Goodbye is Not Forever

The 2016 American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup is over, but the memories will last a lifetime.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Austria Arnold and Teri Dawn Haws celebrate their teammates success June 30 at the 2016 American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup in Tamworth, Australia.

Austria Arnold, left, and Teri Dawn Haws celebrate their teammates success June 30 at the 2016 American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup in Tamworth, Australia. (Journal photo)

The Journal has asked members of teams competing at the 2016 American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup to share the experience of competing.

Events began June 23 as teams drew for their sets of horses. Teams from 13 countries will participate in clinics and compete in horse shows in Tamworth, New South Wales, Australia, before the awards banquet July 3.


Austria Arnold
Team USA
July 3, 2016

I wish that I could explain what the Youth World Cup is all about. Truthfully, I believe it is the kind of experience you almost have to live to understand. For as long as I can remember, I have been obsessed with the Olympics. I love movies about athletes aspiring to be Olympians, and I have read my fair share of books about what the Olympics are like for competitors.  I have always wanted a taste of the Olympic village, a playing of the national anthem after my victory, a handful of friends scattered around the globe. Somehow, the Youth World Cup gave me all those things and I feel so grateful.

Among my teammates, I found encouragers, teachers, ambassadors and most of all, friends. They each taught me something different about what it means to be a horseman and what it means to be an American. I watched them take tough horses and turn them into winners. I stood amazed as they handled defeat with grace.

I cheered as they returned to the arena for another go. My team makes me want to be better every day, and I am so grateful for the nine people that I will call friends forever. I am confident that what we have shared in this adventure will tie us together for years to come.

Just a few doors down from hotel room 134, I met athletes representing other countries, and they became dear friends. Whether they were from Australia or Italy or Israel or elsewhere, we found that our love for the American Quarter Horse could bridge any barrier. We learned about each other’s countries and even shared a taste of foreign cuisine.

By the end of our time together, we cheered as loudly for one another as we did for our own teammates. We rallied around one another and even learned cheers for countries that we did not call home. We stood as their national anthem was played and felt a connection because we were living this together. I cannot wait to watch their success in the future and I know that these are friendships that no time difference can extinguish.

Thank you to everyone who made this event possible. Thank you to the people who push me to be better.

I still remember being a little girl sitting at a table during a Texas Quarter Horse Association banquet and hearing Nancy Cahill talk about the Youth World Cup. I left that banquet with a dream to ride for Team USA. I must say even that the little girl did not realize how great being on Team USA could be. Of all the experiences in my youth career, it is the Youth World Cup that has left the largest impact on me. I am forever grateful.

A tearful goodbye to the Youth World Cup and cheerful hello to so many incredible memories.

Austria Arnold
Team USA
July 1, 2016

Another day down! Team USA had another successful day with two top-10 finishes in trail. We were able to re-evaluate after yesterday’s runs and improve specific techniques. Brock Murphy also led the team to a second- and third-place finish in reining. He looked great in his Winning Couture shirt and represented our team so well.

Tonight, our team headed to The Longyard for the fourth night in a row. We have become serious fans of this place. The heaters, great wifi and good food make it an awesome spot after a long day.

Tomorrow will be the final day of competition, and we are anticipating another busy day. Team USA currently has a nice lead over the other countries, but we are hoping to continue strong tomorrow. So sad to see the competition coming to a close. I have made great friends from around the world and I know that this competition will have a large impact on the rest of my life. I feel so blessed to be representing such a great nation!


Teri Dawn Haws
Team USA
June 30, 2016

It was a bitterly cold morning today in Tamworth. Team USA was the first team to arrive at AELEC, and immediately began rushing to prepare horses for Show A. Our horses were extremely fresh this morning, so they all needed a little extra lunging. After the chores were finished, my entire team jumped in to help scrub muddy legs, put in tail extensions, cut manes and polish the horses’ hooves. Before I knew it, Team USA competitors were pulling off the horses’ “rugs” and entering the show pen.

I was a nervous wreck waiting for names to be called during the showmanship awards presentation. Only one competitor from the USA was called back to the arena. Name after name was called, but the American flag was the last one standing.

Team USA members, coach, manager and parents stood proudly in the stands with our hands over our hearts, singing the greatest song on earth. I cannot begin to describe the feeling I received when the national anthem played for the third time throughout the Youth World Cup.

As the day progressed, the weather warmed up, and I nervously watched as Team USA competed in hunter under saddle and hunt seat equitation. The national anthem played for a second time and then a third! We had five gold medals!

Team USA ended before the lunch break with a clean slate! After not having any team members in the trail callbacks, Ellexxah Maxwell redeemed the team pace in horsemanship by winning Team USA's sixth gold medal. Two American flags stood high in the show pen, thanks to Hayley Riddle and her silver medal win. It was beginning to feel like deja vu hearing our country's anthem be played.

Between each class, Team USA’s leadership kids rushed back to the stalls to touch up each horse’s face grease and hoof black. I think it’s safe to say that we are the best pit crew around. Team USA placed sixth and fifth place in ranch riding this evening, adding several more points to our collection. We ended the day with a 47-point lead in the standings.

The past couple of days have been indescribable. Team USA rocked the karaoke, have made some priceless memories, and currently have six gold medals. Being a part of the Youth World Cup has been an incredible experience so far. My teammates are the family I never knew I had.

A victory for one is a victory for all of us.

Austria Arnold
Team USA
June 30, 2016

Another busy day is in the books! This morning, we started early and were at the barn by 6 a.m. We spent two hours preparing the show horses and making sure that all of our team’s competitors were ready. As today’s competitors lined up to compete, the rest of the team and I adorned ourselves in everything red, white and blue. We had a blast cheering on our teammates as well as the other competitors from around the world.

The Youth World Cup has been such an incredible experience to me for a number of reasons. I have had the opportunity to learn so much about other events. I spend most of my time at cuttings around the United States, so there is a lot that I do not understand about other events. I love hearing people talk about the different events that they compete in and why they love them so much.

While learning about many of these events, I had the honor of watching Team USA win four gold medals today among many other top-10 finishes. Team USA currently has a 47-point lead over the second-place team. We had a great day together, and I am sad to see the days left with my team flying by so quickly. Looking forward to another day of competition tomorrow!


Madelynne Herlocker
Team USA
June 28, 2016

“Good morning, Madelynne, I am the team manager of Team USA, and I have the pleasure of informing you that you have been selected to represent Team USA.”

That is the beginning of the email I got back in February, walking out of gym at my school. I reread it about 20 times before I started freaking out. I immediately tried calling my parents and my horse trainer, Jess, and of course, no one answered. I was standing in a hall with this news and had no one to tell. At that moment, I had no idea how amazing of an experience it would be.

My name is Maddie Herlocker and I am 18 (today!) I live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and have been riding since I was 6. My aunt got me into riding, and as soon as she got me on a horse, I never got off. This year, I was selected to be on the 2016 American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup Team and travel to Australia. My family decided to make a vacation out of it. Here is our story.

We started off the trip to Australia with Ann Elizabeth Tebow (who is also on the team) in Sydney. We got to go to the zoo, which was amazing. The bird show was the best part; the birds flew so close their wings hit our heads. We also got to see the festival of lights on the Sydney Opera House, and it was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

Next we traveled to Byron Bay because I love the beach. I was slightly scared, because when you tell people you're going to Australia, they always say everything wants to kill you. Nothing has wanted to kill me here yet except my siblings.

The first day, we walked up to a light house on the coast and saw whales, dolphins and some spectacular views. We woke up the next morning and went surfing, and no, I didn't see any sharks. I did fall off the surf board and scrape my knee. I didn't realize it was bleeding until I got out of the water, so I definitely could've been eaten by a shark, but I wasn’t.

Then we hopped in the van again and drove to Tamworth, where the Youth World Cup is. During our drive, we saw mounds of sand on the side of the road, so we got out to see some ants, and my brother — being super smart — decided to poke the ant hills. This made the ants really mad, and one bit Ann Elizabeth.

The first thing you need to know about the Youth World Cup is that Nancy Cahill and Michelle Tidwell, our coaches, are ALWAYS right. I am from Iowa, so I'm used to the cold. On all the phone calls, they kept saying, “It’s going to be cold so bring your long johns,” and I always said, “They're from Texas; they're just not used to the cold.” Oh, boy, was I wrong!

Yesterday was the coldest day in Tamworth in the past 20 years. I wish I would have brought more warm socks. Yesterday and Monday were full of clinics and riding. I’ve been helping Calley Huston with showmanship and I have been making her run, so she pretty much doesn't like me. We got roomed together, and we are the messiest ones on the team. You can’t see the beds or the floors in our room. It looks like an explosion of clothes, shoes, hair and blankets. We call it organized clutter.

On Sunday, Austria Arnold won the cutting for Team USA, and now I don't have a voice from cheering. Nothing prepares you for moments like those: The pride you feel for your country makes you want to cry. I recommend looking at the picture because we were pretty decked out for the USA.

We also karaoked one night. We practiced the words, because we rewrote some lyrics. “Party in the USA” turned into “Party With Team USA.” We also made a dance that we all forgot once we got in front of everyone. Except Brock Murphy because HE CAN GET DOWN.

Today, Team Japan made us a poster with “USA” written on it in calligraphy. All of the teams have bonded at this point, whether it be over the cold or the food, we will never know.

To wrap this up I would like to say a big thank you to all of our sponsors, Australia for hosting, our team coaches because who else would put up with us, and most importantly the parents. Thank you for flying us out, doing our laundry and getting us food while we are here. We couldn't do it without you.

Go, Team USA!

Austria Arnold

Team USA
June 27, 2016

As we spoke to teammates and coaches on many conference calls before arriving in Australia, they continued to remind us of one thing: It would be cold, very cold.

Somehow, despite having the knowledge that this Texas girl is cold if it is below 80 degrees, I thought I could handle it without much difficulty.

I was completely incorrect. According to sources, today was the coldest day in Tamworth in more than 20 years. Despite my two layers of pants and three layers of jackets, I stood bundled in blankets with my teammates as we all froze together. I guess that I should have paid a little more attention to the warnings of cold weather that were repeated so firmly.

This morning, we watched the horsemanship clinic while our teammates practiced the event alongside their competitors. The afternoon was of similar style with the ranch riding clinic followed by a free ride.

After watering horses and cleaning stalls, we headed to a team dinner with the other teams. Team USA returned to our hotel room after the dinner to celebrate the birthday of one of our teammates. It was a great evening of camaraderie, storytelling, and many laughs.

I am certain that so many lifelong friendships are being built at this time and I look with excitement to the coming days.

Austria Arnold
Team USA

June 26, 2016

What a day! This day goes somewhere at the top of my list of great memories. The day started out with a team breakfast, and then we arrived at the barn at 7 a.m. Once we arrived, I was able to head over to the barn where the cutting horses were stalled and meet my first mount of the day, Playin Moore aka “Mister.”

 

We spent a few hours with local cutting trainers getting a feel for our horses and working the flag. It is so cool to be in the practice pen and hear people from around the world speaking different languages while all working to similar goals. At 11 a.m., my teammate Brock Murphy got on my horse and I went to watch cows. The cows were really good, and I had a couple of cows that I liked still on my list when my turn arrived. Mister maneuvered through the herd easily and we were able to execute a really nice run. We marked a 76 and won the round! It was such an honor to see my flag raised because of my success in the cutting pen.

 

After lunch, we got a chance to work the flag on our second cutting horses. My second mount was Spinnies Spit N Image aka “Bridey” owned by Colin Jaeger. This nice mare was a lot of fun to show as well. We marked a 75 and won the second round! I am so appreciative that these great owners shared their horses with us today.

 

As they raised my country’s flag, I could not have been more proud to be an American or a member of Team USA. It truly is a surreal feeling. Hearing my country’s national anthem play brought tears to my eyes. Feeling the medal around my neck, I am reminded of all the people who helped get me to where I am today. Such a great day!

 

Austria Arnold
Team USA
June 23, 2016

How does one put into words all these feelings and emotions? I am not quite sure.

In the past three days, I have flown for 16 hours to a place halfway across the world. I have driven on the left side of the road as I watched an Australian Shepherd chase a kangaroo across the pasture. He eventually gave up and scurried back to his original task of bringing in the cattle.

I am now sharing a room with an incredibly accomplished equestrian and surrounded by a team of kids that I admire in so many ways. I can find competitors from Israel or Denmark or a wide array of other countries just a few doors down in either direction.

Today, for the first time in my life, they called the United States of America and I stood. They called for my country and I was the one who stepped forward to draw a horse. I am not sure that I can express that feeling of pride. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity and I am so excited for the coming days. Let’s go, USA!

 

Teri Dawn Haws
Team USA
June 24, 2016

Meeting my team for the first time and greeting them all with a hug was incredible.

However, nothing compares to the overwhelming feeling I received when I walked through the arena with my entire team for the first time during the opening ceremonies.

Hearing our country’s anthem being played and standing behind the greatest flag in the world gave me an amazing sense of gratitude.

Being surrounded by top competitors from all across the world is a feeling that I will never forget. I can’t help it think about how amazing it is that each one of us youth competitors has the exact same passion, the Quarter Horse.

My team and I had an immediate connection right from the beginning. Each one of us has competed against one another at one point throughout our youth career and now we’re all a team.

Despite the freezing Australian weather, Team USA had a great start to an amazing experience. Day One of the Youth World Cup was full of laughs, shivers, and the first of many memories.