AQHA Horseback Riding Program: 2,500 Hour Awards

Congratulations to AQHA Horseback Riding Program participants who have reached the 2,500-hour milestone. Most importantly, it was with the most loyal, responsive, hardworking, and willing teammate - the American Quarter Horse.

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Grayson Florkey
Shez the Roan Show
Hamilton, Montana
I started riding American Quarter horses when I lost my Paint gelding. We found a lovely filly, Skipa Heavenly Star, who was much too lofty for western disciplines. She excelled regionally and met or exceeded all our expectations. Sadly we lost her at 12 to colic. We admired her so much we found this spicy filly who is living up to her outstanding breeding. We spend our Montana winters boarding indoor and working on the good stuff that makes a horse think. Summers are spent riding the trails in the beautiful Bitterroot Mountains where we perfect the winter’s hard work. She’s a thinker!​​​​​​


Jessica Ewert
The Obvious Gain aka "Jezzy"
Medora, North Dakota
"While growing up, our elderly neighbors would ask me to stop by brush and fuss over their horses. In turn, I made a little money for the chore. Soon, I traded the cash for the opportunity to learn to ride. Later I learned many of his horses were Two Eyed Jack bred stock. 
               To this day I love a good Pitzer Ranch-bred horse. In all reality I'm a horse lover in general, I see the beauty in all of them. 
               My husband and I, along with some good friends, enjoy riding aggressive rugged land. We make several trips a year, just to enjoy the landscape.  Our favorite place to spend time riding is Bar X Ranch Medora, ND and The Black Hills, SD."


Linda Holder
Thee Final Leaguer aka “Smoky”
Schaffhausen, Switzerland
I started riding at the age of 14. Living in Switzerland, I was riding school horses for 13 years.  They were ridden the English way and they were not Quarter Horses.

Then in 1991, I watched an AQHA horse show, one of the first ones in Switzerland, and I was fascinated.  I went to the LT Farm in Müllheim to take my first lessons in western riding on Quarter Horses. After that I knew my own horse will be an American Quarter Horse.

In 1993 I bought “LT Kims Diamant Dust” aka “Dusty” a 3 year old gelding. With this wonderful companion I also started in AQHA Shows, but the most I did with him was trail riding. With him I spent nearly the half of the 2500 hours. Sadly, Dusty died in February 2016 at the age of 26 because of cancer.

In May 2017 I was very lucky to find the wonderful 3 year old gelding “Thee Final Leaguer” aka “Smoky”.  I showed him in 2019 once in AQHA Halter. Then came covid, and I found out that Smoky and I are very happy to do trail riding in our beautiful environment in the north of Switzerland. 

Theresa Hockman
The Great Sorcerer
Kingston, Tennessee
Growing up I would ride any horse, pony or donkey and enjoyed every minute. Through the years I noticed how great the American Quarter Horses were and knew that when I was able to buy my own horse it would be a Quarter Horse. I am in the Parelli levels program and spend time doing both ground work and riding, and I enjoy any and all time spent riding my horse but my favorite places are out on trails.

Lene Havn
JMC Broadway Blondy
Syddanmark, Denmark
I started riding and working with quarter horses because of a good friend, who needed help to ride his horse, and that day I lost my heart to quarter horses. My husband and I have 3 quarter horses (22 year, 21 year and 2 1/2 year, all family).

I am a very all-round rider by working with my horses, shows, cattle training, mountain trail, stock horse, but the best way to be with my horses is in nature together with good friends. We live in the woods, and enjoy every day together with all 3 horses.

Pam LaPorte
  Shes Good
      Niles, Michigan

I got started riding American Quarter Horses because my mom loved riding and I inherited the riding bug. I spend my hours working with my horse to prepare for shows and learning new skills. My favorite place to ride is around the farm and any show grounds with my friends. 

Jean Morgan
Wimpy’s Buco Bit aka "Sam"
Colton, California
I have been riding for years but after retirement from nursing I wanted to move this activity up a notch. I was introduced to reining and with lessons from Kristy Berg and the purchase of Quarter Horse, Moonlight in Reno (Dusty), I found myself in training and having a wonderful and exciting 6-year show experience with a wonderful horse and great people.

Then came Wimpy’s Buco Bit (Sam) and my riding with both horses expanded to joining the Riverside California Volunteer Posse, which includes search and rescue, parades and patrols. Both horses are participants in CSHA Trials and they are excellent.

I have also ridden the Buckskin Gulch in UT, Wyoming's Grand Tetons and several beautiful sites in CA. Riding at Bryce National Park was indescribable. Sam has taken all these trails and handles them superbly with balance and strength, but most of all willingness. My 2,500 hours on my quarter horses Dusty and Sam have been the highlight of my life. I love my Quarter Horses.

Anne Lewis
Zans Golden Ruler aka “Simon”
Coalhurst, Alberta, Canada
My first horse was an American Quarter Horse and I have stuck with the breed ever since.  I love the look and versatility of them. Trail riding is my passion.  Living in southern Alberta, winter means indoor riding with the occasional coulee ride on a warm day.  I take dressage lessons and clinics when available. I live a hour away from the Rocky Mountains.  Waterton Lakes National Park and Castle Provincial Park offer trails galore to explore and camp.

Katie Schreibeis
Sugar Double Legacy aka "Waylon"
Wyarno, Wyoming


My family has a cattle ranch and have always owned American Quarter Horses. On a daily basis, I work with my horses and ride every chance I get. My favorite place to ride is on the mountains where we summer our cows. I also love helping family and friends rope, brand and gather during spring and fall.

Susan Brooks
San Marco, California

"I started taking riding lessons at the age of 26 and got my first Quarter Horse a few months later. I’m now 77 and riding my 22 year old retired reining horse, Roostin. We spend our time pleasure riding in San Marcos, CA. Two retired folks enjoying life together. I’ve had three wonderful Quarter Horses and am thankful for all the joy and love they have given me."

Fran Smith
Completely My Design aka "Reese"
Garland, Nebraska

When I was fourteen, I was able to get a grade gelding (half quarter horse) that I showed in 4H.  I was reading all the horse magazines and books that I could get my hands on.  I soaked up as much as I could and then worked hard to apply it.  As time progressed, we got better and while we were never outstanding in any one event, we could compete respectably in all.  We won many all-around awards. 

I learned a great deal from the ponies and from my 4-H horse.  When I started college, I wanted to focus on rodeo and running barrels.  I was looking for a new horse.  I remember a trainer telling me he had never seen anything that could run faster than a Quarter Horse!  Ever since then I have been riding American Quarter Horses.

I have ridden more than one horse to get to this milestone, but “Completely My Design” aka Reese may be my favorite.   Also in the saddle is Zeke, who is just as comfortable riding as on the ground. This picture was taken at Big Canyon in northern Nebraska. 

Melissa Fowler
Smart Cutting Cat RG
Buffalo, South Dakota
"I have been riding American Quarter horses since I was a young girl. My parents bought me my first quarter horse and I’ve been hooked ever since!  I spend most of my time riding my American Quarter Horses here on our cattle ranch gathering and trailing cattle to new pasture, sorting cattle, shipping cattle in the fall, pasture doctoring cattle and roping at brandings. I also find time to take them to AQHA and NRCHA shows. My favorite place to ride is here on our cattle ranch! We have a lot of wide open space! I also love competing at the AQHA and NRCHA shows!"

Connie McAlpin
My Good Valentine
Stringer, Mississippi
Thanks for recognizing me & Valentine for our hours of riding together! I bought her as a 2 year old, started her under saddle,  and we've been riding together for 8 years now. We compete in western pleasure, trail, ranch riding, ranch trail, Horsemanship and halter classes in our local shows. I've loved horses my entire life, and spending time with Valentine puts me in my happy place!​​​​​​

Jamie Underwood
Handsome Preview aka "Cheyenne"
Florence, Alabama
I have had horses all my life.  I started out on a Shetland pony and advanced to Quarter Horses as soon as I could swing up on one; I have always loved riding American Quarter Horses.  I was lucky enough that we had a barn and pasture  and we always had around 10 head of horses.  My whole family enjoyed riding and would often go on trail rides. I competed in Saturday night horse shows doing western pleasure, barrels and poles. It was an excellent way to grow up - taking care of horses and learning responsibility.  I also enjoyed team penning for a while, but mostly I love to explore  trails on my horse.   The picture is of my retired horse, Cheyenne.  He contracted EPM in 2020 and I am riding another Quarter Horse now, but since most of the hours were done on him I felt I should honor him.  My favorite place to ride is at Land Between the Lakes in Golden Pond, Kentucky.   You can’t beat the trails and the scenery!  ​​​​​​

Heather Bryant
Stylish In My Boots
Morgan Hill, California
I’m so excited to have reached 2,500 hours in the saddle. I show Ranch Horse versatility with my gelding, Stylish In My Boots (Mr. Playinstylish x Smoke My Boots). I compete with the Golden State Versatility Ranch Horse Association and AQHA shows. Here I am carrying the US flag for the GSVRHA for the first time.

Barbara Muchnick
 The Whiskey Blues
    Lake Worth, Florida

I’ve owned horses for many years. However, my involvement with Quarter Horses began about 20 years ago.  While shopping, I remember that this one horse just kept watching me. I wasn’t looking for any particular breed but, it turns out the decision for the purchase wasn’t really mine…this Quarter Horse picked me! I ride almost daily in a large equestrian community.  I’m 71 and my horse is now 27 years old.  Lots of my time is spent just hand walking or riding while we enjoy our time together. 

Linda Noble
Beaus King Leo aka "Beau"
Summerland, British Columbia, Canada
I have been blessed to ride some amazing AQHA horses on some wonderful trails!  Beau has done the vast majority of the trails and hours.  He is an awesome partner, and at the age of 24 he is going strong and sound!  To say this boy is special is an understatement.  Epona Silver San and Extra Grand N Dandy were my two go-to mares on the trails, both living long and productive lives. These wonderful and talented mares also added their efforts to this accomplishment. ​​​​​​

Tess Brown
Bueno Rocky Bar aka "Rocky"
Taylor Ridge, Illinois

I got started riding American Quarter Horses through my Dad.  I have an early picture of my Dad and me sitting on his horse "Rocky."  I was 3 months old and I named my dun gelding "Rocky" in honor of my Dad.

I just recently purchased a bay Quarter Horse so I can log more hours in the saddle. I spend my time with my horses trail riding and working on obstacles.

One of my favorite sayings is:  "You can see what man made from the seat of an automobile, but the best way to see what God  made is from the back of a horse." -Charles M. Russell.

 I have Winston Churchill's saying  cross stitched on my wall:  "There is something about the outside of a horse, that is good for the inside of a man."  In this case a woman.

I have a goal to see all the places that God created from the back of a horse.

Kellie Wine
Jenerosity aka "Rango"
Jane Lew, West Virginia
I have been raising and riding AQHA horses for as long as I can remember.  I received my 30 year Breeding Certificate this year.  There’s nothing finer than a day spent team penning or ranch sorting.

Tonya Willson
TT Poco Sweetwater
Barnard, Missouri
I got started riding horses when I met my husband 30 years ago.  We spend our time riding young horses, and putting in the time and starting them right. My favorite place to ride is anywhere in the saddle that my horse will take me. 

Jeff Richman
Dream Bar Crocker aka "Dream"
Buckeye, Arizona
Thanks for acknowledging some of the best times of my life. Dream and I have been riding companions for 21 years. Through her arthritis and my injuries, we have been riding consistently over the 21 years we’ve been together. Dream was a 3yr old filly and I was much older and finally able to have a horse of my own. We’ve had so many wonderful adventures together and we’re not done yet.