Trying Something New

Fewer youth have been entering the ring lately.

That's what husband and wife Ted Wilson and Brenda Cedarblade-Wilson were starting to notice in their tack store, Tack Warehouse, in Woodland, California.

So they took matters into their own hands.

Ted and Brenda also own and operate the Historic Nelson Ranch and Cattle Co., a well-known boarding, training and horse-event facility in Woodland. They decided to create some local showing opportunities for young people and people new to competition.

We started to have some all-breed open shows," Brenda says. "We thought it would get more people interested in showing."

It worked. They had a lot of interest from people -- youth and amateurs -- who couldn't afford fancy equipment and dress or more than a one-day show, and who were not at the point of competing at a breed show.

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When the AQHA Introductory Show option appeared, the Wilsons thought it was a perfect complement to what they were doing.

The Wilsons' 2009 Win-A-Saddle Series All-Breed and AQHA Introductory Shows are scheduled to run all summer. The first was May 17, the second was June 20, and the third show was July 19. Two more are slated for August 23 and September 13.

"We wanted to add (the introductory shows) so people could get a taste for the AQHA breed shows and hopefully move up," Brenda says. "In the long run, people coming to one-day shows will progress into going to longer shows. It's a great opportunity for us to provide.

"The shows are growing," Ted says. "It started off kind of small, but it's growing, getting a life of its own."

Each show awards high-point awards, including silver headstall buckles, trophy stirrups, embroidered blanket bags, crystal platters and trophy halters. The overall series high-point awards are a silver show saddle and a Marrita McMillian sculpture. To qualify for those, the same horse-and-rider combination must show in three out of the five "Win-A-Saddle Series" shows.

"We've had people sign up who weren't AQHA members," Brenda says. "It's affordable, and they don't have the competition, so the kids can be successful on a not-so-expensive horse at this level. They can show in a regular shirt and normal tack. We're even starting to get some local trainers bringing their young horses and students to get them into the pen."

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Ted and Brenda both recommend the option to other horse shows.

"It's a lot of paperwork to learn," Brenda says with a laugh. "But we were fortunate that other show managers helped us through the first (AQHA Introductory Show).

"When you put them on, even though it's an introductory show, they still have to be done very professionally, not just like a regular schooling show. You have to have paperwork posted for animal welfare and such.

"And we had a lot of support from people within AQHA. If we needed something, they have been there to help us. I do horse shows for other associations, and it's really nice the level of help AQHA gives.

"My husband and I breed American Quarter Horses; we've always had Quarter Horses. It's kind of nice to be able to support the industry and keep it going. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it."

The AQHA World Championship Show, which will run from November 6-21, is coming. Get a copy of the program, today!