Walk-Trot Classes Debut at AQHA Level 1 Championships

These exhibitors have two different reasons for competing in AQHA walk-trot classes.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Kimbra Asqueta and A Certain Rockstar compete in AQHA walk-trot classes to get Kimbra's confidence back. (Journal photo)

As Kimbra Asqueta exited the arena fourth out of four in her amateur walk-trot hunter under saddle class, she still celebrated a victory – regaining her confidence in her horse and in their partnership.

In 2016, AQHA began offering walk-trot classes to give exhibitors – or their horses – yet another way to begin showing with AQHA. An exhibitor will not point-out of walk-trot, nor will the walk-trot points count toward an exhibitor’s Level 1 eligibility.

“I have only had ‘Gibs’ a year,” she says. “I had come uncorked with my other horse, and I went and found something that’s quiet and we’re back.”

The Nampa, Idaho, department of motor vehicles employee isn’t a newbie to showing horses.

“I showed a lot in the 1990s, but I took a break because – for lack of a better explanation – I got uncorked with my horse,” she explains. “These walk-trot classes are helping me get my confidence back. I just needed something quiet – Gibs – to put me back together. I’ve been in love with him since the day I saw him.”

Gibs is a 2007 bay gelding by Certain Potential and out of Impulsions Hobby by Impulsions. Gibs has amateur and youth performance Registers of Merit and won the Level 1 amateur horsemanship class at the 2016 AQHA Central Level 1 Championships.       

Kimbra admits she was a ball of nerves going into the first class of Day 2 at the 2018 AQHA West Level 1 Championships.

“I got my hunt seat cap on my head as I was going down the alley to the pen because I’d left it in my hotel room,” she explains. “So, I was really nervous. I just wanted to be able to get in the ring and know that I could go around without having anything come undone. It was great to have that ability to do that on a lower level.”

Kimbra was entered in walk-trot hunt seat equitation, western pleasure, horsemanship and trail, as well as Level 1 Select showmanship.

Tricia Welnel and Dirty As I Wanta B compete in AQHA walk-trot classes. (Journal photo)

While Kimbra used the walk-trot classes to build her own confidence, self-assured Tricia Welnel of Helena, Montana, was using the entry-level classes to bring along her 3-year-old gelding, Dirty As I Wanta B.

“This is only his second show with me,” says Tricia, as she is trying to redirect “Dirty’s” attention away from the warm-up-pen television monitors that have him agitated. “I have had him since last summer. I love his personality; he’s so quiet … he’s taking everything in … well, except the TV monitors … in stride. That’s really the first thing that has gotten him since we got here.”

Tricia saw the walk-trot classes at the West Level 1 as a chance to take things slow with her four-legged youngster, who is by Dirty Impression and out of Wreckless Racheal by Wreck Less Joe. Dirty won the amateur and open 2-year-old geldings class at an AQHA Regional Championships in 2017 and placed third in the 2-year-old western pleasure class at that same show.

“He’s 3,” she says. “There’s less pressure. And since he’s growing and pretty hip-high, we want to avoid cantering until he levels out a little bit to save joints, and I want him to like his job when he gets older. He’s more confident and more comfortable in the easier classes right now.

“So far, he loves his job. He’s the first one at the gate,” she adds. “He likes to come in and work, he loves to go to shows … and I want him to stay that way.”

Tricia, who is an administrative law judge for the state of Montana, is no stranger to the show pen.

“I started showing when I was 5 or 6,” she says, adding that riding and showing horses is great stress relief.