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Headed to the 2024 AQHYA World Show with Gratefulness

Filed under: Current Articles,The Buzz |     

Brayden and “Jolene” by Ryan Geiger Photography

Brayden Stine discovered his passion for showing horses just a few years ago. Now, he’s headed to the AQHYA World Show armed with respect, gratitude, and two horses of his dreams.

“Respect is one of the greatest expressions of love.” – Don Miguel Ruiz.

By Delores Kuhlwein

Photo by Shane Rux Photography, courtesy of AQHA

At the 2024 AQHA East L1 Championship Show, when Youth Exhibitor Brayden Stine took off his hat to lope up to accept his Rookie Youth Western Pleasure Championship on Shez For Certain, it was a defining moment.

Not only was it a demonstration of his passion for showing horses, but Brayden says his trainer of two years taught him it was the right thing to do. “Jeff Geiger taught me to take off my hat to show gratitude and respect to the judges for recognizing my accomplishment,” he explains.

The duo also earned a Bronze Champion title in L1 Youth Western Pleasure at the show, and Brayden says “Jolene” is a very chill and relaxed horse they also call JoJo.  “Jolene enjoys her job very much and I’ve been able to connect with her very well both in and out of the arena.”

It wasn’t that long ago the self-professed football lover and Cleveland Browns fan wasn’t showing, however. His mom, Samantha, had owned horses since she was 14, but showing wasn’t in their sights until they tried the county fair, and then they met Jeff and Jodi Geiger. During that time, Brayden learned his favorite hobby, horses, could also become a passion. “I love the challenge of constantly improving,” he says. “There is never a perfect ride, and I love getting to push myself to continually get better.”

Brayden and his mom, Samantha, share Ranch Rider ATI Tequila Rose

On top of that challenge, Brayden and his mom share Ranch Rider ATI Tequila Rose, aka “Mia,” who Brayden rode to a Reserve in Rookie Youth Ranch Riding and a Top 5 in L1 Ranch Riding 13 & Under at the L1 AQHA East Show.  He says transitioning back and forth between the two riding styles gets easier with practice, and that “Mia is also just as chill as Jolene.”

Though JoJo stays with the Geigers and has truly excelled in their program, Mia lives with the Stines and Brayden rides her each day in addition to taking frequent lessons at the Geiger barn.  The Geiger’s guidance has been a big plus for Mia, too.  “Mia has come a very long way and is a super amazing horse,” he says. “She listens to me just the way that I want her to. In Ranch, you need to be able to down transition, stop, spin, rollback, extend, collect, change leads, and many more things, all of which Mia can do.”

Brayden’s mom, Samantha, who fostered his love for horses, won a Bronze Championship in Rookie Amateur Ranch Riding with Mia at the AQHA L1 East Show.

Samantha, who won a Bronze Championship in Rookie Amateur Ranch Riding with Mia at the AQHA L1 East Show, explains that Mia was a late bloomer and just recently has been experiencing success. “She didn’t come from a specific training program, and it has taken us some time to get her mind in a place where we can expect to get good rides out of her. This winter we worked really hard on getting her to relax, lower her poll, and enjoy her job. She’s a great mover and I think every time we get her in the ring, we get better with her.”

One of the recent highlights for the Stine family was showing at the 2023 All American Quarter Horse Congress, where Brayden and Jolene truly demonstrated what a great match they were, and Brayden welcomed the opportunity to compete at the highest level of competition.  He adds, “It was so exciting to get to take her in the Celeste. When I placed it was really cool that I saw so much progress early on showing her.”

In fact, both Brayden and his sister, Katie, were able to show Jolene there.  “It was super exciting to see both the kids in the show pen,” says Samantha. “Katie actually took Jolene into Small Fry Western pleasure, placing 11th out of over 80 kids. I’ve watched Congress for years as a kid and never had the opportunity to show, so it was a dream to watch the kids experience it. We decided to homeschool them this year and they truly got to see it firsthand.”

Jeff and Jodi Geiger enjoy watching the Stines show together and help each other, demonstrating a clear passion and love for horses. “Samantha and Jason are definitely proud parents, and incredibly supportive of Brayden’s and Katie’s hobby,” they reveal.

They’ve also helped Brayden reach his next goal, qualifying for the 2024 AQHYA World Championship Show.  “I am very grateful for the opportunity to show and learn with them,” says Brayden, and he’s thankful for his parents and family, especially for the love of the horse his mom fostered. “If it wasn’t for her, I don’t know how long it would’ve taken me to find my passion for showing horses.”

Good luck to Brayden, Jolene, and Mia at the 2024 AQHYA World Championship Show!

Photos and ad design: Ryan Geiger Photography – Backdrop photo: Shane Rux Photography


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