Youth in Action: Suburbs to Farmville

AQHYA Director Mary Huddleston shows fellow director Lindsay Brush the challenges involved with growing up on a dairy farm and cattle ranch.

By Mary Huddleston, AQHYA Region Five director
The American Quarter Horse Journal
February 3, 2014

Mary Huddleston and Lindsay Brush

Lindsay Brush booked her flight to visit Mary Huddleston in Farmville, Virginia, December 31 - January 6. (Photos courtesy of Mary Huddleston) BELOW: Meet Mary Huddleston, an AQHYA director who overcame and has gotten back on her horse.

Editor’s Note: The American Quarter Horse Journal featured Mary Huddleston in its coverage of the 2013 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show. Learn more about the 18-year-old cancer survivor in this article.

I first met AQHYA Region Four Director Lindsay Brush not even six months ago at the 2013 Ford Youth World. Robin Alden, manager of youth and AQHYA, and six other AQHYA regional directors all stayed with each other for two weeks to help run the Ford Youth World. That was the beginning of what I see as a lifelong friendship.

With Lindsay living in Columbus, Ohio, and me living in a small, country town called Farmville, located in the middle of Virginia, we don’t get to see each other as often as we would like. In Oklahoma City at the Ford Youth World, we both promised to visit each other. So Lindsay booked her flight to visit Farmville December 31 - January 6. As you can imagine, we were bursting at the seams from excitement during the weeks leading up to our week together!

Our first night was spent at a redneck New Year’s Eve party with some of my friends. Country music was blaring and southern accents filled the air, and I’m sure it was a bit of a culture shock to Lindsay, who has grown up in an urban area. The next few nights, we would leave at 2 a.m. to go predator hunting on my family’s cattle farm. Lindsay learned how we call in the predators with a call and how to use animal carcasses as bait. We weren’t able to shoot any coyotes, but we did see five in one night! 

As AQHA girls do, we rode my retired show horses around the farm and worked cattle with them. Ours is a working cattle ranch, so we also had to move a herd of cows into a barn to vaccinate them. Lindsay went on to vaccinate 40 cows and calves that day! Other activities we did during our week together include visiting historical Civil War sites in the area, biking on an old railroad trail to the 125-feet-high and 2,422-feet-long High Bridge over the Appomattox River, as well as shopping along Main Street in my little hometown of Farmville. 

Our final night was spent on the farm around a bonfire with friends. Having Lindsay at my house for that week made it the best Christmas break I have ever had. Our goodbye at the airport located two hours from Farmville was spent reminiscing over our crazy week. As we hugged goodbye at Richmond International Airport, the only thing that kept me from crying was the fact that I would be spending a week with her in her hometown of Columbus this summer. So thank you, Lindsay Brush, for coming to Farmville and being the best friend a person could ever ask for! And thank you, AQHA, for allowing me to meet such a funny and kind-hearted person. 

Because opportunities abound for horse-interested kids, the new AQHYA blog, Youth in Action, captures those adventures. Learn more about the endless prospects for young horsemen through AQHYA at www.aqha.com/youth-in-action.