By: Brittany Bevis
Many journey to the Congress each year with hopes of delivering a performance worthy of a coveted Congress bronze, belt buckle, or winner’s jacket. Only a precious few will be recognized in the winner’s circle in front of a cheering crowd, but there are countless others who will have achieved the goals they set for themselves and will celebrate in another way.
14-year-old Jenna Hornick of Shaws Performance Horses in Huntersville, NC, made her first trip to the Congress this year, and she wanted to take home something special. But she didn’t head to the trade show to pick up a commemorative cap or a piece of Congress memorabilia. Instead, she went down to the arena with an empty Gatorade bottle in hand and filled it up, with dirt.
Lindsay Shaw of Shaws Performance Horses explains that her husband, Kevin Shaw, has been training horses for 25 years. Showing in NSBA, AQHA, and NRHA, Kevin’s main focus is on Western Pleasure, Ranch Riding, and Reining.
“We have a wonderful group of clients that support our love for the sport,” Lindsay says. “Our first trip to the Congress this year was for the Reining classes. We will go back to the Congress for the Amateur Select Western Pleasure and NYATT Reining.”
“We took two of our fantastic youth kids, Emerson Madonia and Jenna Hornick, to the Congress for the 14-18 Reining classes. Emerson had a great ride to finish third in the Level 1 Youth Reining with her horse, Electric Performance. Jenna Hornick finished just out of the medals with a 16th in AQHA 14-18 Youth Reining.”
Jenna has been riding with the Shaw family for the past five years. She competes with her horse, BB Hollywood Socks, aka “Dallas,” and has done so for the past two years. At the Congress, this team competed in Level 1 Youth Reining, NRHA 14-18 Youth Reining, and AQHA 14-18 Youth Reining.
“This year was Jenna’s first trip to the Congress, and she was very nervous, but very excited!” Lindsay says. “She was very anxious about having to show against competitors with much more experience in the pen than she has. During the first night in the Reiner warm-up, that was an experience in and of itself! After getting the jitters out with her first trip in the show pen, and with a lot of support from her trainer and her barn family, she and Dallas had an awesome run in the NRHA 14-18 Reining.”
However, Jenna and Dallas finished just one place out of the Top 15, which ensured that she wouldn’t be going home with a medal to commemorate her accomplishment. But Jenna had other plans.
“In true Jenna fashion, her positive attitude and big heart brought us the story of the bottle of dirt. She just wanted something special to take home- a small token of her time in Ohio. She got some strange looks as she filled that empty bottle, but what an impact it has had on so many!”
“We all know this can be a very stressful show, for everyone involved: competitors, trainers, and parents… It’s a big deal. But, if that doesn’t put the love for this sport into perspective, I don’t know what does. Many forget that it’s not all about the trophies. I hope that if you’re reading this, it makes you stop and think for a second how blessed we are with the opportunity to show horses, despite the outcome.”
If you have a special story that deserves to be told, email B.Bevis@EquineChronicle.com and you might see it right here on www.EquineChronicle.com.