Survivors: One Year after a Horrific Trailer Accident, Three Teams Achieve World Champion Titles
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136 – November/December, 2019
By Delores Kuhlwein
The news spread like wildfire throughout the horse industry in 2018 when the truck and trailer of AQHA horse trainer, Nancy Renfro, were involved in a tragic accident on the way to the AQHA Youth World Show. The scene of the accident was a terrifying sight. The entire contents of the trailer, including the horses, were spread across the highway. Amazingly, all horses and humans escaped unscathed.
However, none of the kids, whose horses were involved in the accident, were able to attend the Youth World that year. For two, it was to be their first Youth World. But, three of those young riders persevered, and, in 2019, all three won World Championship titles at the AQHA Youth World Show. Cori Cansdale led Promotional Asset to win 14-18 Showmanship; Kyla Jackson rode Cadillac In Black to win Level 2 Horsemanship; and Alexa Brown rode Corporate Credit to win 13 & Under Trail. How each of these ladies achieved such success on the one-year anniversary of the accident is a story that needs to be told.
As a result of the accident, the perspective of these young riders changed forever. For one, their appreciation for their horses and their loved ones intensified.
Kyla Jackson of Vacaville, California, reveals that her relationship with her horse, Cadillac in Black, aka “Caddy,” has further evolved and she believes that they’re now a more well-rounded team. She says, “We’re especially close now. Caddy is a one-of-a-kind, sensitive, and caring horse, and he’s handled everything well. He tries very hard for each thing I ask him to do.”
Following the accident, Kyla admits that she’s now much more appreciative of the lifestyle she’s allowed to lead with Caddy. “I kind of took things for granted before, to be honest. Now, I’m always happy to make my horse and myself better every time. If I do well in the placings, that’s just a great add-on. I’m just happy to be showing and have a great trainer. I’m so thankful for Nancy.”
Alexa Brown of Escondido, California, also appreciates every second she gets to spend with her horse, Corporate Credit, aka “Dusty.” She recalls, “After the accident, I realized that tomorrow is never guaranteed. Everyone in that accident survived only by the grace of God. I also deeply appreciate all the time, money, and effort my parents put into this amazing sport.”
Likewise, Cori Cansdale of Laguna Beach, California, explains that her perspective has changed both inside and outside of the horse show world. “It really made me appreciate, not only every safe trailer ride I took for granted in the past, but also every daily ride in a car that went by without a hitch.” She adds that while she was disappointed not to be able to show at the Youth World after prepping for it all year, it’s important to remember that there is always another horse show. “The fact that my trainer, her kids, and our horses were safe was, and always will be, the most important thing to me,” she says.