Congress Masters Classes

Western pleasure and hunter under saddle prospects rise to the top under the pressure of Masters classes at the All American Quarter Horse Congress

Special to the American Quarter Horse Journal

My Invitations R Hot captured the All American Quarter Horse Congress 2-year-old hunter under saddle Masters class with Trisha Yamber in the irons for owner Seaside Farm of Plano, Texas. (Megan Arszman photo) For more photos from the show, scroll to the slideshow below.

Pressure and fun: Two words that could be used to describe the Masters 2-year-old classes at the All American Quarter Horse Congress.

On October 25, 11 western pleasure maidens jogged into the Celeste Center arena at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, and last year’s winning rider, Jay Starnes, repeated a nearly flawless go to earn the $50,000 winner’s check.

The Lopin Machine is out of Jay’s parents’ Congress champion mare, Hot Lopin Louise by Blazing Hot, and is by A Good Machine, so Jay has had his eye on the striking stallion from the day he hit the ground. When the Rawlingses of Summerton, South Carolina, were looking for a stallion prospect, they repeated their 2013 Masters champion pairing and teamed up with Jay for a second year in a row to win.

“I had a feeling he’d be a nice horse,” said Jay, an AQHA Professional Horseman.  “He’s very consistent and did everything I asked him to do – he was really a show horse tonight.”

Jay loves the stallion’s ring presence.

“He shows up in a ring – he’s so big and stout, especially for a 2-year-old.”

“Clyde” and Jay were first on three of the judges’ cards. AQHA Professional Horseman Gil Galyean piloted Michelle and Sheila Bauer’s Fired Up Potential to first on the fourth card and the reserve championship.

The Certain Potential mare, bred by Susan Knapp of Van Meter, Iowa, caught Gil’s eye earlier this spring and he aimed the black mare at the Masters.

“We came close,” Gil said of the black mare out of Radically Fired Up by Cant Fire Me. “That was a great horse that won tonight. I think you’ll see him do extremely well over the next few years.

“My ride felt real good,” Gil said. “You’re always a little nervous with a 2-year-old and how they’ll react to the crowd, especially when you go around that far end and you see all those people in the stands, but she handled it well. We got clean departures for the lopes, and she hit her groove. That was reassuring to me.”

Third-place rider Brian Cox was equally happy with his ride on Jamie Watson’s RR Magical Moonlite.

“There’s so much pressure and adrenaline with this class. It’s so much fun to get a horse in there and get it around safely with the crowd, but I love it,” Brian said of the Masters class. “He’s just a good horse. He wants to go around the pen and show for you.”

RR Magical Moonlite is a 2012 brown gelding by Only In The Moonlite and out of The Mouse Is TAlkin by Sweet Talkin Chip. He was bred by Gumz Rodrock Partnership of Morganfield, Kentucky.

Jay, Gil and Brian are pointing the horses toward the 2-year-old western pleasure class at the AQHA World Championship Show in Oklahoma City in November and then plan to move them up to 3-year-old classes in 2015.

Judges for the class were Robin Frid, Holly Hover, Rhonda Replogle and Mark Sheridan. HP Only Lazy and Darren Putnam were the limited champions for owners Joe Prause and Mariann Harington.

Congress Masters Hunter Under Saddle

Nine striking, long-legged 2-year-olds took to the arena vying for the $25,000 winner’s check. Trisha Yamber piloted My Invitations R Hot to the win with rousing crowd applause with three firsts and one second on the judges cards.

“He’s been awesome all year,” Trisha said of the These Irons Are Hot colt.

“Carson” was bred and raised by Adria Smith at Gumz Farms. The 2012 sorrel stallion is out of the Invitation Only mare Thats My Invitation. Adria sent him to Trisha with a goal of the Congress Masters championship, and Trisha knew he was a winner.

“I thought he was awesome,” she said. “The only thing that scared me was that he was growing so fast at such a young age (and still growing)…so I told (husband) Carl ‘we gotta take this one slow.’”

Slow and easy was the winning pace for Carson and Trisha. Between congratulatory hugs, she recalls how he was a natural for hunter under saddle.

“From Day One, he has hung his neck so soft and so level – that’s the main key to this class, to have that softness in the neck.”

Horses entered in the Masters classes havenever been shown before. While for some, taking a 2-year-old into an arena like the All American Quarter Horse Congress might be nerve-wracking, Trisha had confidence in Carson during the whole trip, and it showed.

“He never had a nervous bone in his body,” she said. “I was excited and nervous at the same time because he had been doing so well, I didn’t want to make a mistake.”

To combat his continual growth spurts, Trisha took Carson’s training slowly, only working for 15 minutes at a time, every day or every other day, depending on how he felt. Trisha says the plan for Carson is to be shown as a 3-year-old in 2015.

Judges for the class were Deborah Kail, Jennifer Lynn Thompson, John Briggs and Karen Graham.

The reserve  champion was Kizz My Irons, a 2012 brown mare by These Irons Are Hot and out of Kizzy Nostra by Im A Big Leager, ridden by Dawn Baker for LT and Joanne Taylor of Ostrander, Ohio.

Third was Good Escape, a 2012 bay gelding by Good I Will Be and out of Cant Escape That by Iron Enterprise, owned by Carl Yamber and ridden by Allison Clark.