As springtime comes around, we embrace the scent of the blossoms and freshly cut grass in the air. For those in the equine industry, spring also brings along different smells. The smell of fly spray mixed with leather soap and an assortment of other coat shining sprays lets us know that horse show season is officially underway in the Northeast.
The New York State Quarter Horse Association (NYSQHA) kicked off the 2022 show season with a bang. The first show of the season, held at the Cobleskill Fairgrounds May 13 – 15, showed hope for a promising show season.
Cobleskill’s barns and arena were filled with registered Quarter horses, competing in everything from halter to hunter under saddle classes and Western pleasure to barrel racing. With three judges (Susan Howe, Casey Devitt and April Devitt) throughout the weekend, there were many opportunities for horse and rider teams to gain both AQHA points and experience. Aside from the experience gained in the show arena, two generous trainers donated their time and presented clinics. Dodie Howard, and AQHA Professional Horseman, led a mini clinic to help exhibitors go through patterns in preparation for the next day of showing. NSBA World Champion Ricky Noiseux also hosted a Western pleasure demonstration.
With so much concern in the horse industry regarding high fuel prices, many people are unsure if they can afford to travel to horse shows that are far away. Because of this, horse shows across the country are seeing decreased numbers of participants. This is only the second year of showing for NYSQHA following the cancellation of all events in 2020. The recent cost increases have many people questioning how show associations across the nation will fare this year.
Despite concerns, the atmosphere in Cobleskill was a joyous one. People from across New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Pennsylvania and other Northeastern states were thrilled to be back in the show ring and to kick off the season. Many took to social media following the event to praise the new show management for a job well done and to share their best moments from the show.
The youth were well represented at their first in-person meeting and show. Many of the youth that competed will go on to represent the association at the All-American Quarter Horse Congress in October. Fundraising will be done at each show to help support the youth in their dream to compete on one of the biggest horse show stages.
The 2022 NYSQHA Queen also made her debut at the May show. This year’s queen, Emily Carey, will represent the association throughout the year and compete for the title of All-American Quarter Horse Congress Queen in October. Carey grew up in the horse industry on her family farm, Maple Woods Farm, in Sullivan County, NY. Becoming queen is not as simple as wearing a crown and smiling for pictures. Carey will complete a knowledge test on the current AQHA rule book, participate in an interview conducted by four judges and compete in a horsemanship class against other Quarter Horse Association Queens from across the country.
“I am so excited for this year and the journey it will take me on,” Carey said. “I can’t wait to see everyone’s success at Cobleskill this summer and hopefully watch many of them compete at Congress!” (Follow the queen’s journey on Facebook and Instagram by searching NYSQHA Queen.)
NYSQHA has three more shows scheduled for 2022: July 5 – 10, Aug. 19 – 21 and Sept. 10 – 11. All will take place at the Cobleskill Fairgrounds. To become a member of NYSQHA and to learn how to register for upcoming shows and support the youth association, visit nysqha.com.