Region One Scholarship Show: August 14

Look through Day 1 photos, and meet the youth exhibitors down from Alaska and showing in Monroe, Washington.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

2015 Region One Scholarship Show Alaska Youth

AQHYA members from Alaska Anndawnika Neavill (left), Taylor Minkler and Sydney Poorbaught pose with Versionaire. (Credit: Journal) View more show photos in the slideshow below.

The AQHA Region One Scholarship Show, sponsored by Coyote Rock Ranch, got underway August 13 in Monroe, Washington, with the Washington State Quarter Horse Association All Level 1/Rookie event.

Time after time, this scholarship show surpasses expectations. When the Washington, Oregon and Alaska Quarter Horse affiliates conceptualized the Region One Scholarship Program last year, an initial goal was set for $100,000 to be raised by 2017. But through the 2014 scholarship show and other benefits and fundraisers, the scholarship fund reached the $100,000 mark just in its first year. It now looks as though the fund, managed by the American Quarter Horse Foundation, has already cracked $200,000 – and that projection was made before the 2015 scholarship show even kicked off.

New for this year, WSQHA hosted a youth equine summit the Monday and Tuesday prior to the show. Funded in part by the $10,000 AQHA affiliate grant won by Washington State, the conference featured speakers focusing on effective communication and leadership skills, as well as advice for landing scholarships from the American Quarter Horse Foundation. Team Wrangler member and AQHA Professional Horsewoman Genny Miller of Ellensburg, Washington, shared her inspirational tale, and I was invited to elaborate on the cause and effects of social media, plus the legends of AQHA history.

WSQHA also used their grant to host four youth members Alaska, plus their chaperon, at the WSQHA Youth Equine Summit and AQHA Region One Scholarship Show. While Alaska is part of the United States, it certainly can feel like a foreign country compared to its contiguous cousins. The grant went a long way to cover the airfare, hotel and show fees for young horsewoman now inspired to make an impact in their home state.

Journey from Alaska

Even though she has been riding and showing horses all of her life, 17-year-old Taylor Minkler of Anchorage, Alaska, admits she was a little intimidated to come down and show at the Region One Scholarship Show. 

“The competition is huge down here. There are so many people and these horses are amazing,” she says, adding that she was grateful to show Lopen Rosita, owned by Jennifer Coleman. In addition to funding the trip, WSQHA also organized with local AQHA Professional Horsemen to have horses donated for the Alaska youth exhibitors to show. 

“In Alaska we don’t have a lot of professional trainers, so a lot of the horses aren’t up to this level of competition. The biggest class I’ve been in in Alaska is 10 people, so right now our Level 1 youth classes have only four people.”

Thirteen-year-old Anndawnika Neavill says she’ll be taking back to Alaska some showmanship skills learned from her loaned horse for the weekend, Versionaire. Versionaire and owner Cindy Nakahara of Snohomish, Washington, finished third in showmanship at the 2013 Adequan Select World Championship Show, so the pair certainly has a lot of knowledge to offer.

“I love horses,” Anndawnika says. “They’re like your therapy; when you’re down and need someone to talk to, they’re there, you can go and talk to them and they keep everything to themselves.”

The trip down to Washington was one last big hurrah for 18-year-old Sydney Poorbaught, who will start college in a few days at the Mat-Su College of the University of Alaska Anchorage, working toward a degree in physical therapy.

“My dad and I have this dream to start a physical therapy business with equines. I helped with a therapeutic riding program and had a couple big experiences in that,” Sydney explains. “I like how horses can help people.”

For the scholarship show, Sydney showed Passers Dark Bar and DD EZ Rider, on loan from Colleen Aufiero of Fall City, Washington, and Renay Crosby of Gold Bar, Washington.

Just this week, the Alaskan youth are able to experience different show and leadership opportunities, and to see that there are different prospects in the American Quarter Horse Association, says their chaperon, Ann Neavill.

“These girls are going back with all kinds of great ideas that they learned from the summit – ideas to build their own association and to do some community work projects.”

Journal Coverage of the Region One Scholarship Show

  • August 16 – See who claimed all-around titles and look through more photos from the show in Monroe, Washington.
  • August 15 – Reiners, ranch riders and trail competitors take over the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe, Washington.
  • August 14 – Look through Day 1 photos, and meet the youth exhibitors down from Alaska and showing in Monroe, Washington.