Region Six: A Family "Horsecation"

This family loves spending time together, and the Merial AQHA Region Six Championship offered the perfect opportunity.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

The Tibbett family of Bow, New Hampshire, at the 2014 Merial AQHA Region 6 Regional Championship.

Cody Tibbetts posted down the rail in his walk-trot hunter under saddle class, carried confidently by the 10-year-old gelding Icy Rapper, owned by Cody’s mom, Jennifer. For “Ice,” the class was a good warmup for the novice amateur hunter under saddle class he later competed in with Jennifer during the 2014 Merial AQHA Region 6 Regional Championship, which began June 18 in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

“It is a family thing,” Jennifer said of their shared ride. “Most everything we do, we do as a family. We all have four-wheelers so we can four-wheel together.”

Fourteen-year-old Cody, who says he enjoys the horse-showing weekends with his parents, chimes in with another example of family togetherness. “We eat dinner all together,” he says.

Although dad and husband, Eric, doesn’t ride, he’s always ready to help Jennifer and Cody into the show ring, carrying a grooming bag to the arena, pinning on numbers or doing whatever else needs to be done.

“I don’t do a whole lot with the horses, but I like to come and support them,” he says. And at home in Bow, New Hampshire, “I get to set grain and take care of the manure.”

At the Region 6 Championship, Jennifer and Ice were entering several novice amateur classes, including showmanship, which is Ice’s specialty. Cody is planning to take the red roan into novice youth showmanship June 19, as well as trail. The family hopes to be able to attend the Nutrena East AQHA Level 1 (Novice) Championship in the future.

But for now, they’re enjoying hitting about one horse show a month.

“It’s kind of like a vacation. It’s a ‘horsecation,’ ” Jennifer says. “It gets us off the farm at home, and sometimes you get to relax more here (at a horse show). We do like doing it as a family. And if we couldn’t do it as a family, we’d find something else to do.”

Jennifer, who’s 35, has been riding since she was 9, but has only been involved with American Quarter Horses since 2000. Cody is in his fourth year of showing, and the two of them do it with only occasional help from trainers.

“Pretty much, I’ve always done it myself; I haven’t had the trainers to help,” Jennifer says. “Just financially, it’s too expensive, so we’ve had to do it and learn it along the way. But (Ice) is a really good showmanship horse. We do really well with him.”

Ice, who was purchased as Cody’s walk-trot mount, was never intended to be a shared family horse, but after Jennifer had to put down the young prospect she purchased as a weanling, he “has kind of had to step up.” 

And it sounds like he has done just that. Besides his normal show-horse role, Ice serves as a trail-riding horse on occasion, and he can run barrels and poles, too.

“He gets excited; he likes those,” Jennifer says. “He does pretty much everything.”

Ice, bred by Kathy Trembicki Graves, is by Icy Irons (a grandson of Sonny Dee Bar) and out of Rapped In Gray by Reynolds Rap.