By: Brittany Bevis
Two lovely Hunter riders scored wins in Hunter Under Saddle here at the AQHA Youth World. Alexia Tordoff was the first to trot in and the last to trot out in 14-18 Hunter Under Saddle with Too Blazin Cool, aka “Willie.”
This big, bay gelding has plenty of previous wins in this class with Alexia’s big sister, Olivia, who now competes in the amateur division. Alexia has a prior World title in this class in the 13 and under division, but this is her first earned with Willie.
“He was super good trotting in,” she says. “Sometimes, he gets a little wigged out waiting in the chute, so I was excited to be the first to trot down, so I can get the profile that I wanted.”
“I think the part of this horse that’s super cool is the way he profiles and sticks his nose out. It’s something we always strive for. He’s always been really good at profiling.”
Alexia showed Willie last year at the Youth World, but hasn’t competed with him much this summer, because she’s been busy riding her Reining horses. In fact, she will compete in Reining here at the show aboard Smart Spook Affair. She will also show Lookin Lazy in Horsemanship.
During her young career as an equestrian, Alexia has learned how to adapt to riding different horses in different disciplines, a skill she credits in large part to her trainer, Brent Tincher’s, guidance.
“Luckily, a lot of Brent’s riding has taught me to adapt riding a lot of different horses. I think riding my sister’s horse, and going back to riding mine, and then riding Reining horses, has taught me a lot about how to change as a rider to adapt to a horse.”
In the 14-18 Level 1 Hunter Under Saddle, 18-year-old Abigail Cole rode Gona Getcha Good to win her first title during her first trip to the Youth World. She and “Maxwell” have been a team for one year, and they compete under the guidance of Connor and Beth Crook.
“[We talked about having] quiet hands, not getting buried, staying more to the inside, and being aware of my surroundings,” she says.
Abigail feels that Maxwell’s strength in Hunter Under Saddle comes from his size and ring presence. “I think he has a really pretty, arena presence. He turns it on when he goes in there.”
“This is our first trip to the AQHA Youth World and our last together. It’s really exciting, and I’m grateful.”
Abigail and Maxwell also placed fourth in L2 and L3 Hunter Under Saddle.