A Plethora of Western Pleasure

A Plethora of Western Pleasure

The Pleasure Versatility Challenge and the Western Pleasure Challenge created widespread interest at the 2020 Farnam AQHA and Adequan Select World Championship Shows.

2020 Pleasure Versatility Challenge winners

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The American Quarter Horse Journal logo

By Becky Newell

AQHA offered a couple of different western pleasure classes and added-money challenges at the 2020 Farnam AQHA and Adequan® Select World Championship Shows.

Pleasure Versatility Challenge

This was the third year for the $50,000 Pleasure Versatility Challenge, brought to you by Terry Bradshaw Quarter Horses. New this year was the $15,000 Western Pleasure Challenge.

Hot Lopin Lily has been added to the list of horses that have won the annual Pleasure Versatility Challenge, which has been hosted by the AQHA World Championship Show for the past three years. KM Flat Out The Best and AQHA Professional Horsewoman Deanna Searles, and Snap It Send It and AQHA Professional Horseman Blake Weis were the winners in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Horses competing in the Pleasure Versatility Challenge were shown sequentially in three classes in the Jim Norick Arena: a pattern class, sponsored by Cimarron Trailers, consisted of a blending of simplified trail and western riding maneuvers, which counted 40 percent; a western pleasure class, which counted 40 percent; and a conformation class, which counted 20 percent, both sponsored by The Equine Chronicle. Blue Ribbon Custom Tack provided silver show equipment for the winners and, as a special incentive, gave away a custom work saddle to the contestant that finished in 12th place. That saddle went to AQHA Professional Horseman T.R. Potts, who showed Mouse Trapped.

For the PVC, horses cannot have been shown astride in any western riding, trail, or in any similar Pleasure Versatility Challenge event prior to the Farnam AQHA World official entry deadline of October 1. As of the official entry deadline and thereafter, horses could be shown without restriction at any competition without forfeiting Pleasure Versatility Challenge eligibility.

Fifteen 3-year-olds were entered in this year’s PVC, in which Hot Lopin Lily and Blake won the pattern, western pleasure and conformation classes. “Lily” was bred by Twylla Brown and raised by Twylla, Blake and his mom, AQHA Professional Horsewoman Kendra Weis of Moberly, Missouri. Lily is by RL Best Of Sudden and out of Shes A Lopin Machine by A Good Machine.

“I had seen and ridden her at the Youth World and I knew they were going to sell her,” Blake said. “I rode her and I love her. I called Caroline (Cavallo) and told her I had found a horse for her.”

At that point, Blake and Caroline hadn’t really made a lot of plans to show Lily.

“The first time I had changed leads or gone over a pole with her was at Youth World,” Blake said.

But then Lily started to show Blake and Caroline that she was ready to show.

“We didn’t put any pressure on her, it just sort of came to her,” Blake said. “So we went ahead and entered the PVC, not know for sure that she would even show in it.”

The PVC was the first thing Caroline and Blake discussed when they arrived at the World Show.

“I asked Blake if Lily was going to show in the PVC and he said, ‘I think she’s going to do it,’” Caroline said.

Blake also showed Lily’s dam, Shes A Lopin Machine, and was reserve in junior western riding with the mare.

Blake credits R.J. King with getting Lily ready for western pleasure and Mirko Mueller with getting the mare trained for the conformation class.

“She was 100 percent ready,” Blake said. “She kept a great attitude through the entire event tonight.”

“She was happy and her ears were up the whole time,” Caroline added. “She just looked like she was enjoying her job. As an owner, I want my horses to always be happy and to enjoy their job, and never be sour.”

Blake and Caroline plan to get Lily going for trail and western riding in 2021.

“She’s still a novice horse in the pleasure and really still a green horse,” Caroline said. “I probably won’t begin showing her until 2022. I want Blake to have a year with her.”

For the win, Caroline took home a check for $10,000.

Western Pleasure Challenge

The Western Pleasure Challenge was broken out into a Level 2 and a Level 3 exhibitor eligible series. It was mandatory for each exhibitor to enter the Zimeta™ 3-year-old western pleasure stakes class, which was held on the last day of the show. Exhibitors then selected up to two additional and unique horses from their respective open Level 2 or open Level 3 AQHA 2-year-old western pleasure, junior western pleasure or senior western pleasure entries. From the placings of each respective finals class, the total Farnam AQHA World placing matrix points earned from an exhibitor’s three classes will be totaled and the Western Pleasure Challenge Champion Exhibitor will be named.

Kyle Dougherty and If It Aint Dixie got the win in Level 2 Zimeta 3-year-old western pleasure class for owner Beckey Schooler of Delta, Ohio. Kyle took home a check for $1,220. The class paid through 10th place.

Creating the Level 2 Zimeta™ 3-year-old western pleasure stakes also resulted in the addition of a Level 2 2-year-old western pleasure class. That class was won by My Dad Is The Best and Lauren Louw of Jamestown, Ohio.

Brian Ale of Purcell, Oklahoma, won the Level 2 Western Pleasure Challenge – the culmination of all of the western pleasure classes – on Son Of A Machine in the Level 2 3-year-old western pleasure class,  Straight Up Lazy in Level 2 2-year-old western pleasure and Gorgeousnthemoonlite in the Level 2 junior western pleasure. For his effort, Brian won $3,000.

“For the first time showing at the World Show, I think I had a good show,” Brian said. “I think it was a good opportunity for people who haven’t been here yet and showed. It gives an incentive so that you don’t have to compete against all of the top guys. You have a chance to show your horse, and it feels like you have a chance.”

In the Level 2, Kyle Dougherty and If It Aint Dixie also won $1,250 in the O3 Equine Omega Complete competition for an exhibitor who has not placed in the top 10 at a previous AQHA World Show. Melissa Jones and Sheza Good Machine won $1,250 for a horse that has not earned more than $5,000 as of August 1, 2020.

The Level 3 Zimeta 3-year-old western pleasure stakes class was won by Jay Starnes and Never Have I Ever, aka “Madonna,” for owner Dakota Andrie of Franklinville, New Jersey. For the win, Jay also took home a check for $1,220, and the class paid through 10th place.. 

“We ride these (younger) horses through as many situations as we can to where they can handle everything,” Jay said. “The ones that are easy-going can do it are not hard to get going.” 

AQHA Professional Horseman Aaron Moses won the Level 3 Western Pleasure Challenge riding Isthatcoolwithyou in Level 3 2-year-old western pleasure, Made Ya Look in Level 3 3-year-old western pleasure and Moonrageous in Level 3 junior western pleasure. The overall win earned Aaron $3,000.

Aaron’s wife, Courtney, owns the horse he won the 2-year-old western pleasure with.

“Courtney’s done most of the work on him, but she let me show him here,” Aaron said. “It’s pretty exciting. We also bought his dad (LL Cool Bay). We liked Isthatcoolwithyou from Gil and Becky Galyean and he is just a natural. The ones that win and do well are not the horses who were made to do it; it’s the horses who rise to the top step up in our program and show us they’re ready. Courtney has done a really good job with that horse, they’re a good partnership.”

In the Level 3 O3 Equine Omega Complete competition, Mike Hachtel and The Best Principles won $1,250 for having not placed in the top 10 at a previous AQHA World Show. Kenneth Lakins and Down For Certain won $1,250 for a horse that had not earned more than $5,000 as of August 1, 2020.