What Matters? First Timers Matter.
Published Date: Sep 11, 2020
“No one can possibly know what is about to happen: it is happening, each time, for the first time, for the only time.” – James A. Baldwin
The World’s Championship Horse Show was truly a show of firsts this year. There were a lot of obvious firsts, but the amazing success of the first-time riders, trainers and owners, demonstrates that our industry has a bright future. This combined with the unbelievable support the first-timers had from the other riders, trainers and owners says a lot about our industry.
“For me, this an absolute dream come true,” said Christian Svennes, owner of three-year-old crowd favorite, Von Dexer. “Not only is this a show that I have been dying to come to for a long time, but to be able to bring an exceptional colt that my family bred is nothing short of a dream come true. Dexter has been so special since birth and I just knew that he deserved to be shown here.”
Some of the first time highlights include first-timer riders winning the 8 and under, 9 year-old, and 10 year-old walk & trot, and 14-year-old equitation classes Addyson Hamby, Alexis Hackney, Jacqueline Schatzberg, and Mackenzie Kasparian, to name a few. It includes trainers such as Courtney Huguley celebrating their first victory on the green shavings. It includes Amateur-Owner Trainers having success chasing their aspirations on our breed’s biggest stage, such as Phyllis Brannon training and exhibiting new hunter country pleasure partner Paddyngton’s Twilight to a 3rd place finish. It includes first-timers from successful careers with other breeds such as Christian Svennes a first-timer from the Arabian industry, and Alayna Locascio, the 2019 Equitation Triple Crown winner from the Morgan industry. It includes Ali DeGray giving one of her blue ribbons to first-time exhibitor Carrington Elliot making her first green shavings appearance in her final junior exhibitor year.
It was also a show of firsts for ASHA too. For the first time, ASHA was unable to host the first-timers in Freedom Hall and take a traditional group photo because of the COVID-19 restrictions. ASHA went into the show expecting to celebrate 50 registered first-time competitors. We were met with an outpouring of last-minute additions and worked to ensure the nearly 30 additional were recognized. First-timers still received ribbons, along with goody bags and t-shirts. Also, they were highlighted in the First-Timer Feature Pages and the First-Timer Exhibitor Videos with content submitted directly to ASHA.
With so much uncertainty around the World’s Championship Horse Show and horse shows in general, let’s celebrate all of the amazing first-time accomplishments that took place at Louisville and all of the other shows this year, too. Congratulations to all of the first-time riders, trainers, and exhibitors. You give us all something to look forward to and show that the future of our industry is in good hands.
First Timers Matter.