A Star in Any Arena
Therapeutic riding paved the way for this Ford Youth World star.
By Christine Hamilton | April 24, 2011
The American Quarter Horse Journal
Out of the many stars at the 2008 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show, one exhibitor shone in a special way. Like many young people, Cassidy Miller of Carlsbad, California, began riding at age 7. But her start was with a therapeutic riding instructor.
“She had a brain shunt,” Cassidy’s mother, Kellie, explains. “And when she woke up from surgery, she was completely paralyzed on one side. And that was why she needed therapy.”
“When I started riding, my balance wasn’t quite right where it needed to be,” Cassidy says. “Therapeutic riding really helped me get my balance to where it needed to be for horse riding.”
Her horse interest sparked, Cassidy began taking lessons from AQHA Professional Horsewoman Sandy Arledge.
“We went to Sandy’s place in Del Mar and started leasing a horse and taking lessons,” she says. “I got started showing and competing, and I ended up buying a horse. He gave me the best four years of showing I could have.”
Showmanship champion, Nicole Barnes, and her trainers, Brad and Valerie Kearns, explain how to achieve the overall winning presentation for showmanship in AQHA's FREE Showmanship Basics report. Download, print and share today!
That was Dells Policy, a 1982 gelding by Dell Jiggs and out of Super Dice by Sir Quincy Dan, who was the 1993 youth reserve world champion in trail. The old campaigner helped Cassidy learn the ropes in trail, western riding, horsemanship and showmanship, and they tried western pleasure once or twice. He’s now retired.
As a 17-year-old, Cassidy showed on the California circuit with another horse, Eye L Be Good, a 1992 daughter of Zippos Mr Good Bar and out of Jackie Joann by Two Eyed Jack.
“At the beginning, she was kind of hard to get used to because I was so used to my old horse, and she felt so different,” Cassidy says. “We had a lot of problems we had to work out, but now everything is right where it needs to be. We’ve done very well.
Meet the winners of the 2009 AQHA Built Ford Tough Youth World performance halter mares.
“She has smooth lead changes and is a smooth loper.”
Cassidy showed the mare in performance halter mares August 8, 2008.
“Performance halter is a lot of fun, and I practiced a lot at other shows, so I’d really been excited about it,” she says. “I really looked forward to it.”
She also expressed thanks to the AQHA Executive Committee for making the changes that allowed youth like her to come to the Built Ford Tough Youth World Show as a state qualifier.
Since 2008, Cassidy and her mother started showing their mare in AQHA amateur shows. They also bred Eye L Be Good to One Hot Krymsun using a surrogate with embryo transfer, resulting in a 2009 gelding named Eye L Be Krymsun. “He was my first foal ever to raise,” Cassidy says.
Showmanship is the perfect event for anyone interested in horse showing. Learn the basic maneuvers and how to get started in AQHA's FREE Showmanship Basics report. Download, print and share today!