This evening’s Horsemanship finals provided some interesting challenges for competitors, but Olivia Tordoff was able to rise above and be named the World Champion with her 21-year-old gelding, Sterling Version. Halfway into the pattern of Olivia’s fellow competitor, Nya Kearns, a transformer blew outside of the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds resulting in an immediate loss of power to all arenas. Nya was a trooper and continued her pattern without incident. She was offered a re-ride, but politely declined.
Olivia and Sterling were the next team to go and were waiting in the chute when the lights went out. Unfortunately, Sterling has a fear of the dark, so even when the generator powered on the arena lights, the surrounding area was still dimly lit. Spectators in the stands may have heard Sterling softly whinnying throughout the pattern, but Olivia remained as calm and composed as ever.
“I’m not going to lie; I was a little confused as to what was going on. I was a little nervous being the first one to go back in after the whole power outage. But, I felt that besides Sterling’s whole nickering, I was really happy with how it went.”
“I don’t really know why he was nickering. He’s never done that in the nine years that I’ve owned him. But when I came out, we said he was probably just talking to my grandmother, who passed away a couple of weeks ago. Her name was Priscilla. Watching my sister and I show horses was so important to her. She loved watching Sterling and I. She just wanted this to be a good experience for us.”
Olivia’s sister, 13-year-old Alexia, just happened to be in the working order immediately after her big sis, so trainer, Brent Tincher, was pulling double duty trying to make sure both of his riders were prepared. “It was fun, but it was a little stressful because Brent was having to run from one person to the other. I wanted this to be just as good of an experience for her, because this is her first World Show. As much as it may not seem like it, I enjoy every minute of showing with her, and she’s my biggest fan and team player.” As it ended up, both Tordoff sisters were champions, because Alexia was the highest placing 13 and under rider in the class!
Before the finals this evening, Brent and Olivia sat down and made a plan that they hoped would set her apart from the crowd. “One thing that we felt like was going to be really important to differentiate us was that we used the same line in the pattern. When you go from the extended trot to the lope and then you have your circles and your break to the walk, they all had to be in the same line to lay the pattern out smoothly. We also talked about making the corners really sharp and trying to shape our circles as best as possible, as well.”
Like all competitors here at the Youth World, Olivia was hopeful she would be able to ride to the best of her ability and give her horse the best shot at success. But she felt this pressure more acutely than most because this was Sterling’s final Youth World appearance, and possibly his last horse show ever. Only time will tell if Sterling will compete at the Congress this fall, or if this was his last hurrah.
Olivia will be showing her other horse, Too Blazing Cool, in Hunter Under Saddle tomorrow. They were the Reserve Champions last year, so Olivia is looking to equal and improve upon that performance. “I’m really excited to see how it goes. We’ve done a lot of work on him this year to dial it up and see how far we can go.”
Looking towards the future, Olivia is excited about her new horse, who also happens to be a large gray with a flowing forelock, just like Sterling. “Her name is Lookin Lazy, but we call her Mariah. I’m excited to see what the future holds with her.”
The Reserve Champion in the class was Mallory Vroegh with Krymsun Belle. Third was Alex Albright with Best Gift Yet. Fourth was Klay Mcdowall with Certainly A Blaze. Fifth was Cori Cansdale with Promotional Asset. Sixth was Natalia DeVencenty with Chex Is The Choice. Seventh was Nya Kearns with Earn An Invitation. Eighth was Ellexxah Maxwell with Zips Bossy Chip. Ninth was Taylor Searles with Al Be Sweet On You. Tenth was Deanna Green with Blazinmytroublesaway.