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In the Spotlight

Novice amateur Amy Leibold conquers obstacles in competition and life with help from a fantastic support system.

By Allison Armstrong
The American Quarter Horse Journal
April 29, 2013

Amy Leibold and EZ Come EZ Joe at the 2012 East Novice Championship Show, photo courtesy of Amy Leibold

Amy shows off her brown gelding, EZ Come EZ Joe, at the 2012 Nutrena East Novice Championship. Amy and her dad drove 11 hours from Dubuque, Iowa, to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to attend the inaugural event. (Photo courtesy of Amy Leibold)

“We all have big dreams, and we all have a lot of things we want to do,” says Novice amateur Amy Leibold.

Hailing from Dubuque, Iowa, Amy’s big dream is to climb the ladder of AQHA competition. But to get to the top, she knows there are plenty of steps in between. Luckily, Amy’s got the support system to reach the pinnacle.

“Horses have always been one thing that has brought my family together, whether it was a trail ride or camping trip, preparing for a horse show and attending, or just stacking hay in the barn in the summer,” Amy says. “My family has been my biggest supporter in showing and has always been there for me to help. If it wasn't for them, my horse show dreams wouldn't be possible.”

Amy works full-time as a warranty administrator at Dubuque Auto Plaza, so she must spend her carefully hoarded vacation days wisely. With that in mind, she packed up her 7-year-old brown gelding, EZ Come EZ Joe (Hot Diggity Joe-Now Youve Dun It by Triple Print), last fall for a 11-hour trek to their first big hurrah together, the inaugural Nutrena AQHA East Novice Championship Show. With her dad as her co-pilot, Amy headed to Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

“We decided to come (to the 2012 Nutrena East Novice Championship) just for the experience and to get a good feel of what’s out there and who’s out there,” Amy told the Journal. “ ’Digger’ and I only had a few shows together before attending the Novice championships, and I was very happy to have the opportunity to attend.

“There were a lot of very, very talented riders,” she says of the October 2012 event. “Just the experience, along with Digger being there and performing the way I’d like him to … maybe I’d like him to be a little bit better, but I’m happy with how he’s doing. I couldn’t ask for more from him. He is such a great horse to me and my family. ”

In addition to working full-time, Amy is a single mom to her 3-year-old son, Lane. Even though she stays “very, very busy,” Amy manages to ride Digger at least three or four times a week in addition to showing him as often as she can.

“I have a really awesome, supportive family that has really helped me so that I can still do the things that (I want to do),” Amy says. “Work has been an obstacle – trying to get enough vacation days to be able to attend (shows). And arranging child care – it’s not always easy. But I have a family that backs me and supports me.

“I especially have to thank my mom for being the very best grandmother to Lane. She stayed behind from the Novice championship show to take care of him so I could attend the show,” Amy adds. “I received many picture messages and phone calls from her and Lane during the trip, wishing me luck before each class we entered.

“There are always going to be obstacles to overcome in life but I firmly believe with a good support system anything is possible.”

The American Quarter Horse Journal loves to feature the hard-working AQHA exhibitor, and In the Spotlight is the Journal’s fun new way to do so. Do you know a hard-working AQHA competitor who deserves some time in the limelight? Email AQHA Internet Editor Tara Christiansen at tchristiansen@aqha.org to submit story ideas, then visit www.aqha.com/inthespotlight to view more In the Spotlight stories.