Homebred Hero at the ESQHA Fall Show

Amateur Susie Roncone is enjoying a piece of her childhood at the Empire State Quarter Horse Association show in Syracuse, New York.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Susie Roncone and Wa Ta Hot Invitation are wrapping up their 2014 show season at the Empire State Quarter Horse Association Fall Show in Syracuse, New York. (Credit: Katie Navarra)

Even though it's the final show of the season for Susie Roncone and Wa Ta Hot Invitation, the duo has big expectations. 

“My goal is to finish our open AQHA Register of Merit in halter this week,” Susie said at the 2014 Empire State Quarter Horse Association Fall Show, which is September 16-21 in Syracuse, New York. “We’re really close; I think we only need one more point.”

This year’s show season started off slowly for Wa Ta Hot Invitation, aka "Wyatt," following a diagnosis of roaring, a condition formally called left laryngeal hemiplegia. The condition causes an upper airway obstruction due to paralysis or weakening of one of the crucial structures in the throat. The gelding underwent tie-back surgery at Cornell University, then lay-up for recovery. But when Wyatt returned to training and showing, he was stronger than ever. 

“The highlight of the season was winning the New York State Quarter Horse Association open circuit championship in Cobleskill last weekend,” Susie said. “We swept halter, too.” 

The pair also qualified for the 2014 Nutrena AQHA East Level 1 (Novice) Championship. While they won't be attending this year, Susie said, "There is a group of us who have made it our goal to qualify and go next year."

The 2006 gelding by One Hot Invitation and and out of Extra Silver Lining, who was Susie's youth show mare. 

Raised in in Northwest Ohio, Susie and her sisters actively participated in 4-H, Future Farmers of America and the Tri-State Show Series. After high school and then college, the siblings settled in California, Michigan and New York. 

“There came a point when my dad said, 'You three girls have all moved away, the horses are just standing here bored;' it’s time we do something with them,” Susie remembered. 

Working as an environmental engineer at Wegmans Food Markets, Susie decided to relocate the family’s horses to her new home in Walworth, New York. 

“I really liked my youth mare, (Extra Silver Lining,) and decided to breed her,” she said. Wyatt is the mare’s second foal. "It’s like having a piece of my childhood with me." 

The wins Susie has collected with Wyatt are especially meaningful. 

"Since Wyatt is a homebred, I have the added satisfaction of knowing I bred him, show him and am getting to enjoy the successes."

See more photos from the ESQHA Fall Show and read Katie's coverage of the event for The American Quarter Horse Journal.