by Holly ClanahanThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Just one day after turning 18, Hannah Elizabeth Bedwell got a late birthday present in the form of a gold-plated Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show trophy. She and her horse, Regal To A Te, won the equitation over fences class August 10, topping the field of 70 entries.
“It felt very good inside, but (I was) definitely nervous,” said Hannah, who lives in Ball Ground, Georgia.” I’ve worked hard through the year, and at (the All American Quarter Horse) Congress, I was second but knew I had at least a chance this time. This is very good.”
Regal To A Te is a 9-year-old gelding whom Hannah has owned since he was 5, and in that time, she has come to know him and his quirks quite well.
“Sometimes he’s a different horse than you would want. He has his days where he’s funny, and then he’s really good the next day. You just can’t really tell what day he’s going to be good,” she said. But sailing easily over the course of 10 jumps in the Jim Norick Arena and logging a score of 360 on August 10, “he picked the right day” to be perfect.
“Tomorrow should be the same, hopefully,” Hannah told the Journal, looking ahead to her finals run in hunter hack.
So to recover from one winning run – and hoping to turn in another one – Hannah said she’ll just let “Paddy” take it easy for the afternoon, coming out of his stall for walks as he wishes.
“He was born on St. Patrick’s Day,” she said, explaining the nickname. “He’s such a pet. He loves everything. He gets nervous, and I get nervous (in the show ring), so we can both feel that.”
Going around the course, Hannah reminded herself to keep breathing, keep counting strides and keep Paddy in the same rhythm.
“After the first eight jumps, I thought ‘Oh, I only have a few more to go. I need to keep it up and don’t hit any rails and still stay the same.’ The last jump, I was like, ‘Finally, I’m OK, and I’m done.’ I was breathing finally.”
This marks Hannah and Paddy’s third Ford Youth World, and “we’re getting better all the time,” she said. Because they had not previously placed in the top 10 at a world show, they were eligible for AQHA’s new Intermediate recognition. For winning the Intermediate championship, Hannah and Paddy won an 8-inch clear globe and a specially designed patch.
After winning a world championship, Hannah said it won’t affect her game plans or work ethic.
“Nothing changes,” she said, “but I’m still going to try my hardest and keep working. I feel relieved that one’s down and one more to go.”
She thanks her trainer, AQHA Professional Horseman Linda Crothers of Sarasota, Florida, and her parents, Jacquelyn and Robert Bedwell.
Hannah Bedwell and Regal To A Te jump in equitation over fences August 10 at the 2011 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show. (Journal photo)