All-Arounds at Region Two

At the end of competition, all-around winners are named at the 2017 Merial AQHA Region Two Championships.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Sonya Gross and her homebred mare Hot Diggity Im Sweet are the Select all-around winners at the 2017 Merial AQHA Region Two Championships in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Sonya Gross and her homebred mare Hot Diggity Im Sweet are the Select all-around winners at the 2017 Merial AQHA Region Two Championships in Rapid City, South Dakota. (Larri Jo Starkey photo)

A long-term partnership and a knack for versatility fueled an all-around win for Sonya Gross of Napoleon, North Dakota, during the 2017 Merial AQHA Region Two Championships in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Sonya and Hot Diggity Im Sweet have been together since “Allie” was foaled out in 2007.

“She’s by Hot Diggity Joe and out of a mare that we had bought from Carol McWhirter for a broodmare,” Sonya said. “We showed her mother a little bit, too, and they both did good. She stole my heart from the time she was born. She was just a sweetheart. She went through her phases, like everybody else, but she’s been such a good girl.”

Sonya, who bred the mare with Myra Johnson, was there when Allie was foaled.

“Right away, I couldn’t believe how personable she was,” Sonya said. “She didn’t care if she left her mom. She wanted to see people.”

To earn the Select all-around buckle at the regional championship, Sonya and Allie competed in performance halter mares, showmanship, hunter under saddle, equitation, trail, horsemanship and western pleasure.

“It’s the second time I’ve been in that English saddle this summer,” Sonya said with a laugh. “It went well. I had hopes of the all-around, but I didn’t really want to set my goals that high. It’s always nice to try for that.”

Sonya, who describes herself as a stay-at-home farm wife, had planned to partially retire Allie this year. Her successor wasn’t quite show-ring ready, and Alli got a light schedule, just two horse shows.

When not showing, Allie prefers eating grass in her paddock, Sonya sid.

“She loves her treats,” Sonya says. “We stretch pretty frequently and she likes that.”

Sonya just hasn’t told Allie that the treat is a joint supplement that’s good for her.

Zoey Schlanser of Fargo, North Dakota, captured the youth 14-18 all-around title and the Level 1 youth 14-18 title with her mare Investing Gracefully.

“(This show has been) pretty fun,” Zoey said. “I won two buckles to start with and I got to hang out with all my friends, and then I got two all-arounds.”

In vesting Gracefully is a 2010 bay mare by Investing Wisely and out of Im Good All Over by Zippos Mr Good Bar. She was bred by Michel and Vicky Clites of Brookings, South Dakota.

“She’s just really calm and quiet and sweet, and I love her,” Zoey said. “Our favorite classes are hunt seat and trail. I like letting her go and feeling her float as we trot. It’s just really fun.”

Zoey and “Gracie” have been together three years.

“I’d like to thank my mom, Stacey, especially, because she’s always here for me,” Zoey said. “And Darren Buckle for being my trainer, and I’d like to thank all my friends for supporting me.”


Nichole D. Mathiason, Rolla, North Dakota, and Macs Good N Hot
2006 sorrel gelding by Macs Good N Plenty-Barbies Hot Rod by Hot Pretense
Breeder: Sharon Forbes-Hanks, Pilot Mount, Manitoba
Owner: Nichole Mathiason

Sonya M. Johnson Gross, Napoleon, North Dakota, and Hot Diggity Im Sweet
2007 sorrel mare by Hot Diggity Joe-Goodness Shes Sweet by Good Asset
Breeders/owners: Sonya Gross and Myra Johnson, Napoleon

Level 1 Amateur
Shelby Timperley, Norfolk, Nebraska, and DGS Indycogneato
2011 bay gelding by DGS Indygo-Charlie Chipped by Dont Skip Charlie
Breeder: Robin DeGraff, Port Clinton, Ohio
Owner: Shelby Timperley

Youth 14-18 and Level 1 Youth 14-18
Zoey Schlanser, Fargo, North Dakota, and Investing Gracefully
2010 bay mare by Investing Wisely-Im Good All Over by Zippos Mr Good Bar
Breeder: Michel and Vicky Clites, Brookings, South Dakota
Owner: Zoey Schlanser

Youth 13-&-Under
Emily F. Johnson, Black Hawk, South Dakota, and RPM Machine
2002 sorrel gelding by A Good Machine-Zippos Barpassers by Barpassers Missile
Breeder: Laurie Lynne Hartman, Lone Oak, Texas
Owner: Emily Johnson

Level 1 Youth 13-&-Under
Haley Jose, Helena, Montana, and WP Mr Deluxe
2009 sorrel gelding by QH Fancy Deluxe-A Sudden Exception by A Sudden Impulse
Breeders: Dwight and Patti Wielenga, Cedar Falls, Iowa
Owner: Haley Jose

Small Fry
Hailey Neumann, West Fargo, North Dakota, and Get Tuff
2006 bay gelding by Gotta Get Tuff-Two Time Jet by Brads Jet Pac
Breeder: Scott Foreman, Baxter, Iowa
Owner: Hattie Erickson, Britton, South Dakota

Better Get Sum Sleep
2013 bay gelding by Too Sleepy To Zip-Good Invested Miss by The Invester
Breeder: Jane Backes, Dallas, Texas
Owner: Shelby Biddlecombe, Claresholm, Alberta