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The Best Kind of Surprise

Filed under: Breaking News,Featured,The Buzz |     

Every horse girl dreams of a surprise pony under the tree – but for Emme Grace Graves, what her mom and her trainers had up their sleeves this April simply took the cake.

By Delores Kuhlwein

When Emme Grace arrived home from school one day in early April, her mom brought up a topic of conversation –she said there was a horse she wanted Emme to try out.

“I asked whose it was, and she hinted that the owner was Giorgia Medows,” explains Emme.  “I asked if it was Son Of A Sudden, and she said ‘yes’!”

His name needs no introduction – the 2015 blue roan gelding by RL Best Of Sudden and out of Ms Flashy Goodbar took Giorgia Medows to the top more than once in Horsemanship at the World Show – both as a youth and as an amateur, in addition to other numerous accolades.  He also earned titles with Jamie Radebaugh like NSBA All-Around Amateur, NSBA World Champion Amateur Horsemanship, NSBA World Champion Amateur Equitation, and Bronze Trophy winner in Amateur Showmanship.

So Emme went straight to the barn to ride “Dez”, and it only took her about 15 minutes to draw a conclusion, she explains. “We did a little bit of horsemanship and trail, and did showmanship really quickly, and I knew it would be a good fit and it would work out. He was fairly easy to get to know, so I felt confident to bring him here. He’s a very good horse and he listens well, and he’s pretty similar button-wise to my old horse, Ziggy, but he’s more finished in the horsemanship, which is what we were looking for.”

Where they are competing for the first time is the 2024 Orange Blossom Classic, quite a challenge for a new team that has only been together about a week.

It turns out, however, that Emme’s instincts, as well as those of her mom and trainers Jesse Jones and Arturo Maestas, were correct.  In their 14-18 Showmanship, Emme explains, they earned two thirds, a fifth, and a sixth, “which was very shocking for the first time, since has not done showmanship in four years,” she says.

She finished off her first day with him in Horsemanship, with a second overall in L1 Youth Horsemanship, and a third overall in L2 Youth 14-18 horsemanship!

Always gracious, Emme’s answer, when asked what else she wanted to add about Son Of A Sudden, was this: “I’m very thankful for the opportunity and for Giorgia and her family for selling him to us.


Congratulations, Emme Grace! We are so thrilled for you and look forward to seeing more of your teamwork together.


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