Trying New Things

Exhibitor Laura Miller leases a horse to learn more during the 2017 Merial Region Nine Championships.

The American Quarter Horse Journal



Laura Miller of Mendenhall, Mississippi, is taking advantage of two relatively new AQHA programs to improve her show year.

Laura has leased a mare for 2017, and she has shown the horse in walk-jog western pleasure throughout the year.

While showing at the 2017 Merial Region Nine Championships, Laura called both programs learning opportunities all the way around.

“I had been searching to purchase a horse for quite some time and couldn’t find anything that would pass a vet check,” Laura said. “’Mary’ was in my trainer’s barn, and she became available so I jumped at the chance.”

Laura liked the Celebrate The Hour’s size and experience.

“She’s a real sweetheart,” Laura said. “She’s very personable. It doesn’t take a lot to get her ready.”

Mary is no stranger to regional and Level 1 competition.

In 2012, the 2008 chestnut mare by The Radical Hour earned the champion performance halter mare title at the Nutrena East Level 1 Championships with her owner, Debra Cole of Sumrall, Mississippi.

“I wouldn’t have let just anybody lease my mare,” Debbie said. “I trusted Laura a lot.”

Mary is out of Celebrate Chocolate by Zips Chocolate Chip and was bred by Grant Jones III of West Newton, Pennsylvania.

“We already went to the Farnam Central Level 1,” Laura said. “It was good. We got our names called in all three classes. We went to Central. We showed in halter, showmanship and trail.”

Laura enjoys trail most, she said.

“Just the challenge of the obstacles, trying to get there at the right spot,” she said. “We still don’t have our lope refined yet. Mary does it much better than I do. (Walk-jog western pleasure) was a great opportunity to get in the pen. We’ve been doing that all year.”

It’s a stepping stone, Laura said, allowing her to get in the pen before she competes in a walk-jog-lope horsemanship class.

In February, when the lease expires, Laura will be ready with a new horse she purchased in February. While Laura shows Mary, her trainer has been showing RR Shoot The Moon.

“We’re getting ready to hit the show pen with him next year,” Laura said.

In addition to being an office manager for a small animal practice, Laura spearheaded the efforts to raise money for a scholarship in memory of Andrew McBeath, who died August 20, 2016.

“The final tally was over $57,000,” Laura said. “We’re finalizing all the paperwork, and we hope to have that in place for the 2018 school year.”

Andrew was an active part of Mississippi Quarter Horse Association, and as a youth, he served as an AQHYA director for Region Nine. In his memory, the scholarship will be available for youth in Region Nine, Laura said.

“We had people from all over the country who helped and donated, and it was very rewarding,” Laura said. “We need to figure out how far the original money is going to get us and what we need to do going forward. As far as I know, we’re going to have a hospitality room at the 2018 Dixie Nationals that will be available for a donation.”