The Next Generation Dominates at Congress
October 7th, 2017Tweet
By: Barbara Aitken Jenkins
Whether a rider is just beginning the journey with their horse or still competing after years of experience, horses are for life. It is one of the best aspects of the horse industry.
For three young horse women who are lifelong riders, the 2017 Congress has been one to remember. Each young woman has won the Congress before and all three decided to come again. Their passion and dedication to the industry is evident not only in their competitive rides in the show pen, but the bond and love they have with their horses.
Emily Beavers calls Columbus, Ohio home which makes the Congress an extra special show. She has attended the show five times over the years, and has swiftly perfected the art of winning. In 2016 she won the Senior Youth Cutting and this year she walked out of the show pen as the 2017 NCHA $2,000 Limited Cutting Rider. Her partner, an 11-year-old gelding she affectionately calls “Preacher" who’s registered name is Scoot Over Here, was by her side every time.
“I just wanted to survive these tough cattle,” Beavers admitted. “We just went out there to try and cut clean and be pretty accurate on our cuts, and stop the cow. That’s what we did!”
Beavers currently works for Matt Williams Cutting Horses in Shelbyville, Kentucky. Although she travels to cutting shows across the country, showing at the Congress is unique.
“[The best part] is seeing everyone [who] comes here to show, which makes it a fun atmosphere,” she said. “Being able to show here is pretty awesome.”
The success continued as the youth dominated the Reining arenas with high scores.
With a score of 220.5, Emma Lane from Gates, North Carolina skyrocketed to the top of the 14-18 class to secure the Congress Championship title. The 14-year-old made her presence known in her first year in the age division. She is no stranger to the Congress Championship, as she was named the 2016 13 & Under Reining Champion at the 50th Anniversary show last year. She described her feelings after winning her consecutive title as “exciting!”
Her dad, who is her trainer/coach was just as excited and proud of his daughter although he could not be present at the show since he is a working farmer in the middle of harvest season. He was just a phone call away for Lane though.
“My dad has taught me everything," she said. "I definitely couldn’t do it without him.”
She rode her gelding, 9-year-old Gunner Gump, also known as Grump.
“I knew there were going to be a lot of good horses here this year in the older division, so I was not expecting to win," said Lane. "However, Grump, was really good and it definitely paid off."
In the 13 & Under Reining, 10-year-old Madison Rafacz from Citra, Florida dominated. Named the 13 & Under Champion this year, Madison won the NRHA Short Stirrup in 2015 and 2017 marks the fifth time she has shown at the Congress.
Rafacz is confident beyond her years and was really proud of her horse, 17-year-old, Better Not Rest. Rafacz calls him Cookie Monster “because he eats everything."
She said "He did really well in their pattern. He stops really good, you just have to ask him the right way.” In addition to showing, Racfacz's favorite part of the Congress is shopping, specifically for Breyer Horses and rhinestone show vests.
The future of the Congress and the future of the horse show industry looks bright with young men and women like Beavers, Lane and Rafacz taking charge both in and out of the arena.
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