APHA Eastern National Championship entries give hope for growth of series

One of the great things about having the Virginia Horse Center in our backyard is the region gets to play host to some of the best equestrian competitions in the nation. Last weekend promised to be another one of those times with the APHA Eastern National Championship pulling into the facility for four days.

Competition was top-notch with quality horses being shown as one would expect of such a show. But the entries perhaps were a bit lighter than one would have thought of a national championship show.

APHA reports that the show drew 126 horses in 13 divisions. Most classes had fewer than 10 entries. So while it the show was run beautifully and had truly spectacular prizes, it didn’t, in the end, feel like a big show.

The show was aimed at bringing top-notch competition to new areas of the country.

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“By taking the excitement of a top-level event and bringing it closer to our Eastern Paint Horse exhibitors, we hoped to invite new faces to dream big and compete for these prestigious titles and awards,” Senior Director of APHA Events Holly Slaughter said. “We were thrilled to welcome several exhibitors competing with APHA for the first time, along with strong numbers in many divisions.”

The turnout and enthusiasm at the Eastern event indicate the growth potential for the National Championship series, APHA Executive Director Billy Smith says.

The Western National Championship is set for October 16–19 in Las Vegas.

“The interest shown for both our 2019 National Championships indicates a gap existing within our horse show landscape,” Billy said. “These national shows fulfill a need for regional exhibitors seeking the thrill of a prestigious championship-level event located a little closer to home. We’re optimistic about this series and look forward to growing them further in the future.”

Find class results, results by judge, scribe sheets and complete high-point and all-around placings here.

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Solid Paint-bred entries stand out at APHA Eastern National Championship

Tabitha Thompson of Fincastle and her mare Too Tuf To Be Fancy.

Written by APHA News

Solid Paint-bred exhibitors are shining bright at the Eastern National Championships, held March 22–24 at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Virginia. The inaugural National Championship boasted more than 100 per-judge entries across Open, Youth, Amateur and Amateur Walk-Trot Solid Paint-Bred divisions by Saturday afternoon. Preliminary entry reports for the show are more than 800 per judge.

With bountiful opportunities to compete, solid Paint-bred exhibitors like Tabitha Thompson, of Fincastle, Virginia, enjoyed demonstrating their horse’s versatility. Tabitha raised Too Tuf To Be Fancy, a 2012 bay solid mare by The Ultimate Fancy and out of Hosan Forties (QH) since she was a weanling. The duo demonstrated their versatility at the Eastern National Championship Show, competing in Amateur Solid Paint-Bred halter, showmanship, ranch, equitation and showmanship events.

“We’re here to do a little bit of everything,” Tabitha laughed. “I only live 30 minutes away, so coming here was a no-brainer. The show has been great; we’ve gotten a couple of trophies and a few placings. I’m pleased with how we’ve done!”

High interest and a strong regional community of active solid Paint-bred exhibitors led to expanded class offerings, Senior Director of APHA Events Holly Slaughter says.

“We had great enthusiasm and interest from solid Paint-bred owners in the area. After reviewing the large number of class requests and examining participation in the area, we were excited to offer a full slate of solid Paint-bred classes—including Solid Paint-Bred Amateur Walk-Trot,” Holly said. “We’re excited for the turnout, and we hope to continue to grow our solid Paint-bred classes at future National Championships.”

Youth exhibitor Maryann Johnson of Drewryville, Virginia, took to social media to encourage entries; a member of Rock Solid World Tour, a Facebook group dedicated to organizing and encouraging solid Paint-bred exhibitors across the country, Maryann and fellow exhibitors created a spreadsheet of their planned entries to share with others.

“Networking is huge,” she said. “The spreadsheet let others know who was coming and in what events, so that they could better decide if they should make the trip. We communicate heavily on Facebook to see who is coming, and it really works!”

Maryanne brought Zippos Sweet Te, a 2010 dun solid mare by Zippos Goldn Mover and out of Blues Cup Of Te (QH), to the Eastern National Championship Show. Though they’ve seen great success at regional APHA, 4-H and Open shows, Maryann says the cost and distance makes attending the APHA World Championship Shows difficult. The National Championship brought the prestige and excitement of a top-level show to her area, she says.

“This might be as close to a high-level show as we can get—and it’s right in our backyard!” she said. “The turnout has been great, too—it’s fun to compete against other Youth [in the Youth Solid Paint-Bred division]. We like to win, but we also like to have a lot of fun.”

Inaugural APHA Eastern National Championship draws big dreamers to Virginia

Written by , Paint Horse Journal 

Excitement buzzed in the crisp air as the inaugural Eastern National Championship kicked off March 22, at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Virginia. Designed to bring more top-level opportunities to Paint lovers in different areas of the country, the 2019 Eastern National Championship is already seeing strong turnout and entries; Paint lovers from all walks of life are in attendance, dreaming of good rides and the coveted championship trophies.

Cheyenne Davis of Bedford, Virginia, is one such dreamer, and she spent 10 days prior to the National Championship counting down to the big event on Facebook, reflecting on her progress and memories with Stripes Little Swan, a 2003 bay overo gelding by Jedi Stripe and out of One Black Filly (QH).

“I have a tendency to think about backing out of things, so I thought that a countdown would make me really excited—and not nervous—about being here,” she explained. “Because I am excited to be here! It feels like such a blessing to have this kind of opportunity for ‘Levi.’ ”

Cheyenne’s aunt, Brenda Spencer, purchased Levi at an auction for $900 as a yearling. First intended as a pony horse on the racetrack, Levi instead became a stellar trail-riding mount before spending several years out to pasture; he didn’t begin his transformation into a show horse with Cheyenne until his 9-year-old year.

With hard work, determination and a strong support group cheering on their progress, Cheyenne and Levi soon stepped up to APHA competition, where currently compete in Amateur Walk-Trot all-around events.

“We showed our first Paint show in 2016, and we even won a couple of our classes—I was so excited! I’m just this girl from ‘Nowhere, Virginia,’ with a $900 horse,” Cheyenne laughed. “We won a whopping three APHA points at that first show, and I was so proud; I’m still proud of those points.”

When the Eastern National Championship Show was announced, Cheyenne knew it was a can’t-miss opportunity to show off how far they’ve come.

“I wasn’t planning on coming at first but the more I let it stew, the more something was telling me that I just had to come to this national show,” she said. “My plans are to take him to the APHA World Championship Show someday, but I’m not sure if that will happen; the National Show is my chance to give Levi the opportunity he deserves to do something big. I’m really excited; I’m just so happy to be here.”

The 2019 Eastern National Championship continue throughout the weekend; stay up-to-date on show entries and results by downloading the Cinch Horse Show Tracker app, available for Apple and Android smartphones. Find candid photos, updates and more via APHA’s Facebook and event page.