by Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Shannon Brown and Huntin A Gal
Shannon Brown doesn’t have a lot of time to horse show. A dental hygienist from Cameron Park, California, she squeezes working with her 2005 gelding, Huntin A Gal, around a full-time work schedule.
“I keep (‘Ryan’) at home and I work with him a lot on my own,” Shannon told The American Quarter Horse Journal. “Then I go up and take lessons with (my trainer AQHA Professional Horseman) Nancy (Alto Renfro). We’ve worked together for 10 years, so she’s so good at tuning me up and everything.”
Nancy found Ryan for her about three years ago.
“Nancy has a great eye,” she said. “I told her I just wanted a project. ... She said you could work with this one; I think he’s going to be great for you.”
She added: “I taught him showmanship by myself, and when I first started he was really difficult to teach. But I stuck with it and worked really hard. I kept telling my mom (Jan), ‘I see a lot of talent in him, I’m going to keep working with him,’ and here we are.”
She grinned and looked around her, last out of the pen for the November 13 showmanship finals at the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show. She and Ryan won the world championship.
“My biggest concern (this morning) was that I was first to go, so I knew I was going to be making the lines (in the dirt for the pattern),” Shannon said. “I wanted to find my middle every time, and I wasn’t sure how the cones were going to be set. As soon as I walked into the pen I examined the cones and planned it out really fast and went with it.”
Shannon started showing as a child when her mother showed as an amateur. She won the 2003 youth world championship in trail with License To Zip. Now, her mother helps her haul Ryan to weekend shows where they meet Nancy. Shannon shows and heads back home to make it back to work on Monday.
“It feels amazing (to win),” she said. “I’ve been working really hard, and it’s taken a long time to get back here but I’m really excited.”
Ryan and Shannon made it to the semi-finals in hunt seat equitation and showed in horsemanship.
“I was really looking forward to the horsemanship,” she said, “but he was a little fresh when we went into the arena. I was feeling pretty disappointed. It’s great to come back with this.
“I love how sweet (Ryan) is. He really makes showing enjoyable because he’s so good just to be around. He has the biggest personality and he gives me hugs. You probably saw him give me one out in the arena. He’s a lot of fun. He has a lot of try.”
Her father, Steven, was rooting for her back home, and her mother, Jan, and Nancy were in the stands.
“(My boyfriend, Trevor,) is probably jumping up and down for me right now because he’s had to deal with me being at the barn until 9 p.m. every night.
She added: “I just want to thank everyone who’s been there for me. Between my dad, my mom and Nancy and Trevor, and all my friends – even my bosses who let me come here! It’s hard for me to leave for a week. I just appreciate it. It takes a team for me to get to a horse show.
“My plans are to give him some time off after this show and work really hard to build some money back up and head back to the circuits.”
But for now, it’s time to celebrate.
“We’ll go to dinner,” Shannon said with a smile. “And I’ve got to go back to work on Monday.”