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ASHA Youth Conference Features Field Trip and Awards

Story and photos by Nicole Laroussa

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Saturday was a busy day for those who attended the youth conference. Friday night featured a pizza party and dance, and Saturday began with a breakfast. Then the large group in attendance boarded four buses and went off to visit the American Saddlebred Museum, Walnut Way Farm and Willowbank Farm.

First stop was the American Saddlebred Museum, located at the Kentucky Horse Park. The new exhibit “For The Love Of A Horse - Children and Saddlebreds” was a huge hit. Everyone visited the many different exhibits and took advantage of the fabulous shopping opportunities that the museum had to offer.

One of the more popular exhibits was the “Saddle Up A Saddlebred” which had the youngsters waiting in line have their pictures taken. Other exhibits featured important horses and people who were influential in the history and expansion of the American Saddlebred, including videos from past world’s champions making their victory passes at Louisville’s Freedom Hall and a video titled “The Saddle Horse Show” which showed the Saddlebred’s role in history from the settling of this country to the Civil War to the show ring of today.

Nicole Laroussa and Ashley Baird enjoyed

the “Saddle Up A Saddlebred”

exhibit at the museum.

Walnut Way Farm provided several different activities for the group. They held a riding demonstration of exercises they teach students including toe touches, ankle and shoulder exercises, windmills and stretching exercises. All are designed to increase balance, flexibility and body awareness.   

At Walnut Way Farm, demonstrations showing

special exercises were popular with the group.

The horse trivia contest, with prizes for the winners, was also a big hit. Kaleb Kaiser and Erin Blankenbecklor won the 10 and under age group. The 13 and under winners were Mary Heretses and Samantha Peterson. Dylan Peterson, Lindsey Merrill and Lissy Wedell won the 14-17 age group.


A pair of Walnut Way Friesians gave a beautiful presentation to showcase their versatility. CH Wind Cruzer, a show pleasure mount, and All About It, a young five-gaited horse also made an appearance and showed off their different gaits. All About It had the honor of wearing CH Imperator’s bridle.


The youth were also very interested in watching the demonstration of riding and driving two horses at the same time, an exercise that requires great control and concentration.

The Youth Awards Luncheon was held at Claudia Sanders Dinner House in Shelbyville and was sponsored by the McGinnis family of Fishers, Ind.


Corie Jean Allen and Briann Sells

showed off their awards received

at the youth luncheon.

A delicious buffet of macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes with gravy and rolls was followed by an ice cream sundae bar for dessert. Everyone received a gift bag that contained a Shelbyville, Ky. horse cup and extra goodies.

At Willowbank Farm, the group’s final stop, everyone gathered to see the amazing stallions Undulata’s Nutcracker and Ocean’s Roar as they showed off their beauty and skills.


Later, while everyone walked around and visited the other stallions and broodmares, a beautiful white Cockatoo was brought out and performed some amazing tricks for the group.

Everyone then headed down to the young horses’ barn to see all the weanlings and young colts and fillies. One weanling that got everyone’s attention was a black colt born on Valentine’s Day.


Hannah Love and the Krussell Stables

youth group enjoyed the day’s activities.


Juvenile Choice Awards:

5-Gaited Junior Exhibitor (14-17) - Colonial Hoss and Justin Cowley

5-Gaited Pony - Moon Charmer and Tyler Miles

3-Gaited Junior Exhibitor (14-17) – Ostentatiously and Brittany McGinnis

3-Gaited Junior Exhibitor (13-under) - Can You Hear Me Now and Hunter Chancellor

3-Gaited Pony – Attaché Orchid and Hunter Chancellor

5-Gaited Show Pleasure Junior Exhibitor – She’s Gone Blonde and Callie Smith

3-Gaited Show Pleasure Jr. Exhibitor (14-17) - CH Blackberry Delight and Rachel Machamer

Show Pleasure Driving Junior Exhibitor – CH Advantage Me and Aliyah Asch

Country Pleasure Jr. Exhibitor (14-17) – CH He Walks On Water and Sarah Werry 

Country Pleasure Jr. Exhibitor (13-under) – Undulata’s Paper Doll and Brandi Parker

Equitation 14-17 – Brittany McGinnis

Equitation 13 & Under - Callie Smith

Equitation 10 & Under Walk/Trot/Canter- Courtney McGinnis

Equitation 10 & Under Walk and Trot – Caroline Cherry and CH In Neon ERB 

Pleasure Equitation 14-17 – Emily Abbott

Pleasure Equitation 13 & Under – Nick Maupin

Youth Clubs of the Year:

History - Biggins Bridle Bunch

Membership - White Star Show Stoppers

Meetings/ Programs – Mighty Matlocks

Educational Activities - Rockin’ Riders

Community Service – Walnut Way Wild Riders

Fundraising - White Star Show Stoppers

Promotions - Blue Willow Brigade

Overall Youth Club of the Year - White Star Show Stoppers

ASHA Photo Contest Awards:

Sarah Hinds – 14-17 Winner, with photo titled “Majestic Mare”

Nathan Hinds – 13 & Under Winner, with photo titled “Enjoying Retirement”


ASHA Youth High Point Awards:

Sponsored by Kay Richardson and Jennifer Richardson DelBosque

14-17 – Corie Jean Allen

13 & Under  – Nathan Hinds

ASHA Showmanship At Halter Awards:

Sponsored by Woodwind Farm

Region 3/4 – Elizabeth Wisdenburrg 

Region 5 - Corie Jean Allen, Amanda LeBlanc, Briann Sells

Region 8 - Jennifer Connelly
Region 11 - Megan Addie

National Award- Corie Jean Allen

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