Written by Rachel Florman, 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.