2011 Select World

Equitation Over Fences

The end of an 18-year wait.

Debbie Wolaver and her American Quarter Horse Eli North

Debbie Wolaver of Mocksville, North Carolina, and Eli North win the 2011 Select world championship in equitation over fences.

She won her first AQHA world championship September 3, on her 22-year-old gelding, Eli North, in equitation over fences at the 2011 Adequan Select World Championship Show.

“I’ve been showing him for 18 years, and it took 18 years to finally get to where he would carry me around (consistently),” she continued. “We’ve worked really hard. It’s been my goal for 30 years to win a world championship.”

In 1997, Debbie and “Eli” finished third in amateur working hunter at the AQHA World Championship Show. This is their third trip to the Adequan Select World.

“Somebody told me today they were proud of me (for sticking with him) because he’d been so tough,” Debbie said. “He’s just got so much personality. I just love him to death: he’s good when he’s good and when he’s bad, he’s really bad. He’s just a trooper.”

Debbie has shown Eli at the Washington National and Marshall Sterling Classic in United States Equestrian Federation competition. Eli was the Best of America’s Horse – USEF in green working hunter in 1998 and 2000, in amateur hunter 30 & over in 1998, and in amateur hunter 35 years and older in 2005.

She added, “His mother is buried in my back yard, and he’ll be buried there, too. I bought her when she was 3 and even though somebody else was his breeder, I birthed him out and had him his entire life.”

The equitation over fences world championship came immediately after Debbie and Eli had won the reserve in hunter hack.

“My mother (Mary) says I’m going to retire him (now),” Debbie said. “But since he’s done so well today, I don’t know, maybe one more time (coming back to the Adequan Select World). I’ve got nieces and nephews who love riding him; they trail ride him. We’ll see.

“I have a mare I’m trying to bring along that’s jumping and pleasure driving,” she added. “You can never do enough of this (showing).”

Debbie and her husband, Loren Magnus, have a small manufacturing business building oil dry hoppers for NASCAR. The 2010 president of the North Carolina Amateur Quarter Horse Association, Debbie is the only one in her family who is into horses.

“I was going to college at Middle Tennessee State University…and got exposed to my first Quarter Horse and bought it there and never looked back,” she said.

And she’s always loved jumping.

“When I was a child with my Tennessee Walking Horse, I’d take her out and jump her,” she said. “I’ve just been fascinated with it. I feel like it’s a class I can never quite conquer – you don’t just ever get it quite right. It’s a thrill; I just love it and the pleasure driving. As soon as I start riding, that’s what I want to go do – just jump.”

Debbie said the list of people she should thank for help over the years is a long one, “I’m indebted to so many people.” She sends a special thanks to longtime friend and former professional trainer Parker Minchin, who started Eli and always thought he had promise. 

You have to “just stick with it, and get a good coach,” she said. “I’ve had tremendous people over the years. You’ve got to get a good coach to keep you going. (AQHA Professional Horseman) Cindy Reddish has helped me here.

“Be optimistic; I’ve been doing this a long time with him and all of a sudden it just came together.”