The First-Time Champion
Courtney Hall rides a borrowed horse to a win at her first AQHA show.
By AQHA Media Intern Alexis Shanes | June 16, 2017
The American Quarter Horse Journal
Most folks do not win trophy belt buckles at their first horse show. Courtney Hall is an exception.
The Creighton, Missouri, exhibitor won Rookie and Level 1 amateur hunt seat equitation at the 2017 Merial AQHA Region Eight Championships June 16 – her first time to compete at an AQHA event.
“Two of my friends, my roommates, showed Quarters forever,” Courtney says. “They had gone to Region Eight the past few years, and they were like, ‘this year, you should come with us.’”
Courtney did just that. She borrowed Wood Ya Sleep Withme, a 2009 sorrel gelding by Too Sleepy To Zip and out of Shesa Slippin Chick by The Invester, from friend Audrey Miesner, for her successful debut on the AQHA circuit.
Both Courtney and Audrey are showing the gelding in all-around classes at the Merial Region Eight – Courtney in amateur and rookie, and Audrey in youth.
“He’s a trooper,” Courtney says. “He won all his hunt classes today. He’s awesome, super funny and has a quirky personality.”
Courtney might be new to the Quarter Horse circuit, but she says she has been horseback as long as she can remember.
“I started riding when I was 8 months old,” Courtney says. “I grew up on a beef cattle operation, and my mom had a small horse operation. I’ve just always been with them.”
As a youth, Courtney competed in all-around events at American Paint Horse Association, American Pinto Horse Association and Palomino Horse Breeders Association events. During her undergraduate career as an agriculture student at Missouri State University, she rode for the school’s Intercollegiate Horse Show Association team in horsemanship and reining.
“It taught me a lot about riding and how to be on new horses, and how to figure them out in a certain amount of time and be successful,” Courtney says.
Although her first wins came in hunt seat events, Courtney says horsemanship is her favorite class.
“It’s a true test,” Courtney says. “I like how it’s judged mainly on you and it shows how much of a connection you have with your horse.”
In hopes of continuing her AQHA show career, Courtney recently bred a mare to western pleasure sire VS Code Blue.
For now, she is heading back to Missouri State to earn her master’s degree in agriculture and conduct agricultural communications research.
“I’m thinking, in the future, I’m going to go the public relations route in the ag industry, hopefully the equine-based side of it,” she says.
“I just love the Quarter industry.”