Region Six Championships: July 18

This Level 1 exhibitor is learning to love showmanship.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Riley Dunn and Cooliza (Credit: Journal)

Showmanship has been Riley Dunn’s least favorite event.

“I used to hate showmanship,” said the youth from Mechanicville, New York. “My parents encouraged me to do all-around events, which included showmanship.”

Once he began having success in the class, he decided it wasn’t so bad.

“The class is all about perfection," he said. "Each win makes me want to strive for more and more perfection.. "In 2014, he finished 12th out of 107 at the Nutrena AQHA East Level 1 Championships and then traveled to Ohio to compete at the Congress. “I didn’t have very good goes at Congress, but it was only my first year legitimately competing in the class.”

Rather than getting discouraged, he was determined to improve his performances in 2015. Living in Upstate New York, the weather isn’t always cooperative. This past winter was especially brutal, with record snowfalls and subzero temperatures. Despite not having an indoor arena, Riley spent time practicing every day even if that meant watching goes from last year’s AQHA World Championship Show on YouTube.

Now that show season is here, Riley spends an hour practicing each day.

“I download different patterns and run through them,” he said.

He spends 15 minutes on each pattern before moving on to the next one to help his horse, Cooliza, stay tuned up for shows. Cooliza is a 2008 brown mare by Coolossal and out of Logan's Shadow (TB) by Sing Sing.

His hard work is paying off, especially at the 2015 Merial AQHA Region Six Championships.

During the opening day of the event, he won the showmanship championship.

“I do this all on my own," he said. "It means a lot to me to be able to win this title."

And he’s nearly certain that he is already qualified for the 2016 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show.

In addition to showmanship and western events, he is bringing along a hunter prospect, a 3-year-old gelding named Karmas Gunna Getcha by So Riveting and out of Logan's Shadow (TB) by Sing Sing.

“I don’t like the clothes so much, but I really like the way hunter horses move through the bridle,” he said.

The gelding has a lot of space in his knees so Riley plans to take it slow.

“I’ve been longeing him since he was a yearling, but I am giving him time to finish growing,” he said.

Outside the breed show circuit, Riley also competes in team roping events at local rodeos.

“My dad bought a really nice rope horse and encouraged me to give it a try,” he said. Even though he hasn’t had much time to travel to rodeos, he looks forward to attending several later this year.


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.