PREMIER - September 2021

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cover story

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COLLIN FROMAN

The 2021 AQHYA World Championship Show was a dream come true for Collin Froman. He and his horse, My Dream Remembered, won the World Championship in Level 3 13 & Under Showmanship. Although Collin has only been showing in Showmanship for a few years, the class has quickly become his favorite, making this win even more special.

LIKE MOTHER, LIKE SON Collin’s love of horses comes from his mother, Vanessa, whose family has deep roots in the equine industry. “My grandfather began breeding and raising horses when he immigrated to the United States from Germany,” said Vanessa. “My dad grew up with horses and it’s because of a horse show that he met my mom. He was working at an autobody shop, and my mom was at a horse show and needed a tire for her trailer. Somebody at the show gave her my dad’s number. The rest is history.” When the time came to have children of her own, Vanessa and her husband John were both adamant they would never let kids stop them from pursuing their own dreams. They felt it was important for their children to watch their parents have and achieve goals. For Vanessa that meant continuing to ride and show, even with babies in tow. “My husband worked full-time so the kids often came to the barn with me,” said Vanessa. “Even as a baby Collin loved the horses. He was just mesmerized by them and always wanted to touch them. My other son, Connor, was terrified of the horses.” “I would traumatize the horses and the horses would traumatize Connor,” jokes Collin. Collin started showing the Leadline at APHA events when he was four years old. After his first year of showing in the Walk-Trot classes, Vanessa decided to make the transition to AQHA shows and purchased a quarter horse mare named Assets Miss Reba. Collin quickly formed a special connection with Reba. “Reba was the best horse I could have ever hoped for,” said Collin. “She was my first Quarter Horse, and really helped me learn so much about riding.”

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Assets Miss Reba

“Reba really helped build Collin’s confidence as a rider and exhibitor,” said Vanessa. “She was the first horse he loped in a class, and it just so happened to be at the Congress.” When the time came to retire Reba, Vanessa worried they might have a hard time finding the perfect horse for Collin, especially since he had such a strong bond with Reba. Collin admits that at first, he wasn’t very happy about replacing Reba. “I wish I could have shown her forever,” said Collin, “but now I feel very lucky to have Hank. In many ways he is similar to Reba. Although her extended trot was definitely a lot smoother to ride than his is!”

Beckys Last Gal

As it turns out, it was meant to be and the Fromans finalized their purchase of Hank at the end of September. With qualifying requirements for the AQHA World Show—scheduled to be held just 6 weeks later—waived because of COVID-19, Vanessa decided to enter Hank in the Showmanship. Although Hank was already an accomplished all-around horse, and Vanessa no stranger to the show arena, debuting a new horse at the World Show would be nerve-racking for even the most seasoned competitors.

HANK THE TANK Collin and Vanessa’s long-time trainer, Jenell Pogue, first told them about My Dream Remembered at the NSBA World Show in 2020. “We knew his barn name was Hank and he is a really well built, strong horse,” said Vanessa. “We were walking behind him on our way to the arena to try him out and Collin joked that he was Hank the Tank.” Collin knew right away that Hank was the horse he wanted, but Vanessa took a little more convincing. “Collin started to fall in love with Hank the first time he rode him,” said Vanessa. “Jenell and I thought it would be better to keep looking at other horses to make sure we were buying one that could take Collin through the rest of his Youth career. Despite Collin’s pleas that we buy Hank right then and there, I told him we would continue looking, and if Hank was still available when we went back down to Texas for the APHA World Show than it was meant to be.” 12 | PREMIER | SEPTEMBER 2021

My Dream Remembered

Following Jenell’s advice, Vanessa decided to trust Hank to do his job and give it her best shot. That turned out to be a sound strategy, with the pair placing seventh in the Level 3 Amateur Showmanship—their very first class together. “That first World Show with Hank is still very surreal to me,” said Vanessa. “I have my ribbon hanging on our refrigerator with all the boys’ special accomplishments from school and soccer. Not only was it my first time ever showing Hank, but we were first in the draw, and I realized I was the oldest one in the class! I


My Dream Remembered

remember standing on the rail while they were placing the class with Jenell sitting behind me when I asked her, ‘Are there really only 10 left?’ At that point I had tears rolling down my cheeks because at my very first AQHA World Show I was going home with a top ten ribbon in my favorite class.” Following the 2020 AQHA World Show, Vanessa passed Hank’s lead over to Collin.

A DREAM COME TRUE Although Collin has only been showing Hank for the past nine months, they have quickly become a formidable team. Heading into only his second AQHA World Show, Collin’s goal was to just do his best with Hank and hopefully make the call back for the finals. The pattern, which called for participants to back an L, complete a 540-degree turn, briskly trot three-quarters of a large circle, make a square corner, and then complete another 270-degree turn before setting up in front of the judge, was designed to test the exhibitors’ precision, skill, and finesse.

As the class was placed and Collin and one of Jenell’s other students were left standing in the top three, Vanessa could barely contain her excitement. “At that point I was so happy for Jenell,” said Vanessa. “For her to have trained and coached two of the top three kids in the class was a huge achievement. She works so hard and sacrifices so much time away from her family to take us all to horse shows so that was just really special.” When the Reserve Champion was announced and it wasn’t Collin, Vanessa erupted with joy. “I jumped straight up in the air and started hitting Jenell with Collin’s emotional support towel—that’s what he calls the towel he wipes his sweat with—because I was so excited.” “I was really surprised and excited,” said Collin. “I was just hoping to

Poised under pressured, Collin guided Hank through a perfect pattern. “I was really happy with my pattern,” said Collin. “My set-ups both at the cone and in front of the judge were quick and I thought my square corners were really good. I thought I had a good pattern, but I was still really nervous waiting for the results.” “His big extended trot was really fancy and profiled very pretty,” said Vanessa. “He hit all of his spots really well. We knew he had a great go but every child in that class was capable of winning so we waited for the results with our fingers crossed.”

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make the top fifteen or maybe even top ten. When it got down to the top six, that’s when I realized there was a chance that I could make the top five. When they called out the Reserve Champion and I found out I had won, it was pretty incredible.” Watching her son accept the gold globe was a proud moment for Vanessa, not only for her son but also for Jenell who has been with Collin every step of the way.

Collin & his Grandpa Denny

“Jenell and her family are like family to us,” said Vanessa. “Words can’t express how grateful I am for her and all she has done for Collin. She has taught him everything he knows about Showmanship. Jenell and Collin have both worked so hard and to see it all come together is just an indescribable moment. I am so proud of them both.”

THE DREAM TEAM Fresh off their win at the AQHYA World Championship Show, Collin and Hank made a quick stop in Tulsa, Oklahoma to compete in the Showmanship at the NSBA World Championship before Collin had to return to Illinois for the start of the new school year.

Collin in Leadline

The dream team kept their momentum going, laying down another superb pattern to capture the NSBA World Championship in the 13 & Under Showmanship. A victory that mother and son both agree more than justified missing the first day of his freshman year of high school. “I didn’t expect to win again,” said Collin. “I thought I had a good go, but I didn’t think my pattern was quite perfect. To win at this level everything usually needs to be perfect. But I guess it was better than I thought! It was pretty cool to show at two World Shows and take home two World Championships.”

Collin & Beckys Last Gal

“The last few weeks have been a dream come true,” said Vanessa. “We bought Hank so Collin could develop his skills as a rider and showman. We wanted a horse that could help teach him the Horsemanship and allow him to be competitive in his favorite class, Showmanship. Hank has exceeded all our expectations and has helped both Collin and I achieve so much already. He has earned his place as a Froman for life.”

JUST GETTING STARTED At only 14 years old, Collin still has a long youth career ahead of him and is looking forward to making more memories with Hank. Collin & Assets Miss Reba

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“Hank is a lot of fun to show,” said Collin. “He always does what I ask him to do. He is very honest and doesn’t try to anticipate what we


are going to do next. He is a very smart horse. So smart that he knows how to escape from his halter. He rubs his head in just the right spot to slip it off. He does it all the time.” The next stop for Collin and Hank will be the Quarter Horse Congress where they will compete Under Showmanship and Horsemanship. Hank will the Amateur Horsemanship and Showmanship with the Senior Trail with Jenell.

All-American in the 13 & also show in Vanessa and

In addition to showing Hank, Collin will also continue sharing his mother’s horse Beckys Last Gal (double registered with AQHA as Into Certain Pleasures), who he showed to a World Championship in the 13 & Under Novice Youth Showmanship and Reserve World Championship in the 13 & Under Showmanship at the 2020 AjPHA World Championship Show. Despite his success the past two years, the opportunities he has been given to pursue his passion have not been lost on Collin.

“As his mother, I think one of the biggest things he has gained from showing horses, as did I as a child, is responsibility,” said Vanessa. “These horses rely on us for everything. That means the horse eats before you do. The horse gets water before you do. The horse gets his stall picked, legs wrapped, and blankets put on before you get to relax at the end of the day. The responsibility my son has learned from caring for these horses will serve him well throughout life.” As a mother and son that show horses together, and share horses, it can be challenging at times. Vanessa is quick to credit her barn family with creating an atmosphere that bands together to pitch in and keep things fun. “I am so grateful to be in a barn where everyone helps each other. It doesn’t matter if it’s your horse or not, we all pitch in and do this together. We all cheer for one another. We are a team. We work together and laugh together. At the end of the day it’s all about a love of horses and having fun.”

“It’s a lot of fun to win,” said Collin, “but I’ve learned over time that it doesn’t matter how I place. I’m happy to be doing what I enjoy, which is competing in Showmanship.” Although she is extremely proud of all her son has accomplished, Vanessa says the lessons Collin is learning from showing horses and the time it allows the two of them to spend together are the greatest rewards.

Article written by Claire Binkowski

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first

time

WORLD SHOW CHAMPIONS While every athlete dreams of winning a championship, not everyone will be lucky enough to see it realized. For these equestrians, who won their first World Championship or World Show title at the recent AQHYA, NSBA or APHA World Championship Shows, the years of practice, early mornings, long show days and sacrafices all became worth it when they were the last one to walk out of the arena, gold trophy in hand. Stories written by Claire Binkowski

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lola knight

Lola Knight won her first World Championship in the 2-Year-Old Limited Non-Pro Western Pleasure at this year’s NSBA World Championship Show aboard her horse Batterfly Kisses. Batterfly kisses, who is known in the barn as J-Lo, is sired by Batt Man out of She Kisses The Best. Lola has had her eye on the mare since she first saw her as a yearling. “I watched J-Lo show in the longe line events last year and have always loved her,” said Lola. “She has always been such a pretty mover so when she was offered for sale, I jumped at the opportunity to buy her.” Lola picked J-Lo up the day after Christmas and wasted no time getting to work. “Within a week of getting her home, I was able to saddle and ride her for the first time,” said Lola. “I put the first ride on her myself so to now win my first World Championship with her is surreal.” Although Lola did a lot of J-Lo’s training on her own, she is quick to credit Steve Reams with teaching her how to develop a young horse from a green prospect into a World Champion. “Steve helped me tremendously,” said Lola. “He allowed me to do a lot of the work on my own but was instrumental in teaching me how to train J-Lo and get her ready for the show pen. I am so grateful to both Steve and Jennifer for everything they have done for me, as well as my parents and grandparents who I couldn’t have done any of this without.” Although J-Lo is the first horse that Lola has trained, she won’t be the last. The talented young horsewoman aspires to train professionally in the future. “My goal is to be a horse trainer one day,” said Lola. “My success with J-Lo has given me a lot of confidence that I am on the right track. I have felt so much support from people I don’t even know. I think that’s one of the things I enjoyed most about showing at the NSBA World Championship Show. Everyone was so supportive of each other.”

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maryah cugno

Following her youth career Maryah Cugno turned in her non-pro card to take a job working for Colton LaSusa. After three years honing her skills, Maryah made the decision to step out on her own working out of Kevin and Amy Smith’s Capall Creek Farm in Hampstead, North Carolina. Along with training horses for other clients, she began riding some of the Smith’s horses, including Special N I Know It. Sired by One Hot Krymsun out of Rebas Zippodeedooda, Special N I Know It had a very successful career in the Western Pleasure. In addition to winning two Congress Championship titles and an NSBA World Championship title, “Rocket” is a multiple futurity champion. Soon after she began riding Rocket, Maryah discovered that the mare showed a strong aptitude for the trail. “I started her over poles last fall,” said Maryah. “She got the hang of it really quickly. This spring I started showing her in the Green Trail. She’s a super cool mare who always gives one hundred and ten percent in the pen. She’s just a really fun horse to be around and show.” After giving Rocket a few months off during the breeding season, Maryah finally got the opportunity to show her at the Tarheel Spring Classic, where they won the Circuit Championship in the Level 1 Trail. Their success continued winning Reserve Circuit Championships at the Tarheel Summer Classic and Stars and Stripes. With Maryah’s coaching Amy also began showing Rocket, winning the Circuit Championship in the Level 1 Amateur Trail at the Tarheel Summer Classic. “Working with Maryah has been fantastic,” said Amy. “She’s a very talented rider and coach. I had never shown the Trail before and Maryah has taught me a lot in a very short amount of time.” Maryah proved just how talented she is at the NSBA World Championship Show where she won the Level 1 Senior Trail with Rocket, fulfilling a lifelong dream. “I have dreamed of this moment since I was showing as a youth,” said Maryah. “It feels like all the years of hard work and just showing up have finally paid off. Of course, I owe a huge thank you to Kevin and Amy Smith for giving me such an amazing horse to work with and for trusting me to start her in the all-around events. I also wouldn’t be where I am today without my family. They are extremely supportive of me and my career.” With Maryah working out of their farm, Amy has had a front row seat to see the hard work that the young horsewoman has put in to be successful. “Since she has been working out of Capall Creek Farm I have seen the amount of time and energy that Maryah puts in on a daily basis,” said Amy. “It’s impressive and I’m not the least bit surprised that she went to her first World Championship on her own and nailed it!”

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jessica groome

Jessica Groome wasn’t planning on showing at this year’s APHA World Show. She thought that she was taking her children, Brock and Reese, to show in the Leadline and to cheer on her mother, Nettie Olsen in the Western Pleasure. It wasn’t until she arrived in Fort Worth that she found out her mother had other plans. “I had no idea that I was showing until we got off the plane in Texas,” said Jessica. “My mom told me that she wasn’t showing her horse Sniper, I was.” Sniper, whose registered name is RR Cant Stop A Feelin, is sired by A Scenic Impulse out of Cant Stop Zippin. On the advice of her trainer, Mike Hachtel, Nettie purchased Sniper as a yearling from Darol Rodrock. The following year Mike showed Sniper to a Reserve Congress Championship in the Masters Western Pleasure and won the Intermediate division of the class. As a three-year-old, Sniper won multiple NSBA World Championships, BCF Championships and APHA World Championships in 3-Year-Old Open and Non-Pro Western Pleasure classes with both Mike and Nettie. “He’s a great show horse and has a huge heart,” said Nettie. “No matter how he warms up, when he hits the show arena, he is all business. Jessica has always wanted to ride him but never had the opportunity before. I decided while I was on my way to Fort Worth for the World Show that I was going to let her show him, but I decided not to tell her until she got there so she didn’t have time to say no!” Although she wasn’t planning to show, Jessica made the most of the opportunity and showed Sniper to a Championship in the Intermediate division of the Amateur Junior Western Pleasure. They were also the overall Reserve World Champions in the class. “It was pretty unexpected for a number of reasons,” said Jessica. “I am grateful to my mom for giving me the opportunity to show her horse as well as my dad and husband for all of their support. I had a great time riding Sniper and practicing with Mike. I also really enjoyed meeting so many new people. But I would have to say my favorite part was watching my kids show at their first APHA World Show.” Jessica’s son Brock, who is eight, teamed up with Sniper and Mike to win the Reserve World Championship in Leadline. Her daughter, Reese, age four, also showed in the class and placed Top Five. 49 | PREMIER | SEPTEMBER 2021


hailey smith

Hailey Smith has been riding horses for most of her young life, but this year was her first time showing at the APHA World Championship Show. Hailey’s thrill of competing at her first World Show was magnified by winning the World Championship in 13 & Under Equitation with her horse Look At My Hot Chips. Look At My Hot Chips is sired by Extremely Hot Chips out of Real Sweet Adelheid. Hailey’s family has owned the nine-year-old gelding for the past four years. While most of the horses competing at the APHA World Show live with a trainer full time, Hailey keeps Hottie at home and she and her mother do most of the work together. “Hottie lives at our house, and I ride him almost every day,” said Hailey. “My mom and I do most of this on our own, with some occasional help from trainers, so it means a lot to be able to compete at this level.” Winning a World Championship on a horse maintained at home in her favorite class was a special moment for Hailey. “When I found out I won, I couldn’t hold myself together,” said Hailey. “The work, nerves and long hours of practicing came pouring out in tears as I hugged my mom over the railing. I’ve never been so happy. Even now when I hear the song that was played during my victory lap, I start getting a little emotional all over again. I have to say a big thank you to Tricia Walters for helping me practice patterns and always making sure Hottie was fly sprayed as well as Chris and Tessa Dalton for their support and guidance. And of course, the biggest thank you goes to my mom, Heather Werkema-Smith, who has been helping me from the very beginning. All of these people helped me improve my equitation and have spent lots of time encouraging me to keep my heels down!” Next year Hailey plans to return to the APHA World Show where she hopes to repeat her title, this time in the 18 & Under division. “Next year I will be competing in the 18 & Under division,” said Hailey. “I am going to continue setting high expectations for myself and working hard to improve my equitation so that I can continue to be successful. I am also hoping to attend the NSBA World Show for the first-time next year and compete in the Color Youth All-Around classes.”

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cassandre ehrle

For Cassandre Ehrle winning the Level 1 and Level 2 Hunt Seat Equitation at the AQHYA World Show was a dream come true, but the bond she shares with her horse Daddy Doesnt Know is what makes it all worthwhile. “Pepper is truly my dream horse and best friend,” said Cassandre. “She gives me her all every time we enter the show pen and maintains a happy disposition even after a long day of showing. Her willingness to learn new things and her natural talent make her a great all-around partner.” When Cassandre purchased Pepper, who is sired by Extremely Hot Chips out of RL Saved By Impulse, the mare had only been showing in the Western Pleasure and Trail. In the year that they have been a team, Cassandre and Pepper have both learned several new events, including Equitation. “Pepper’s willingness to learn and confidence in the show arena made it seem like she had been showing the Equitation for a long time,” said Cassandre. “That really helped me as a Level 1 rider. She had a very solid foundation in the Western Pleasure and Trail and is always eager to learn new things. Winning two titles at the Youth World is a testament to her athleticism and heart. Every time I ride her, I feel very lucky to have her.” Although she has dreamed of this moment since she first began showing, Cassandre never imagined she would be going home with not one, but two gold trophies at this year’s AQHYA World Championship Show. “I have dreamed of this moment since I started showing, but never imagined I would accomplish it this year,” said Cassandre. “I am so grateful for my parents, Steven and Michelle, for their support every step of the way, as well as my sister Alessandra who is my biggest cheerleader. Of course, I also must give a huge thank you to my incredible trainers Kellie Hinely and Deann Hudson for always believing me and pushing me to improve. There are so many more people to thank but I don’t think there’s enough room here to mention all of them!” Although winning the Level 1 and Level 2 Equitation were the highlights of the AQHYA World Show for Cassandre, she is quick to point out that the opportunity to pursue her passion is what means the most. “I am so blessed by the incredible experiences that I have had showing horses, including at the Youth World,” says Cassandre. “The lessons that I have learned, the comradery with teammates and competitors, and the bond that I share with my horse are irreplaceable. God has truly blessed me by putting amazing horses, family and friends who have become family in my life to help shape and share my journey. Although winning the Youth World was an incredible accomplishment, enjoying the ride is just as special.”

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