Welcome to the Big Show: A Day at the NRCHA Hackamore Classic

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Fueled by Starbucks Frappuccinos and anxious to spend a day in the sun, editor Jen Paulson and I made the trek south to the 2014 NRCHA Hackamore Classic last Friday.

The premier event held in Pueblo, Colorado, is for horses 5 years old and younger that have yet to be shown down the fence in a bridle. Up for grabs, along with bragging rights, was $44,000 in limited age event added money and $39,000 total horse show added money. In true cow horse show style, spectators contented themselves with loud whistles of encouragement and the occasional, “Yeah!” while they watched the young horses compete.

The trip was a primer of sorts. It was the first show that I’ve attended since I joined the Horse&Rider staff, and I couldn’t have asked for a more enjoyable introduction.

We watched the final three sets of the open preliminary fence work including Zane Davis’ run with Rubys Radar (One Time Pepto x Ruby Bagonia) where the pair scored an impressive 148, the highest of the prelims. The two went on to win the division, adding a 145 score in their final cow work to finish with a 585.5 composite (146herd/146.5rein), four points ahead of reserve champion CD Pepto shown by Luke Jones. The afternoon wrapped up with the Non Pro Limited Spectacular, where we watched Susan Lyle’s winning run on More Magic Please (Chic Please x Magical Lena). 

We also caught up with one of my favorite people, Tara Mastler, who mentored me during my time at AQHA and who has become a friend who I greatly respect. Tara and her mare, “Jules” (Soula Jule Star x Blues Nu Boon) enjoyed huge success in Pueblo. Together they claimed the Hackamore Classic Amateur Championship and swept the non pro, intermediate non pro, and novice non pro divisions with a 569 composite. It was exciting to witness and photograph some of these impressive runs.

My first trip as Assistant Editor was a success. I picked up some camera tips from the ol’ pro, and together we got some great shots and our fair share of laughter. The show reminded me, again, how truly blessed that I am to have this opportunity. It’s always a surreal feeling to stand at the rail, absorbed in the competition and impressed by the talent in the arena, with the realization that I live the dream.

I am all too excited for Jen and my next adventure later this month, and for the rest of my travels in the months to come!

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