Surviving the Odds

Meet one horse trainer who won't let cancer slow her down.

From America's Horse

“My name is Jill Newcomb, and I am a 16-day cancer survivor.”

That’s how AQHA Professional Horsewoman Jill Newcomb of Rancho Santa Fe, California, introduced herself in the Saddle Up For Life cancer survivors’ ride during the 2009 AQHA World Championship Show.

After a followup mammogram just after the Select world in September 2009, Jill’s doctor recommended a biopsy of a spot in one of her breasts. She worked in the biopsy after a horse show in Santa Barbara, California, and found out the results on September 23.

“I was getting on a plane to Hawaii when they called,” Jill says. “I was going there for the week in between the (Scottsdale Classic) show and (the All American Quarter Horse) Congress. He said, ‘We got your report back, and it’s cancer, and we need to meet with the surgeon in the morning.’”

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Jill’s attitude was to get the treatment done and move on; she had horse shows she needed to get to. Because the cancer had been caught early, her doctors let her schedule surgery after Congress on October 27. She elected to have a double-mastectomy rather than a lumpectomy; she wanted no chance of the breast cancer returning.

“They said I did amazing during the (five-hour) surgery,” Jill says. “Three days after the surgery I said, ‘It really doesn’t hurt.’ By Sunday (November 1), we got our tickets and made a plan to come to the World Show.

Jill rode in Saddle Up For Life because she wanted to show people you can face cancer and move on.

“I know so many people are afraid of breast cancer, but I caught it early enough by staying on top of it,” she says. “For people who are over 40 and scared to have a mammogram, or don’t want one, or put it off, being that step ahead can make all the difference in the world.”

Jill showed two horses in the senior trail prelims at the 2009 World Show, but didn’t make it back to the finals.

Get Ready!

Have you made plans to attend the 2010 AQHA World Championship Show November 6-20 in Oklahoma City?

The World Show is the pinnacle event for American Quarter Horse owners and exhibitors around the world, who must qualify for the event by earning a predetermined number of points to compete in each of the classes representing halter, English and western disciplines. More than 3,300 entries from the United States, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Mexico, United Kingdom and Venezuela are competing at this year’s event.

Wear pink on Saturday, November 13, to honor horsemen and women who have fought a battle with cancer. The annual Rein in Cancer event will take place during the evening finals performance.

The 2010 World Show is set to be a memorable time with tough competition as well as fun and exciting special events. Be sure to purchase a World Show program at the show so you’ll know all about what’s happening and have a chance to win great prizes. Also, visit and for more information, news and updates. For updates on the show, check out AQHA's Twitter accounts, @aqha and @americashorse.

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