head off to the Congress in the fall. Although she’s 17, Gracie is one of those competitors with a lucky birthday, so she still has two years left of youth competition. Afterwards, she has already verbally committed to attend the University of Georgia.
The Reserve Champion in today’s class was Alex Albright with Best Gift Yet. Both ladies compete under the guidance of Chris and Melissa Jones. “Alex has been a role model to me, for sure. When I first started training in the barn, she came and took me under her wing. She has been there to calm me down. She is a great friend.”
Third was Sydnee Gemar with More Than Radical. Fourth was Ellexxah Maxwell with Zips Bossy Chip. Fifth was Jo Jo Roberson with Greedy Ghost. Sixth was Kathryn Bunting with A New Dimension. Seventh was Matthew Siefker with Grace Zipsintherein. Eighth was Mackenzie Doescher with Figure On Fancy. Ninth was Madison Musser with Good Ridin Machine. Tenth was Taylor Searles with Al Be Sweet On You.