Region Six: A Few Buckles Richer
Meet two teens who cashed in at the 2014 Merial AQHA Region Six Championship.
By Holly Clanahan | July 20, 2014
On Saturday, 14-year-old Samantha Tarby celebrated as her friend Isabel Tobin won a regional championship in novice youth reining, and throughout the six-day horse show, she was rooting for her friend Jessica McAllister as she vied for the circuit high-point youth, 14-18.
Then on Sunday, it was Sam’s turn to receive some applause.
Competing at the 2014 Merial AQHA Region Six Regional Championship in West Springfield, Massachusetts, Sam and Hot Rod Number Eight, owned by Katherine Hug, won a regional championship in novice youth trail, 13 and under.
“I’m really happy with how he did,” Sam says. She made one error during the trail pattern, steering “Junior” in the wrong direction, and he ticked a pole. “I was kind of grinding my teeth a little bit because I know what I did wrong, and I know I could have fixed it,” the competitive teen says. “But the backup was good, and that’s what we were working on a lot, so I’m happy.”
And did we mention that this was just Sam’s second AQHA show?
She works with rescue horses with her parents and has competed in open shows and fairs, but she was ready to take a step up into a more competitive environment. Luckily, her dad, Chris McAllister, has some family connections that could help.
They live just about a mile from Chris’ brother, Garry McAllister, who runs a training barn in Southbury, Connecticut, with his wife, Tami, an AQHA Professional Horsewoman. And the brothers’ dad is Joe McAllister, an AQHA director and steward.
“She made a deal with Uncle Garry and Aunt Tami and started working at it and practicing at it,” Chris says. They told Sam that if she was committed and rode with them every day, they’d help her show.
Although Sam is busy with a mind-boggling variety of sports (field hockey, basketball, softball and lacrosse) and maintains excellent grades, she was still more than happy to keep up her end of the bargain with Garry and Tami.
“They let me come every day except Monday, because Monday’s their one day off,” Sam says. “So during the school year, I take the bus, and I go over there every day. And now since it’s summer, I call them every day and say, ‘Can I come ride today?’ I probably annoy them because I call every day around the same time, but I come over every day, and I ride. Sometimes it’s on Junior, sometimes they’ll put me on other horses that they have. It’s fun, all the different skills that you need and all the different types of horses that you’ve got to learn how to work with.”
With everything that Sam is involved in, “it’s hard not to be proud of her,” Chris says. “She has been working hard. She does the work at Garry and Tami’s, and she does work at our house, too. It’s a tradeoff. It’s not all show pens and ribbons and show saddles.”
But on Sunday at least, there was time to sit back and enjoy the custom Montana Silversmiths belt buckle she earned for topping her regional championship class.
That’s just what 19-year-old Hannah Pingrey of Silver Springs, New York, was doing, too. She won a buckle for winning the 14-18 novice youth trail class, and doing so propelled her to the top of the regional championship all-around standings for her age group and netted her a second buckle.
As she waited in line to take a win photo with Dreaming Ofa Goodbar, aka “Gil,” the sorrel gelding socialized with everyone standing around him and even nibbled on a nearby dog.
“He’s very friendly,” Hannah says. “He’s always wanting you to pet on him and rub on him and just touch him.”
The two of them have only been a team for about a month, but the success they enjoyed at the Region Six Regional Championship was evidence that the partnership is already starting to gel.
“He’s definitely starting to trust me a lot, and I’m getting used to him and trusting him a lot more, too,” Hannah says.
She also placed third in novice youth western pleasure and fourth in novice youth horsemanship in her age division.
“He’s a good boy,” Hannah says of her new horse. “He always does what I ask of him, he never fights me or anything.”
She trains with Danny and Jill Bergstresser of Oswego, New York.
In the 14-18 novice youth division, the reserve all-around went to Madison Roberts of Middle Haddam, Connecticut, riding Its Good To Be Lazy.
In the 13 and under novice youth division, the all-around buckle went home to New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, with Madison Holmes and Zips Lazy Legacy. Reserve went to Karlena Joan Sanborn of Trenton, Maine, on OHK Potentialkrymsun.
In the novice amateur division, Brandy Barniak of Watertown, New York, won the all-around buckle riding All Rites Reserved. And Alekzandra Kall, also of Watertown, earned the reserve all-around on Burning With Passion.