Over the Fences With Love

Amateur exhibitor Jordan Gross finds success in AQHA competition with the 'best horse ever.'

AQHA Professional Horsewoman Virginia Beaton, left, stands with her amateur client Jordan Gross and Smile N Nod at the 2018 Nutrena East AQHA Level 1 Championships in Wilmington, Ohio. According to Jordan, "Peter" is the best horse ever. (Larri Jo Starkey photo)

“That’s my horse,” Jordan Gross said proudly during a Ride the Pattern clinic at the 2018 Nutrena East AQHA Level 1 Championships.

At the clinic, AQHA Professional Horsewoman Virginia Beaton rode the equitation over fences pattern while AQHA Professional Horsewoman Becky Meadows.

Virginia was mounted on Smile N Nod, a 2010 bay gelding by Do You Have A Minute and out of Ima Fancy Trip by Triples. He was bred by Bruce Brown of Versailles, Kentucky.

He is also, according to Jordan, the best horse ever.

“I love him so much,” Jordan said. “He gets all the treats: carrots, apples, cookies, mints.”

It wasn’t love at first sight.

“The first time I saw ‘Peter,’ he got off the trailer at 2 in the morning from Arizona, where my aunt lives, and I was like, ‘He is GORGEOUS.’ But he was a little mouthy so he had to give me a first little good-luck bite. I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ But after I got to ride him and know him, I was hooked. He’s my best friend.”

Jordan has been riding with Virginia for about a year, about the same amount of time she has been competing in AQHA shows.

“I went to a few shows and Congress and got hooked,” she said “Now I can’t stay away. I love how people are so nice. There are so many options. You can do the western, you can do the English. You can do anything.”

Now that Jordan has been exposed to some western classes, she has a hankering to try ranch riding.

“Virginia tells me every time, ‘No, you cannot do the ranch riding,’” Jordan said. “But if I keep asking, I’m sure she’ll let me do it eventually.”

So for the Nutrena East, it was over-fences classes only, where Jordan and Peter were first in equitation over fences and second in working hunter and hunter hack.

“It was so amazing,” she said. “I had such a great time. I really owe it all to Amy Hanson and Virginia Beaton and really the best horse ever.”

That’s Peter, in case you didn’t know by now.