Before March of this year, 16-year-old Leah Anderson hadn’t shown outside of her home state of Washington. Up until November of last year, her 9-year-old gelding, named Gun Powder N Smoke, wasn’t even in training. His journey to the AQHA Youth World took a very different path than most. Leah explains.
“About a year and a half ago, I was riding my sister’s old horse. Scotty was at the University of Georgia, where my sister, Payton, rode. He was having some soundness issues, and they couldn’t give him the adequate amount of time off for the program, so they were giving him away. My sister told us about this really cool horse. So, we paid the $20 donation fee and had him sent up to us, and we gave him eight and a half months off. Then, we put him in training with Mike and May Edwards.”
Prior to 2018, Scotty had never been shown in Horsemanship or Western Riding, and he had less than ten AQHA points. But Leah wasn’t concerned about her new mount. She could see he had potential. “It’s been really fun. Instead of buying a finished horse, we’ve been able to build one.”
Although Leah was confident in Scotty’s abilities, being a first-time competitor at the Youth World had her feeling some nerves. “I’ve only shown in Washington state until this March, so I didn’t really know what to expect. There was a lot of competition. It was kind of scary to watch all the replays of other riders doing their patterns so well.”
“We had a really good walk, back, and turn that was really authoritative. Then, we picked up our left lead and extended well. Then, he came down nicely for the lead change and had a great extended trot to stop, so I think that made us stand out.”
Here at the show, Leah and Scotty competed in Western Riding, Horsemanship, and Hunt Seat Equitation. This morning, they showed in the 14-18 Western Pleasure finals and placed eighth. Then, it was over to the Horsemanship pen to compete against 161 other horse and rider teams. After being named the L2 Champion, she had to turn right around and go back into the first cut of the L2 Western Pleasure. She ended up placing third.
“I didn’t know what split I was in for Western Pleasure until right before I went into Horsemanship, and then we didn’t have enough time to move me. It was hard to come out last and go back in first. Because we did well in the L3 finals, I was expecting that we’d make the L2 finals, but getting a trophy is pretty cool.”
Following the Youth World, Leah and Scotty will head to Tulsa for the NSBA World Show. They’ve never been to the Quarter Horse Congress, but consider it a goal for the future. Leah also has some goals here at the Youth World. “I’d like a trophy in Horsemanship. It’s one of my end goals. Scotty has a lot of potential, and he’s still really green at it; so, I think if we keep building, we will get there. I like the concept of Horsemanship, because each element determines the best set of horses and riders together.”
The Reserve Champion was Lily Anderson with Hez A Crowd Pleaser. Third was Tierney Horton with Sudden Top Notch. Fourth was Jo Jo Roberson with Greedy Ghost. Fifth was Reed Kolb with One Dynamic Krymsun.
Sixth was Bella Rosa with One Dynamic Krymsun. Seventh was Madison Musser with Good Ridin Machine. Eighth was Elizabeth Wright with Huntin Potential. Ninth was Allison Travis with Cool Lopin Lady. Tenth was Gentry Shandley with VS Costar.