At the European Championships With Lori Bucholz

The chairwoman of the AQHA International Committee reports from the 2015 European Championship in Kreuth, Germany.

Special to The American Quarter Horse Journal

AQHA International Committee Chairwoman Lori Bucholz and the 2015 European Championship Level 1 (Green) trail champion Dr. Andrea Haas of Germany riding Flyin Step (Credit: Figure Eight)

As the chairwoman of the AQHA International Committee, I am honored to be attending the European Championship of American Quarter Horses. It is the 26th year for the event and it is being held in Kreuth, Germany. The area that surrounds the venue is dense forest and picturesque rolling hills. The Ostbayernhalle facility also hosts many other equine events from top-level show jumping to dressage competitions.

The show started August 7 with Level 1 (Green) trail, followed by the Level 1 amateur and Level 1 youth trail classes, then finished with the Level 1 (Green) reining. The horses are some of the finest Quarter Horses in the world and they are all well cared for and in excellent condition. Exhibitors are well prepared for their classes and also very supportive of their fellow contestants. 

All exhibitors were treated to a barbecue supper tonight and it gave us a great opportunity to visit with the attendees and discuss the issues facing AQHA and the Quarter Horse in the Eurpoean communities.

The judges for the show from the USA are Bill Enk, Sandy Jirkovsky, Karen McCuistion and Clark Parker and Ricky Bordignon from Italy and Vreni Shmid from Switzerland. The stewards for the show are Lisa John from the United Kingdom and Butch Carse from the United States. Butch is also conducting the AQHA Ride the Pattern clinics and serving as our unofficial tour guide! Also in attendance is Amy McLean, AQHA director of international market development.

During my third day at the European Championships I attended the FEQHA (Federation of European Quarter Horse Associations) meeting. The officers of the European affiliates and the AQHA International Directors at Large meet quarterly to discuss issues that may jointly effect them all. Andrew Dren from Hungary is the current president of the FEQHA. As the new International Committee chairman, I really appreciated getting to visit with the members of the European affiliates. A special thank you to Andrew and the members of the FEQHA for rearranging their busy schedules so Amy McLean and I could attend the meeting. 

 

The meeting focused on health issues of horses in Europe and how it affected the 2015 Championship show. We also discussed how to circumvent any such problems in the future. Mickey Kayser, Marcus Rensing and the rest of the show team were recognized for their outstanding management of the show! 

 

The FEQHA will meet again in February 2016 during the European Summit. 

 

Our meeting recessed for lunch and we were treated to the traditional Barvarian "white" sausages! They were delicious!! Part of the joy of traveling is getting to sample the local food, customs and of course, the drinks! 

 

After the meeting I didn't get to watch much of the show as I had to return to the Munich airport. Thank you to Mr Kayser for driving me to the airport! 

I'm finally back in Nebraska! Over seventeen hours of travel from Munich to Omaha. I'm exhausted, but so thrilled to have attended the AQHA European Championships! I met many new friends and had the opportunity to discuss AQHA with members from all over the world. 

Although the show wasn't as large as anticipated, due to unforeseen circumstances, those who did show their horses were well-prepared! Congratulations to Micky Kayser, Marcus Rensing and the show management team for such a great horse show! Although one is ultimately responsible for their horses safety and welfare, it's unfortunate that social media can sometimes influence those decisions. I'm sure that the 2016 European Championships will be well-attended and very successful. 

I have to mention how much fun I had with Amy McLean, AQHA director of international market development. Amy is a great asset to AQHA and the International Department. Also, a big thanks to Butch Carse. Butch does a lot of international traveling for AQHA as a judge, steward and clinician. It was Butch who first suggested I attend the European Championships – thanks for the great idea!

I learned that quarter horse owners and exhibitors are the same all over the world. We love our horses, the competition and the camaraderie we share with other quarter horse enthusiasts. 

Again, thank you to all who made me feel so welcome! I'm looking forward to a return trip and hope to see many of my new friends at the AQHA World Show in November! Safe travels! 

From the junior reining finals: gold medal winner Nina Lill and SL Custom Rooster (Germany), silver medal winner Markus Zweverink with Electra Chic (Germany), bronze medal winner Harald Assigal with Like A Rose (Germany). Also, pictured, Marco Stros, vice president of the Federation of European Quarter Horse Association and international director of Luxembourg, and Amy McLean, AQHA director of international market development.