Horse Showing at the East Novice Championships

Do-it-yourselfer Melissa Price shares her story from 2013.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Melissa Price drove nine hours with two Basset Hounds, her boyfriend Shane and her other boyfriend Romeo to get to the 2013 Nutrena East AQHA Novice Championship Show in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Shane isn’t jealous, though. Melissa’s second boyfriend might be a “Romeo,” but he stays in his stall at night.

“A friend of mine owned (Hez A Radical Romeo), and I knew him from a 2-year-old being brought up, being a baby and going through western pleasure,” Melissa told the Journal. “He was sold to a friend who could no longer keep him, so she called me up and said, 'We want you to have him. First dibs.’ So I bought him.”

That was in 2008. In 2013, Melissa and Romeo were at the Novice championship, competing in horsemanship, trail and showmanship. The show, as well as its counterpart in the west, has been renamed for 2014 to reflect the AQHA leveling program. It is now the Nutrena East AQHA Level 1 (Novice) Championship.

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Melissa was proud of her qualification, and she loves seeing Romeo excel in trail.

“We’re pleasantly surprised, because as a youngster, he was very clumsy and klutzy, and would trip over his feet and trip over logs and things, and so he has surprised even the lady who originally owned and trained him,” Melissa said. “He has been a very good horse for me.”

Hez A Radical Romeo is a 2003 brown gelding by Radical Rodder and out of Steelin The Deck by Deck Of Stars. He was bred by Mary Ann Wagner of Picayune, Mississippi.

Melissa, a hard-working do-it-yourselfer, hails from Carriere, Mississippi, but she works just down the road in Slidell, Louisiana, as a vet technician for a small-animal practice.

“I’ve been there about 12 years now, since I was in high school,” she said. “I started as an intern through a high school program, and I never left.”

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Melissa trains Romeo herself out in the 16 acres she lives on with two more horses, six goats, three cats and seven dogs – one a foster dog.

“The grass is our rail,” she says. “We have low grass and high grass. That is my rail, cow patties and all.”

The Nutrena East competition is Melissa’s once-in-a-lifetime trip, she said.

“This is the biggest show I’ve ever been to personally,” she said. “It’s a big honor just to be here right now. Whether I place or not, it’s just an honor to be here. I would like to have good patterns and good rides, whether I place or not.”

At the time of her interview with the Journal, Melissa had placed fourth in Novice amateur trail and had made the finals in Novice amateur showmanship, doing it all herself.