Equitation Over Fences

Two days and three classes later, Annette Fowler and Lets Get Started are heading home with three gold trophies.

Lets Get Started and Annette Fowler

Lets Get Started and Annette Fowler wowed the judges in equitation over fences, placing first on four out of the five judges cards, at the 2013 Adequan Select World Championship Show. (Journal photo)

Fantastic, blessed, magical, epic – they're all great words to sum up Annette Fowler and Lets Get Started's Saturday at the 2013 Adequan Select World Championship Show.

On August 31, the duo was working like a team worthy of two world championships. They were fresh off a hunter hack world title, which they claimed the evening before. In fact, they had even defending their hunter hack title from the year before.

While they were out to their celebratory dinner on Friday night, a friend pointed out that Annette and “Lester” had drawn up third in the go in equitation over fences and first in working hunter.

“They told me I was first, and I was like, ‘Awesome!’ ” Annette told the Journal in an exclusive interview. “I like going at the beginning, otherwise I tend to get myself too nervous by sitting around waiting.”

The Azle, Texas, horsewoman was much looking forward to their equitation over fences course, too, which left a few options for a handier ride.

“We had a bending line, a rollback, so we had a couple of different things in there,” she said.

Of the first fence, Annette said the riders had the choice to either circle first or canter right to the fence for a more difficult option. Her trainer, AQHA Professional Horseman Chuck Briggs, advised Annette to play that option by ear.

“Chuck, my trainer, just said, ‘Make your decision when you get in there; see how he feels. If he’s going forward, go to the fence. If not, you might have to circle and go to it,’ ” Annette said. “When I asked him to canter off, he went forward and I knew he was ready to go.

“We cantered to the first fence right off the bat,” she said. “We tried to do some tighter turns, things like that, and it all worked out.”

Heading into the Amarillo National Center for her equitation over fences ride, Annette asked for a bit of assistance from upstairs.

“I was just praying to have good fences; I really did before I went in,” she said. “By the time I had jumped the next to the last fence, I prayed again and I said, ‘Please Lord, let me finish out.’ And He did!

“Lester has a tendency to go slow, and normally, I really have to work at keeping him at a steady pace, but his energy level was perfect. I was able to actually just ride and not worry about keeping him at a certain pace. He was very good for the eq over fences.

“I came out of there so, so happy with my ride that I didn’t really even care (if I won) because I felt really good,” she added. “Eq over fences is probably my favorite class. I love it, but I’m not always perfect in it. In all the years I’ve ridden, winning that by far is my biggest accomplishment.”

The judges liked what they saw, placing Annette and Lester first on four out of five cards.
 
Lets Get Started, a 2004 bay gelding by Iron Enterprise and out of Dans Flying Saucer (TB) by Do It Again, is clearly a versatile individual. Lester started as a hunter under saddle competitor, then made an easy transition to hunter hack and the other hunter events. In addition to his win in Select hunter hack last year with Annette, Lester was ridden to the hunter hack world title by Annette’s daughter, Casey, at the 2010 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show. The bay gelding boasts countless AQHA year-end high-point awards, too.

“He was a little more tired for the working hunter finals,” Annette said. “I had to ask for a little bit more from him, so I got a little bit more tired. But, once again, he did everything I asked him to do. I wanted him to move up, he moved up and when I decided, ‘OK, now you can slow down,’ I just took a hold and he did.”

Again, the judges were impressed, placing Lester a unanimous first place.

“Today, it was his day,” she said with a laugh.

It's your moment; make it last forever! Videos of individual runs and class finals from the Adequan Select World Championship Show are available for purchase at www.aqha.com/mymoment. Plus, you can watch Adequan Select World video footage 24/7. This new service is optimized for Internet Explorer 10, Safari and most mobile Web browsers.

And who knows, Lester might just have his day again this fall.  

While her daughter, Casey, was away at college and riding on the Auburn University women’s equestrian team, Annette stepped into Lester’s irons. But since Casey graduated this May, mom and daughter have been sharing the reins.

“Casey will show him at the (Bank of America) Amateur World this year,” said Annette, who will be competing against Casey and Lester aboard her own horse, Malibu Moose, in Oklahoma City.

Annette always wanted a horse when she was growing up, but she didn’t have the chance to purchase one until she was a young newlywed.  

“I didn’t have my first horse until I was 26,” she said. “I always wanted one as a kid, and my dad, he raced motorcycles, and that’s all he would let me do.

Yes, that’s right – Annette traded her motorcycle for some four-legged horsepower.

“The year my husband, Bruce, and I got married, he let me have my own horse,” she added. “I started out in Paints, and I was riding with Chuck Briggs at that time, showing Paints. We were doing the all-around stuff, then we started doing over fences. Quarter Horses had more entries in it, so we progressed to the Quarter Horses.”

Annette is glad that she can share her passion for horses with not only Casey, but her youngest daughter, Ciera, as well. Still in college, Ciera is pursuing a nursing degree at Texas Christian University and competes on the TCU women’s equestrian team.

The Fowlers share one more horse fan in the family, who comes in the form of Annette’s husband, Bruce.

“Bruce used to rope,” Annette said. “Then it got to be when my daughters and I were showing, we couldn’t do it all, so he gave it up. That was also about the same time we bought our business.”

The Fowlers own a building supply house and a block plant.

“Bruce comes with us usually to all of our shows and supports us; he helps us, does whatever he needs to,” Annette said.

“It’s been great for us because we’ve done it all as a family. We’ve traveled a lot and it’s just been great for all of us.”