By Krissy MailmanThe American Quarter Horse JournalJuly 21, 2013
AQHA Professional Horseman Whitney Legace and Hot Fudge Java (Krissy Mailman photo)
The 2013 AQHA Region Six Championship Show saved the biggest event for last … trail. With more than 220 entries, it appears that the Northeast takes its trail time seriously.
With some of the best trail trainers in the country and top-notch courses designed by Tim Kimura, the field was steep. However, one could quickly notice that the trainers actually worked together by sharing tips and cheering each other on.
AQHA Professional Horseman Whitney Lagace of Whitney Ridge LLC in Higganum, Connecticut, has experienced tremendous success in trail and is a former AQHA world champion. She will be the first to tell you that learning from her peers is invaluable.
“In New England, especially Connecticut and Massachusetts, trail is one of the largest divisions,” Whitney said. “We have a lot of great trail trainers here. We all help each other out. We work together and everyone gets along.”
In June, a handful of Connecticut farms traveled to Falls Creek Farm in Moosup, Connecticut, for two days of trail drills. The purpose was to share knowledge and have fun.
“We set up courses, picked each other’s brains, watched each other’s horses, and had a lot of laughs in between,” Whitney said. “You don’t get that camaraderie in every state.”
Whitney explained that many of the trail trainers travel across the country and bring back new trail tactics along with another level of competitiveness.
“When we come back from the bigger shows, we all step it up to another level and push each other to the top.”
AQHA Professional Horseman Tami McAllister of Rolling M Ranch in Southbury, Connecticut, agreed.
Tami said the level of competitiveness in the area has increased greatly.
“You’re only as good as your competition you show with,” Tami said. “We all keep upping our game.”
This year, Tami and Garry McAllister have qualified 10 horses for the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show. Tami is quick to mention that if the level of competition wasn’t there, she wouldn’t be ready for the World Show.
“So many of my friends are great trail trainers, there isn’t a weekend that’s easy to show. You have to work for it.”
Tami is quick to give credit to Jim and Lisa Farrell in Durham, Connecticut, for being pioneers in helping to get trail established in the Northeast.
“It took a large group of people and lot of teamwork to get 10 horses qualified for the AQHA World Show,” Tami said. “Garry is a huge supporter. It takes team work on all ends. Everything from my customers and horses, to my peers, play a big part.”
Teamwork is something these trainers know about. Tami said if she was ever broke down on the side of the road, there is no doubt that she could call on any one of her peers to rescue her. Should that ever be the case, Tami won’t have to wait on the side of the road for long; after all, it was Tami that hauled Whitney to her world championship trail victory in 2010.
Click here for a slideshow from Day 4 of the 2013 AQHA Region Six Championship.
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