It’s Not the Moments That Make You Successful

AQHYA President Ann Elizabeth Tebow reflects on the friendships, memories and valuable experiences gained from holding an AQHYA leadership position.

The American Quarter Horse Youth Association

2015-2016 AQHYA Officers at the 2015 Bank of America Youth Excellence Seminar.

Is there an event or experience in your life you know has made you the person you are today? Or are you looking for a place to plant your roots—a place where you can make a difference? For me, I know without a doubt my involvement in AQHYA has been all of these things and so many more.

My time spent as a member of the AQHYA leadership team has truly changed my life. It has blessed me with more friendships, valuable skills, experiences and memories than I could possibly count. When I started this journey nearly three years ago, I was a completely different person. I was a very shy, timid 15-year-old, and eager to get involved, but felt way in over my head. That year I was lucky enough to be elected as an AQHYA Region 8 director, and from that very moment I began to grow exponentially as a person. At the time, it was very hard for me to get out of my shell and talk to new people and getting up in front of a large crowd was almost unimaginable. My family left after the Bank of America Youth Excellence Seminar to head back home to Oklahoma, and I was left on my own in Amarillo for training. After a few hours, I nearly forgot about my family all together. I will remember that weekend for the rest of my life. I instantly began forming a bond with many of the people who are now my dearest friends, and I immediately began learning tools to help me blossom into the person I am today. I owe a very large part of this to the older officers and directors who took me under their wings and helped me learn to be comfortable and confident in my own skin. They were, and still are, amazing role models to me. From that time I made it a goal to work toward becoming a strong leader like them.

Today, I have served in the positions of Region 8 director and AQHYA treasurer, and I currently have the honor of serving as the AQHYA president. Over the years, I have gained so many skills in areas such as public speaking, leadership, organization and teamwork that I know I will carry with me for the rest of my life. The shy, timid little girl I used to be can now stand confidently and talk in front of groups of hundreds of people and will run up and introduce herself to any new person she sees.  I owe it all to the encouragement and help of the other members of the AQHYA leadership team I have had the opportunity of serving with. I cannot fully express how much this experience, and the people and lessons that have come along with it, have impacted my life.

There was a point in my journey where I felt like gaining the title of AQHYA president would have this huge effect on my life. I just knew when I heard them call my name after the elections I would feel this rush of success pour over me. But the moment could not have been any different. Yes, of course, I was overwhelmed with excitement, but I still felt like normal ol’ me. That day I learned one of the most important life lessons so far. I felt like my normal self in that moment—not because it wasn’t special, but because I realized it wasn’t the moment that made me successful, but all the friendships, memories and valuable experiences I gained along my way that were the true successes.

Not all members who have been a part of the AQHYA leadership team have gained the same experience from it that I have. This experience, just like many others throughout life, is all about give and take—if you are involved and actively participating, I promise it can change your life in ways unimaginable. It can be a lot of hard work at times, and for some it is easy to get discouraged, but with the massive support system we have built up, success as a member of the AQHYA leadership team is obtainable for anyone. If a little girl from small-town Oklahoma can work her way up to becoming the AQHYA president, I am confident you can do anything you set your mind to.

I feel so blessed to have been granted this opportunity to give back to this Association that has done so much for me, and hope you too may feel the calling to serve this amazing organization and our beloved American Quarter Horse.