Jeff Lebbin has been invited to be a headliner clinician at the 2015 Michigan Horse Council Stallion Expo. He will be presenting an obstacle clinic and introduction to AHCA. Several Michigan members have volunteered to help demonstrate the obstacles along with Jeff and his stallion, Smart Poco Equalizer. Michigan friends don’t miss the demonstrations and visit us at the AHCA booth. Visit the link below for times and more info.
It’s Advisory Board Election Time
This year we are electing six new members to the advisory board. Four members will serve a two year term replacing the board members that have completed their term. Two members will serve a one year term, completing the positions vacated by Nina Kowalski and Jimmie Lyles. Both Jimmy and Nina resigned their position due to time commitment restraints. We thank all outgoing board members for their time and input on AHCA matters.
Below are AHCA members who have accepted the nomination to serve on the advisory board. Please vote for six. A ballot is attached at the end and can also be found on the website. Your ballot can be mailed to AHCA, PO Box 350, Swartz Creek, MI 48473 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or private message Rhonda Miller-Lebbin on FB. Only members with current regular memberships are eligible to vote. Please include your AHCA number (if you know it) on your ballot. It would be appreciated if you would return your ballot by March 1, 2015.
I started riding horses with my grandfather before I could walk. I snuck out and climbed on my first solo ride at age two and a half. My mom gave in and I got a horse of my own when I was four years old. I started showing horses at age eight and won my first championship at the age of nine. Horses have been my life’s work since I started professionally training at age ten and continue to enjoy training horses and teaching people about these amazing creatures today. My favorite classes have always been cutting, reining, and trail. My office is filled with trophies and trophy saddles but my greatest accomplishments are found in the accomplishments of the people I have instructed over the years. I live, as I have always lived, just west of Zachary, Louisiana, near the Mississippi River on the beautiful property of Piddlers Paradise, the land of my ancestry. I have been an AHCA member and judge from its beginning. I was one of the judge’s at the 2014 National Finals.
Melissa Blankenship is a lifelong resident of Michigan. She grew up in the small town of Gregory and now resides in the country near Fowlerville. Melissa lives with her husband, Adam, and 23 year old son, Nathan. She owns several horses presently. Banking has been Melissa’s career for 27 years as she is now Banking Center Manager for Talmer West Bank in Brighton, Michigan.
Melissa’s passion for horses has been with her whole life. She is a committed partner in an equine lifestyle and looks to advocate for fellow horse and rider. As a child and young adult she grew up riding horses that belonged to friends and neighbors. Finally at age 22, she was able to buy her first horse, Sophie, and still has her today.
Through owning, riding, and years of lessons and training, Melissa has learned many aspects of the horse and horse world. She has competed in barrel racing with NBHA. She has shown with FQHR and various open shows, competed with EXCA, and currently with AHCA. She has helped her son and other young people with equine “Special Olympic” events at AHCA along with helping her nieces and nephews become horse lovers through 4-H and AHCA.
This year, Melissa is planning to show her five year old QH mare, “Vanna,” in reining and AHCA as well as enjoy play days doing cow events, trail riding, and camping with her horse.
Hi! I’m Morgan Currier, and I’d love to be an AHCA advisory board member. I had the privilege of meeting many of you at 2014 Nationals, and really enjoyed learning from all of you. I love this association, and enjoy the creativity aspect along with the horsemanship. I am a member of the affiliate group, Middle of the Mitten AHCA. My background ranges from Saddleseat to western pleasure, I have competed in almost every class out there, and enjoy learning the rules and standards of a specific organization and then challenging myself to meet or exceed the expectations, and always push myself to be a better horseman. I’ve really enjoyed the AHCA and would love an opportunity to help others and give back to such a great organization by being an AHCA advisory board member.
I have been involved in horses as long as I can remember. As a teenager/young adult, I worked at a large thoroughbred farm in Mississippi, where I handled many horses, from weanlings to stallions. My wife and I have an Arabian breeding farm, and we have/have had horses involved in many disciplines, including Working Cow, English, Hunter, Western Pleasure, Competitive Trail, and AHCA events. My wife is a current AHCA AA judge who judged the 2013 National Finals for AHCA and we have worked side by side, discussing AHCA and its inner workings. I am currently on the Board for Horsemen of Arkansas, an AHCA affiliate, and have been in charge of course design and the running of the club. I am also a Board member for the American Bully Kennel Club, so am accustomed to being involved in major decision making. For me, ethics is a tremendous part of the success of any organization, and it will affect the way I make any decision regarding an organization.
I’m Kim Kretzschmar, a Charter member of AHCA and the proud human mom of 4 horses. My first horse, Penelope, is part Holsteiner, Quarter Horse, and Thoroughbred. Her half brother, Franz, is a Holsteiner. About 6 years ago, Penelope decided that the stall door keeping her from me and her brother was really no obstacle to her and, to my surprise, “removed” the obstacle (if it had been shorter she may have jumped it like a real AHCA obstacle!). This is how my journey began with Jeff and Rhonda Lebbin and AHCA. I moved my horses to the Lebbin’s and we all became students of Jeff. Shortly after, I bought Junior, my Paint/Percheron out of Jeff’s stud, Pedro. Junior is my rock-ok, a rock that sometimes likes to rear and fly through the air over certain obstacles! But, I’ve grown and learned to love AHCA clinics and challenges-even when we don’t do as well as we would like. Three years ago I became blessed with my last horse, Maverick, after breeding Penelope to Jeff’s award winning stud, Smart Poco Equalizer (“Smarty”). Maverick is also being trained by Jeff with hopes that he too will be able to compete in the AHCA challenges.
As a member of AHCA, I believe in the mission of promoting horsemanship and sportsmanship. Through the clinics and challenges, I’ve also experienced firsthand the camaraderie within the competitive setting. I am committed to improving my horsemanship skills. AHCA and my friends within AHCA help me do that every time I ride. I am also committed to seeing all AHCA horses and riders perform to the best of their ability while being encouraged along the way. For these reasons, I ask that you consider me as one of the newest members of the Advisory Board. As one of my grandma’s favorite cowboys used to sing, “Happy trails to you, until we meet again!”
Hello everyone, my name is Michelle Mitchell. I currently live in Raeford, NC. I am honored to have been nominated for an Advisory Board member. I have been riding and competing since I was a little girl. Horses were my first love and I thoroughly enjoy time spent with my horses and horsey friends! I have served on different boards over the last 20 years and enjoyed the challenges that each brought. I love all that the AHCA stands for – good friends, good horsemanship, good competition, good courses, as well as good horses! An association like this doesn’t just happen! It takes a lot of teamwork both during the season and the off season. I appreciate those that had the vision, and the drive, 4 years ago to create the AHCA. I would love to represent you and the AHCA for the next 2 years.
Hello, my name is Dan Mohr and I have been involved in breeding and raising draft horses for the past 31 years. They have been a passion since I was a young man. I started out with just two Morgans and one Belgian. Now the herd of riding and draft horses has increased to over a dozen. I have shown the draft horses at many state shows and have sold them throughout the USA and Canada. My wife and I live in Clare Michigan with our daughters. The family enjoys riding together. Through AHCA I am more aware of the horsemanship between horse and rider. I will follow the rules and regulations set down in the by laws of the ACHA as a an advisory board member. I feel that it is a good venue for individuals and families to have a place to show their skills and achievements. I have met many new people through this organization and it has been a privilege to ride beside them.
My name is Chandra Nielson and I am from Williamston, Michigan. I have been involved with horses since I was 13 years old, starting out on a 3 year old Tennessee Walking Horse in Ingham County 4-H, named Major’s High Anxiety. He was the ONLY walking horse that had been shown in our county and was I even given an award for introducing a “new breed”. Although, my 4-H leaders didn’t know a whole lot when it came to gaited horses, I went out and did my own homework and within a year of owning my horse, we qualified for Michigan 4-H State Horse Show and in years following earned many high points at open shows, ones that were primary stock horse, won many judged trail rides and even won many gymkhana high points. Our advantage was we were consistent, did well in trail class and hardly ever DQ’ed in speed. We also showed at the Walking Horse Association of Michigan shows and did quite well. I still own this horse, 22 year later, and he has earned many blue ribbons and built a lot of confidence for other 4-H’ers. I have been involved with 4-H as a youth and a leader for over 20 years and am so grateful for the experience I have had with instructing and inspiring youth riders with their horses to achieve their goals.
Over the years I got involved showing Arabians and Half Arabians at USEF and USDF competitions. I truly loved the versatility and the athletic ability of the breed. I’ve shown nearly all seats including hunter, saddleseat, sidesaddle, jumping and western pleasure with them and trained and showed one of my own “babies” up to 4th level dressage. Most of my experience has been showing dressage, but the horsemanship skills taught in classical dressage, I believe, are foundation of all riding disciplines.
This past year I decided I wanted a change from the class “A” dressage competitions and try something else. I’ve always loved trail class and learned about AHCA. I took my dressage trained Paint, Call Me Mr. Quincy, and ended up doing quite well though the 2014 show season with AHCA, even earning a Reserve National Champion in English Division at AHCA National Finals. I know we still have lots of homework to improve our scores, but I really enjoyed being showing in an association that is appreciates true horsemanship and uses obstacles as a tool to test the trust between rider and horse. I had an amazing time showing my horse this year and have made so many new friends who also have a great respect for horses and good horsemanship. With help of Morgan Currier, Cricket Nelson and Susan Williams, we have started our own affiliate, Middle of the Mitten AHCA to help share this great association with more people in Michigan. We are putting on fundraiser clinics and sanctioned shows this year to get more people involved and qualify them for 2015 AHCA National Finals.
I recently became an AHCA judge and am interested in helping create an online tool to for riders and judges to help with judging criteria and consistent scoring. I am a Michigan certified teacher and have been an online science instructor for over 7 years with Michigan Virtual High School, having significant online instruction experience. I feel my horse showing experience and my passion for learning and teaching will be an asset to the AHCA Advisory Board.
Sincerely, Chandra Nielson
I’m honored to have been nominated for a position the AHCA advisory board.
I have been an enthusiastic member of AHCA from its inception. I believe it to be a fun family oriented association that is open to all levels and ages of riders & equines. I helped to establish & run an AHCA affiliate, Red River Horsemen where we put on challenges year round. I’ve been very successful at helping fellow horsemen to learn, grow & compete in AHCA, from beginners to advanced competitors at local & national levels. From the beginning I helped with & acquired sponsorship’s and will continue to, for year-end high point & national awards.
I’m a lifetime member of AQHA, FQHR & AHCA. I’m also an AA accredited AHCA judge.
My name is Meg Wills-O’Daniel; I have served on the AHCA Advisory Board for the last 2 years. I firmly believe AHCA is one of the very best equine organizations around, from the integrity of the people founding the organization, to the flexibility of divisions that allow any level of rider or equine to compete. I have seen horses and riders come together as a team by getting out of their comfort zone and trying new skills while training for AHCA events. I encourage everyone I know to try AHCA events and all of my horses have and will have the training needed to compete in them. I love that this venue helps to make well-rounded, versatile, and safe horse and riders.
I believe I have been and can continue to be an asset to AHCA as an Advisory Board member. I know how to look at a situation, figure out what is needed and then get it done. My personality allows me to get along with most people. I strive to maintain professionalism in all that I do at all times, period. I was instrumental in getting the Special Olympic fundraiser and Special Needs Course in place at all of the AHCA National Finals to date. I have been putting together the AHCA Newsletter with assistance from members who have sent & who will send me articles as well as assisting with the 2014 Rule Book. I will continue to do all that I can do to promote AHCA as an AAA level judge, exhibitor, trainer, and part of the affiliate club, Horsemen of Arkansas. I have been honored to represent & serve you, the AHCA members and Jeff (& Rhonda) and Bill as owners and would be honored, if I get the opportunity to serve & represent you again.
2015 AHCA ADVISORY BOARD BALLOT
Vote for 6.
__________ KC Annison
__________ Melissa Blankenship
__________ Morgan Currier
__________ Justin Key
__________ Kim Kretzschmar
__________ Michelle Mitchell
__________ Dan Mohr
__________ Chandra Nielson
__________ Wendy Stephens
__________ Meg Wills-O’Daniel
AHCA # ___________
Return by March 1, 2015.
Our 3rd National Finals is in the books. The overall opinion is that it was a success. The Missouri State Fairgrounds were beautiful. A big thank you to the judges, KC Annison from LA, Barbara Hull from MO, Matt Sheridan from CA and Debbi Skinner from MI/FL. We couldn’t have kept things running as smoothly as they did without our arena bosses, Justin Key and Jeff Randall, and all those that took a shift helping in the arenas. Congratulations to all the competitors. Morgan Currier and Meadow Martin were voted by their peers as winners of the Sportsmanship Award. Congratulations ladies! Congratulations to the Champions and Reserve Champions:
Open – Champion Jennifer Postma (CAN) on Sexy Superstar
Reserve Champ Wendy Stephens (LA) on Peponitas Revolution
Amateur – Champion Jennifer Postma (CAN) on Sexy Superstar
Reserve Champ Dannah Westbrook (TX) on Lazy J Star Witness LOM
English – Champion Dannah Westbrook (TX) on Lazy J Star Witness LOM
Reserve Champ Chandra Nielson (MI) on Call Me Mr Quincy
Legends – Champion Daniel Mohr (MI) on Carls Black Velvet
Reserve Champ Cricket Nelson (MI) on Doc Diamond Double D
Novice – Champion Morgan Currier (MI) on RLS Bold Jorja
Reserve Champ Jordyn Baxter (TX) on Lazy J Bailef’s Star
Youth – Champion Jordyn Baxter (TX) on Lazy J Bailef’s Star
Reserve Champ Kora Bower (TX) on Ima Rowdy n Peppy Chic
Wrangler – Champion Kaitlyn Glass (TX) on Bijou
Reserve Champ Kaitlyn Glass (TX) on Golds Will
Green Horse – Champion Kaitlyn Glass (TX) on Bijou
Reserve Champ Jordyn Baxter (TX) on Lazy J Legally Red
In Hand – Champion Wendy Stephens (LA) with Peponitas Revolution
Reserve Champ Morgan Currier (MI) with RLS Bold Jorja
Futurity – Champion Wendy Stephens (LA) on Equalizers Lil Tivio
Reserve Champ DeeAnna Mohr (MI) on Jacks Pretty Piper
All results can be found under the 2014 Nationals tab.
Nationals is almost here. Get your entries in. There will be many great prizes. In addition to Cash, Saddles, and Buckles, check out the many sponsors who have donated to awards this year. AHCA is also sponsoring a fun Costume Class on Saturday evening after that day’s competition. This year’s Nationals should prove to be the best yet. Thank You to all who are working so hard to make this year’s event a Great One!
Check out the event page. K Cross Ranch in Energy, TX and Red River Horsemen in Linden, TX are hosting events this weekend to help members get qualified for Nationals. This will be your last chance to qualify for or tune up prior to Nationals.
Enchanted Acres in Swartz Creek, MI is hosting 2 challenges this weekend. Sept 27 all divisions will be offered. 2 rounds per division will be run. Sept 28 all divisions will be offered with 2 rounds per division. Join them for one or both challenges. Check out the events page for more information.