November 7-22, 2014, Oklahoma City

Amateur Hunt Seat Equitation

Amateur Ashley Beim and her “Rusty” repeat as AQHA hunt seat equitation world champions.

PS Rusty Bay Doc and Ashley Beim

PS Rusty Bay Doc and Ashley Beim take their victory lap as they win hunt seat equitation November 13 at the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show. (Journal photo)

The judges challenged riders facing the November 13 hunt seat equitation finals at the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show with a marker-less pattern, posting without stirrups and a forward hand gallop transitioned back down to the canter. And they made a point to judge the walk in the rail work.

“It was a lot of pattern, especially considering that the prelims pattern was pretty straightforward,” amateur Ashley Beim of Becker, Minnesota, told The American Quarter Horse Journal. “This pattern had quite a few more elements.”

The returning 2012 world champion in the class, she and her 2001 gelding, PS Rusty Bay Doc, made the finals again this year.

“I would say that the most challenging part for me was the stop at the end where we had to loosen the reins and readdress them – I wanted to make sure my horse didn’t back up,” she continued. “A lot of the moving forward at the hand gallop and tracking back, I do a lot of that in the over fences. We practice that kind of stuff a lot.”

Ashley kept last year’s win out of her head for this class: “I just wanted to think about riding the pattern as best I could and keeping him calm on the rail.”

Her focus paid off and the two rode out last, carrying a second AQHA world championship gold trophy.

“My (2013) show season was pretty mellow,” she said. “We didn’t do a lot of shows because he’s a pretty seasoned all-around horse so we try not to do too many patterns. I showed pretty heavily until about June, and I haven’t been to a show since. We just (worked on) the working hunter and equitation over fences.”

Ashley and the gelding she sometimes calls “Chubbs” because of his penchant for being fed, and “Rusty” when he’s "being good," have been partners for a long time.

“I bought him as a 2-year-old when I was 12, and I’ve had him 10 years now,” she said. “I started in open shows and 4-H … I was winning consistently and I just decided that I’d just like a horse that I could do better on and that fit me.

“We found him at an auction and he was really kind of ugly – he was thin and his ears were giant and his rear was taller (than his wither) – but I thought he was the most beautiful horse I’d seen in my whole life. I bought him and we did a couple more years of 4-H and open shows and I went straight into the national Rookie running (in AQHA) and showed AQHA every weekend.”

That was 2007, and Ashley and Rusty finished third in the Justin Rookie-of-the-Year standings. They went on to compete successfully at several AQHA Region Three Championship. Their first World Show finals appearance was in last year’s hunt seat equitation.

“He is kind of a prince,” she said with a smile. “He demands food all the time, and if you ride during breakfast or supper, it’s an issue with him. As long as he gets fed twice a day, he is the easiest horse to ride and train.

“He is my best friend. I can’t imagine not riding him every single day. He’s the best horse I could ask for.”

Ashley graduated from the University of Minnesota this spring, with a degree in retail merchandising, but she is headed back to school in apparel design in February. She plans to continue showing, too.

“I just want to show him as long as he’ll let me,” Ashley said. “I’d like to move into the amateur over fences classes. So far we’ve just done the novice and green classes at the lower heights. And some event hunter shows, too.”

Her mother, Jill, is here to cheer her on, and her father, Andy, is at home watching the live feed: “My parents have been the best support group ever.”

Ashley also adds thanks to AQHA Professional Horseman Lainie DeBoer, her trainer.

“Everyone at her barn has been so great and so welcoming,” she said. “It’s the best way to ride, with a bunch of friends, having fun, and remembering why we do this showing thing.”

She has this advice for any family considering buying a horse like her family did when they took a risk on Rusty: “I would say that (the horse’s) personality has a lot to do with (his potential). … He was the kindest and sweetest and gentlest 2-year-old. I think if they have a lot of heart, you can do a lot with them.”

Ashley paused and added, “I’m blown away that I was able to do this again. I’m so proud of Rusty for keeping his head in the game for me.”

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