In the Spotlight

Don and Penny Daigler have been showing AQHA for more than 40 years – as youth, as young adults, as a family and now in retirement.

By Christine Hamilton
The American Quarter Horse Journal
July 1, 2013

Don and Penny Daigler have been showing AQHA for more than 40 years, as youth, as young adults, as a family and now in retirement.

Don and Penny Daigler of New York and Florida, with Mr Slo Mo Amegio at the 2013 Tar Heel Triple Classic Futurity. (Journal photo)

Visiting the barns the first weekend of the 2013 Tar Heel Triple Classic in Raleigh, North Carolina, the Journal spotted a woman holding a feed bucket for a sweet sorrel mare. Only On Occasion had cut her head and needed stitches, and her owner, Penny Daigler, was making sure the mare could eat without hurting it.

Penny’s husband, Don, was nearby, with his horse, Mr Slo Mo Amegio. It turns out that the Daiglers are old hats at showing AQHA; they’ve been doing this together for more than 40 years.

The Daiglers met at a horse show and have “been married forever,” as Penny says.

“(Don) does the trail and I do the pleasure,” she says. “It’s probably one of the best things we ever did in our lives. We have one son and he did it through AQHYA, and now he’s a dentist.”

Why has it been so good for them? Because they’ve been able to include horses in every stage of their lives. They showed when they were single; then continued to do it as a family; and are still enjoying it now in their retirement years.

“We’re back doing it just ourselves now,” Don says. “We’re both retired, and we have a wonderful time.”

Living in New York, Penny was a teacher and Don worked construction. Now they split their time between Dunnelon, Florida, near Ocala, during the winter, and Lockport, New York, in the summer.

“Our son’s name is Todd, and we have two grandchildren,” Penny says. “(Todd) knows what the horse shows are, and he says it’s good. He doesn’t worry about us because he knows we’re not getting into trouble!”

Penny’s Only On Occasion is a 7-year-old mare by Invitation Only and out of Sweet On Occasion by Sweet Talkin Chip; bred by Libby Trucco, of Delaware, Ohio. They’ve earned a Superior in western pleasure and qualified three times for the Adequan Select World Championship Show.

“We have about 65 pleasure points on her that we put on all by ourselves,” Penny says. “We are proud to death of her. She’s the kindest thing I’ve ever ridden in my life. She came along at the right time in our lives. She’s perfect for us.”

Mr Slo Mo Amegio is a 2004 gelding by Zippos Amegio and out of Miss Ziggy Stardust by Im A Big Leaguer, bred by AGR Breeding Inc. of Ojai, California. Don has had him just two years and shows western riding and trail.

The Daiglers work with their horses by themselves most of the time, getting help when they can.

“We ride every day,” Penny says. “We don’t know what we would do if we didn’t ride all the time! It’s good for our health. I’d be afraid to stop now.”

Don was on one of the first National Youth Activity Teams at the All American Quarter Horse Congress, “when it was just a three-day event.”

Penny rode in the very first amateur working hunter class at the Congress. “Those were the days when you didn’t have a warm-up round in the Coliseum,” she adds with a smile. “You just jumped cross rails and you went. It snowed that year.”

She explains: “I did the working hunter for a long while, and when I got older, I just couldn’t afford to fall off anymore. Donny used to do the reining, and he had hip replacement surgery just two years ago, and needed to slow down.”

“We just changed events,” Don says. “In our old age, we just did something a little slower: the trail instead of reining, the pleasure instead of the working hunter.

“We always do it together. We enjoy it. We enjoy the people. We’re living the life!”

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 Matsler at tmatsler@aqha.org to submit story ideas, then visit www.aqha.com/inthespotlight to view more In the Spotlight stories.