Region Six Championships: July 17

The Merial AQHA Region Six Championships celebrates its 10th year.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

2015 Merial AQHA Region Six Championships (Credit: Journal)

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Merial AQHA Region Six Championships kicked off on July 17 at the Eastern States Exposition Center in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

The show began with showmanship, hunter hack, hunter under saddle and hunt seat equitation. By mid-day, Friday entries tallied 1,251.

“With western events scheduled for this weekend, we expect entries to continue increasing,” said Donna Rosciti, Region 6 president and chairwoman of the event.

Held in conjunction with the Region 6 Super 6 Series, exhibitors have the opportunity to earn six sets of points and compete for Level 1 (formerly Novice) awards that include Montana Silversmiths buckles, WeatherBeeta blankets and Professional’s Choice boots.

Region 6 encompasses AQHA members from Connecticut north through New England, Quebec and the Maritimes. Exhibitors eagerly look forward to this event, the largest in New England.

“People like to come here. The event has a big time feel to it,” said AQHA Professional Horsewoman Gretchen E. Mathes, owner of Powder Brook Farm and gold sponsor of the event.

There are good-quality horses and riders here.

"The Level 1 youth classes are huge and required splits,” said AQHA judge Scott Neuman of Billings, Montana, who also judged the scorching-hot Region Eight Championships in June in Amarillo, Texas. “The weather here is perfect."

AQHA Professional Horseman Larry Little of Mebane, North Carolina, served as the second judge for the event.

After a long day of showing, exhibitors are treated to an exhibitor party each evening. Over the past decade, two special events have become an annual tradition. An Aisle Hop brings together exhibitors and trainers from around the region and features a of Battle of the Barns. Each barn decorates their stall fronts and showcases a favorite dish or non-alcholic beverage.

“This is a really fun show. I love to see everybody and meet up with friends and watch them compete,” said Onna Downey, the 2015 Massachusetts AQHA Princess. “The leadline class is my all-time favorite class. It’s amazing to see the smile on the kids' faces when I give them their award."

The most entertaining class of the weekend show is the Ladies Western Pleasure, a fundraiser for the Baystate Children’s Hospital. Open to male riders only, the exhibitors dress in the best ladies outfit they can create. Complete with wigs, fish net stockings and high heels it’s a sight to see.

Dressed in women’s best, Jeremy Mimitz of Skyz The Limit Performance Horses in South Windsor, Connecticut, and Ricky Noiseux of Preston, Connecticut, raised $800 during the 50/50-split calcutta-style event. Fans in the stands declared a tie.

“I do this for the kids and because it raises money for a good cause," Ricky said. "The 'Ladies Pleasure' is about having fun, and that’s what this show is all about."

Located within close proximity to the city of Springfield, Massachusetts, “people can come watch an event and see and pet a horse. It gets people in touch with the industry and Quarter Horses in particular,” Gretchen concluded.


Journal Coverage of the Region Six Championships

  • June 19 – A Luxembourg youth joins the fun and competes at the 2015 Merial AQHA Region Six Championships.
  • July 18 – This Level 1 exhibitor is learning to love showmanship.
  • July 17 – The Merial AQHA Region Six Championships celebrates its 10th year.