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World Show First-Timers

Filed under: Current Articles,Editorial,Featured,Uncategorized |     

274 – August/September, 2013 (click to see complete digital article)

B­y Bailey Capri Smith

first time layout

“It is one of my favorite shows of the year, regardless if I’m showing or judging,” says American Quarter Horse Association judge Mark Sheridan. He will be judging this year’s AQHA World Championship Show taking place at the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds, November 8 to 23. “The best part of judging the show is having the best seat in the house, and having the opportunity to see, up close, the best horses in the world in every event.”

It’s world show season and to those of you who have qualified, a big congratulations. Some of you are veterans, but for others this will be your very first time in the coliseum. Sheridan takes time to talk about one of our anticipated shows and give a little advice.

Mark Sheridan

Mark Sheridan

The 55 year-old from Cave Creek, Arizona has been involved with horses since his 4-H days. Eventually, he was the proud owner of a roping horse by Poco Dell and out of a daughter of Kings Pistol, successfully showing him in the western riding, trail, equitation, and horsemanship. Sheridan now has a four-hour training video focused on lead changes. This November will mark his fifth time judging the AQHA World Show.

“I remember when Brian Kissinger, who was a 14 year-old boy, won the Senior Pleasure on Kings Bambi in 1984,” says Sheridan when asked if the world show pen is an even playing field for the experienced and beginners. “As judges, we don’t care who is a veteran or newbie, we just look for the best horses. However, the veterans are comfortable with the arena, the riding schedules at night, and they know what to expect every year. The veterans will be less nervous and that has much to do with showing. I do always find it refreshing to see an unknown or new person win it.”

To help calm those nerves and to feel a little more comfortable in that coliseum, Sheridan suggests going to a show at your respective world show location before the big day. This allows you to acclimate to the space and the size. He also says once the show arrives, “Make sure that you work your horse in the coliseum as much as possible, even if it is walking them around in the arena to the point that they are almost bored with the surroundings.” He goes on advising you keep yourself and your horse on the same feeding, riding, and sleeping schedule as you do at home.

“Most importantly,” he concludes, “have fun and enjoy meeting new and interesting people.”

Sheridan might even get to judge AQHA newcomer Alexandra Chavez of Paradise Valley, Arizona. She will be showing her 2007 gelding, The Best Sign Yet, in Amateur Western Pleasure at the AQHA World Show this November.

Alexandra Chavez

Alexandra Chavez

Thirty year-old Chavez wasn’t originally the horse-crazy one in the family. Her sister took that role when she became a professional barrel racer. “I would watch her show and we had a bunch of horses, but I never really rode,” she says. “About three of four years ago, I decided that I was gonna try and show.”

After a few years of dabbling, Chavez tried out The Best Sign Yet, by RL Best Of Sudden and out of Vital Signs Are Hot, at the 2012 Quarter Horse Congress. “Basically, Katie Green was like, this is the one.” She trusted her trainer, had the horse vet checked, and bought him just after the Congress. “He’s been nothing but amazing ever since, he’s a trooper. He knows his job.”

 Eric & Alexandra Chavez and family

Eric & Alexandra Chavez and family

When asked what her goals are for this year’s world show, “Who wouldn’t want to win a World Championship?” she laughs. “That would be ideal. It’s what I’ve worked for all year. That’s what you want and what you strive for, but ultimately if that doesn’t happen, I think that just improving my skill and going into a world class, show and experiencing that is what matters.”

There’s a lot of pressure, and most competitors would be affected by such a big stage, but Chavez says nerves aren’t normally a factor for her, admitting she even likes the stress. “My first show that I went to three years ago was the Congress, and I thought that every show was gonna be like that!” She says normally she’s so relaxed that she even talks to people outside of the arena while she’s showing. “I feel like I know him really well and Katie and Rusty do a great job preparing him and getting him ready. He’s so consistent and nothing has changed ever since I got him. Every ride is the same to me.”

Rocket recently received his AQHA Senior Western Pleasure Superior with trainer, Katie Green. At the Little Futurity in Raleigh, North Carolina this past June, Chavez and Rocket were crowned the winners of the Non-Pro 3 & Over $7,500 Limited Horse Western Pleasure Slot class.

Chavez has received a lot of advice since qualifying, but her favorite by far is, “Just go out and enjoy it because it happens so fast.” She will share that moment with her husband, professional baseball player for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Eric Chavez, and her three children, Diego, Cruz, and Dolce.

Rocket will also appear in Senior Western Pleasure at this year’s world show. Chavez owns another horse, Beautiful Maiden, who will be shown in the Junior Hunter Under Saddle by Stacy Huls.

Becky Bailey is another who will be showing at her respective World Show for the very first time. She’s headed to Amarillo, Texas for the AQHA Select World Show, August 23 to 31. “I qualified for Select Western Pleasure in the past, but didn’t go. One reason was that it is separate from the other World Shows. I have paid trainers to go to the Open, Amateur, and Youth World Shows, but never felt I could justify the expense for taking myself,” explains Bailey. “I was very intimidated to show there against all the great horses and riders. This year, I know I have a horse that is very capable and a trainer that has focused on getting her and me showing at a high level. I feel prepared and very excited this year. And since I rode my horse at home most of the year, I feel I know her well.”

Bailey, 56, rode ponies as a child. Her family would go on weekly trail rides and during the summers it became a daily activity for the youngster. Once Bailey had her own family, she bought her daughter, Jess, a Quarter Horse named Sonnys Miss Razmitaz. Eventually, Bailey bought herself a show gelding, Excellence In Action, “I was very novice, but got the showing bug in a big way.” Then, one year at the Congress, Bailey went home with her forthcoming futurity horse, Krymsun Hot Invite. The 1998 mare was by Invitation Only and out of Krymsun Jet Set, a full sister to One Hot Krymsun.

This purchase sparked the Bailey family to start a breeding facility, with One Hot Krymsun, “Jet,” at the helm. In 1999, the family bought a soybean field in Batavia, Ohio and turned it into Bailey Farm. “We felt that a farm and rural environment was a better place to raise our children than the city,” she says of the decision to start a farm. “I’m a big believer in living your dreams now rather than putting them off until you’re too old to enjoy the dream.”

Becky Bailey & Ona Hot Summer Night

Becky Bailey & Ona Hot Summer Night

In 2009, Bailey was introduced to her future world show horse, Ona Hot Summer Night. The mare was bred at Bailey Farm and is by One Hot Krymsun and out of Ona Impulse. “Gigi” is a full sister to Livin Ona Prayer, Congress Coughlin 2 Year-Old Reserve Champion, Ona Klear Day, and their Equine Chronicle Masters Horse this year, Bettin Ona Krymsun. “Gigi, like her sire and dam, is a true show horse. She’s kind and listens and tries to please her rider at all times. She has a huge heart.”

Gigi almost went to someone else after Bailey’s battle with breast cancer. “After going through cancer treatments and various surgeries, I had about given up on showing anymore. I was feeling like I would never be able to get together with a horse. I would have sold her and wouldn’t be showing her at all had it not been for the encouragement of professional horseman Brad Pitts.” Pitts convinced her to come up with a plan to show at the Select World. Bailey and Gigi have qualified in the Select Western Pleasure and Performance Halter Mares.

“My main goal is to have fun, always; but, of course, I also want to win,” she chuckles. “I learned a long time ago to never set my goals too low. If I had set a goal to be in the Top Ten, I would always end up 10th. So I never enter a competition to lose, but truthfully, I’m very excited to just be qualified and to be showing at the Select World.” She adds, “One of my best friends, Linda Swenson, won the first Western Pleasure Select World Championship. I went and watched her win. Since then I’ve hoped to be able to go and show there.”

Bailey admits to being a little superstitious when it comes to showing, “Many of the Krymsuns that have won the big events have had a four-leaf clover under their pads. Sometimes, no one even knew about it,” she smiles. She plans to slip one under her pad before entering the coliseum. Bailey also likes to carry her lucky pocketknife, but she’s still figuring out a good place to slip that into her outfit.

As for her nerves for the big day, she says she does get a little nervous showing sometimes, but feels prepared and knows she has a good horse. She keeps reminding herself that it’s just another horse show, some good advice she’s received since qualifying.

Good luck to all the competitors who will be exhibiting at their respective world shows, and a special congratulations to those of you who are first-timers. Enjoy the ride!

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