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Youth in Action: Friendships Last Forever

A trip to the emergency room during the Ford Youth World taught AQHYA Secretary Lizzy Koons that while trophies collect dust and tarnish, friendships do not.

By Lizzy Koons, AQHYA secretary
The American Quarter Horse Journal
October 22, 2013

AQHYA Region 5 Director Lizzy Koons

Lizzy Koons of Fairfield, Pennsylvania, has enjoyed the leadership opportunities AQHYA offers and has served as a regional director and national secretary. Lizzy is a horse-show competitor, and she even blogged for the Journal at the 2012 Ford Youth World.

Everyone always says friends come and go, but they’ve obviously never met the friends I have made through AQHYA

For the past three years, I have been an active member of the American Quarter Horse Youth Association. I had the opportunity to represent AQHYA this past August at the Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show for the second year as a regional director and the first year as the national secretary

Though I had a great time, as I do anytime I go to anything AQHA-related, this trip did not go exactly as planned. 

After participating in the Parade of Teams, the last place I planned to be was the emergency room, but due to some abdominal pain, that is where I ended up. Like any normal teenager would be, I was a little nervous going into the hospital while my parents where thousands of miles away, home in Pennsylvania. It was just then that I realized that I am not just a part of an Association, but a family.

To no surprise, my AQHA family was by my side the entire time I was in the ER, some literally and some in spirit. The amazing AQHA manager of youth, Robin Alden, definitely proved her title as “travel mom” by sitting by my side in the ER from 9 p.m. on Sunday night until 6 a.m. on Monday morning. 

Sitting beside Robin was my best friend and fellow AQHYA officer, Kalee McCann, who I must add did not sleep more than five minutes the entire night, even after I constantly told her to get some rest. Many of my fellow directors were up all night, texting and calling me to make sure I was OK. They were all, as my other best friend, Mary Claire Cornett, said, “sitting in the hospital in spirit.” 

I then realized that I not only had 28 fellow AQHYA officers and directors, but 28 brothers and sisters. 

Though I did not compete at the Ford Youth World, let alone come home with a world show globe, I came home knowing that I have the best friends a girl could ask for. To me, that is worth more than any world-show trophy will ever be. That trophy will eventually catch dust or fade, but my friendships will last forever. 

Though it was not your typical Ford Youth World, it was definitely one to remember.

Opportunities abound for horse-interested kids and a new AQHYA blog, Youth in Action, is going to chronicle those ventures. Learn more about the endless prospects for young horsemen through AQHYA at www.aqha.com/youth-in-action