By: Brittany Bevis
Hunter Under Saddle classes have just wrapped up here at the 2018 APHA Youth World Championship Show, and we have a few winners to congratulate.
First, Catherine Goffard rode Gallant Zippo to win Novice Youth 14-18 Hunter Under Saddle. The Reserve Champion was Olivia Long with All Ways A Diva. Third was Sydney Depauw with All Day Every Day. Fourth was Edie Hatcher with Livin Big. Fifth was Avery Rees with Platinum Cowgirl.
Next, Lauren Hall rode Alotta Vested Pine to win Novice Youth 13 and Under Hunter Under Saddle. The Reserve Champion was Ady Kallay with Gotta Be Sensational. Third was Kayla Martin with Wicked Roses. Fourth was Avery Mortman with Hes Just A Touch More. Fifth was Kendal Fellegy with One Graceful Krymsun.
Avery Mortman came back from her fourth place finish in Novice Youth 13 and Under to win 13 and Under Hunter Under Saddle and her first APHA Youth World Championship title with Hes Just A Touch More, aka “Gummy.” The Reserve Champion was Lauren Hall with Alotta Vested Pine. Third was Ady Kallay with Gotta Be Sensational. Kayla Martin and Wicked Roses were fourth. Fifth was Kendal Fellegy with One Graceful Krymsun.
Avery and her 5-year-old gelding, “Gummy,” competed at their first show together in January of this year and have trained under the guidance of Tim and Shannon Gillespie for one year now. Avery does have previous Pinto World titles and rode BMQ The Jig Is Up to win 13 and under Hunter Under Saddle at the All American Quarter Horse Congress last year, but winning an APHA Youth World title is something she’s always dreamed about. Making the win every more special is the fact that two of her barn mates, Georgia Vernal and Erin Griffin, were in the arena to present awards.
“I thought I had a better ride than I did in the Novice Youth class, but I still wasn’t sure if I was too fast in my lopes,” she says. “But, when I came back to the rail, everyone said I did much better, so that gave me confidence. But, then, I was kind of nervous when the first judge gave me a fifth.”
A few first place calls under the other judges did much to calm Avery’s nerves, but she was truly surprised when she was named the World Champion. Of all the classes she competes in with Gummy, Hunter Under Saddle is her favorite. Later on in the show, she will compete in Showmanship, Performance Geldings, and Western Pleasure.
“I like Hunter Under Saddle, because it’s more upbeat and faster. I feel like you have more control. I think the judges really give him brownie points for his lopes, and his trot is getting so floaty. I love it. He’s becoming a true all-around horse.”
Gummy is double registered and Avery has qualified to attend her first AQHA Youth World in August to compete in Showmanship, Hunter Under Saddle, Equitation, and Halter.
In the next class, Avery’s friend and barn mate, Caroline Nielson, won her first World title as a team with BMQ The Jig Is Up in 18 and Under Hunter Under Saddle. This horse is a familiar face in the winners’ circle, having won Youth Hunter Under Saddle the past three years in a row with Caroline’s sister, in addition to many other Championship accolades with other young equestrians over the years.
The Reserve Champion was Rebecca Figueroa with Check Required. Third was Amanda Nelson with Especially Fancy. Fourth was Lucy Lewis with I’m Axle Rose. Fifth was Lauren Gralla with A Sudden Legacy.
Caroline just turned 17 in March, so she and “Ziggy” have two more years before she ages out of youth competition. “He’s been in the barn since he was three, and our family has had him for three years now. I just started showing him this year,” Caroline says. “My preliminaries were a bit inconsistent and a little shaky, so I made some adjustments before the finals. I kept him more engaged, I rode a little harder, and I showed a little more.”
Fans of Ziggy might be familiar with his immense size (17.2 hands) and graceful moves in the show pen, but they probably don’t know about his playful personality behind the scenes. “We call him, ‘Clifford the Big Red Dog.’ He will eat anything, and he likes to walk on top of you.”
Those watching in the stands wouldn’t have been able to tell from her solid performance in the show pen, but Caroline has been battling severe illness for the past week. After a stay in the emergency room, due to a fever and fluctuating liver levels, Caroline wasn’t sure if her doctors would even release her to attend the show. They were worried about meningitis, ordered a battery of blood tests, and even discussed the possibility of a spinal tap.
“Before I went in, Shannon said, ‘If you have to throw up, try to do it off the side discreetly and keep your rhythm!'” Caroline laughs as she scratches the residue on her arm from the bandage that held her IV.
Alysia Nielson tells us that her sister’s doctor called just as Caroline was heading into the finals to let her know that blood tests revealed that she has Mononucleosis. But, Caroline is like most die-hard equestrians and nothing will keep her from competing at the World Show this year. However, her trainers did draw the line at competing in Equitation later tonight. They insist she needs to rest and sleep if she’s planning to show later this week with Ziggy in Western Riding and Western events with her other horse, The Only Kiss To Envy.
Stay tuned to EquineChronicle.com to find out who takes home big wins in Equitation this evening.