angle-left A Match Made at the Barn

A Match Made at the Barn

Hannah Hipps has started her show season off on four good feet with Huntin Forever at the 2019 AQHA Central Level 1 Championships.
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By AQHA Editor-In-Chief Becky Newell

Hannah Hipps has had a good spring horse show season, and it all started with a borrowed horse named Huntin Forever.

“I just started riding him this spring,” Hannah said of the 2010 bay gelding she’s showing this week at the AQHA Central Level 1 Championships in Oklahoma City. “A friend of ours – Pat Clements – who also shows with (trainer) Patty Campbell, owns ‘Tino,’ and she gave me the opportunity to show him. We just really clicked and we just decided to go to the Level 1 Championships.”

Tino, who is by Hubba Hubba Huntin and out of Forever And Only by Invitation Only, is owned by Patricia Clements of Dallas, who shows him in Select trail.

Hannah and Tino got a running start at the Central Level 1 by first showing at the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Association Spring Show.

“We practiced the day before the show and figured out our patterns,” said Hannah, a senior in high school. “On show day, I was getting nervous, because it was a higher level than what we’ve been competing at. We went out that first day and got a fourth, third and sixth in horsemanship and then second, third and fourth in equitation. It was all right for us. On Day 2, we won everything under every judge.”

They make a good team, added Patty, who is an AQHA Professional Horsewoman from Whitesboro, Texas.

“She gets along with the horse really well,” Patty said. “They’re cut from the same mold.”

Patty added that it takes practice to make good matches between youth and horses.

“I think it takes a level of understanding,” she explained. “This horse is a really good horse, but he needs someone who gives him confidence. Hannah is really good about not overriding him. She understands her horse, which makes a big difference, and I think that’s why it works.”

Hannah is taking it slow with Tino.

“We’re just seeing what we can do together,” Hannah explains. “We do horsemanship and equitation, for now. Later on down the road, maybe we’ll start doing trail.”

Her patience paid off, as she and Tino won Rookie youth horsemanship at the Central Level 1. But that wasn’t the only buckle she took home from the first day of the show.

Hannah and mom Stephanie Wessels had a little trick up their sleeves.

“My friend, Ashley Rolston, runs barrels, but she also shows horsemanship and when we were talking about going to the Central Level 1, I invited her to stall with us, that it would be a lot of fun,” Stephanie explained. “Hannah used to rodeo back in 2012-13. So, Tuesday, when Patty was running a little late, Hannah decided to start practicing on Ashley’s mare, Shes Gone To Vegas, doing the barrels, poles and stake race warm-ups, and had some great runs on the mare. So, we decided Hannah should enter, but only one of the classes, as it wouldn’t take long, and she ended up winning the Level 1 youth stake race class.”

The trick was that Hannah and Stephanie didn’t fess up to Patty about their speed-event shenanigans until after Hannah won Rookie youth horsemanship a few hours later.

“I was getting Tino ready for horsemanship and noticed that Stephanie wasn’t around and Hannah wasn’t putting her hair up, and thought, ‘Where the … are they?’ but at the same time, we still had plenty of time to get ready,” Patty said.

“I can’t believe you didn’t hear the announcer say over the PA that Hannah had won the stake race!” Stephanie said.

“I have tunnel vision when I’m getting a horse ready for a class …” Patty responded to Hannah and Stephanie’s laughter.

Running – and winning – the stake race must have scared off Hannah’s nerves, because she confidently rode Tino into the Jim Norick Arena and claimed the Rookie horsemanship trophy.

Will the new duo keep up their winning ways in Rookie and Level 1 youth equitation on Thursday?

Stay tuned!