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Region Six: Icing on the Cake

Having fun with horses was the primary goal, but when this teenager won a regional championship at her first AQHA show, that wasn’t bad, either.

By Holly Clanahan
The American Quarter Horse Journal
July 19, 2014

Fourteen-year-old Isabel Tobin made a splash at her first AQHA show circuit. She won the Region 6 regional championship in novice youth reining.

Fourteen-year-old Isabel Tobin made a splah at her first AQHA show circuit. She won the Region 6 regional championship in novice youth reining.

Trainer Garry McAllister apologizes as mini celebrations break out all along the walk back to the stalls after the novice youth reining class at the 2014 Merial AQHA Region Six Regional Championship in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

“We’re a little happy right now,” he says, smiling.

The occasion? McAllister student and longtime family friend Isabel Tobin of Harwinton, Connecticut, just rocked her first AQHA show, winning a regional championship while she was at it.

“Put that sucker on,” Garry tells her as he hands her the Montana Silversmiths custom belt buckle she won as a prize June 19. Isabel’s first-ever trip into an AQHA show pen came earlier in the week, in the earlier part of a show circuit held in conjunction with the regional championship. And on this, her second trip, she earned some serious bragging rights, as well as a berth to an AQHA Level 1 (Novice) Championship.

“I was really nervous,” 14-year-old Isabel says. Although she has been riding since she was 3 and has taken extensive lessons with Garry and Tami McAllister, an AQHA Professional Horsewoman, the regional championship was still a big step up from the 4-H shows and local fairs she has competed at in the past.

Isabel says she worried about the rollbacks, the lead changes and the sliding stops “because I don’t like to go fast.” But in the ring, she appeared to be a confident pilot, and her horse, 11-year-old Sugarman Beau, nailed the pattern.

Tami says it all boiled down to practice, practice, practice.

“She and Garry have been working very hard on it this week, practicing the patterns and memorizing them and having fun.”

Garry says to help Isabel with her show nerves, he encouraged her to “just try to stay mentally focused. Focus on what we can control.”

Isabel keeps “Beau” at home, riding him herself and in lessons with the McAllisters. The win June 19 definitely gave her a confidence boost.

“I’m proud of myself and him,” she says. “It builds my confidence up a lot.”

The only bad thing is that Isabel’s parents had car trouble on the way to the show, and they didn’t make it there in time to see her class.

But thankfully, she had close friends there as a cheering section, including Garry and Tami’s 12-year-old daughter, Jessica.

“They’ve been best friends for years now,” Tami says, “and Isabel has come to the shows before to support Jessica, so we finally convinced her that she needed to show. They have a lot of fun riding their horses together.

“We came here to have fun. She gets to spend the week with her horse and her friends. (Winning the buckle) is the icing,” Tami says. “It has been a good week, an exhausting week. She’s going to sleep all day Monday, I’m sure!”

Beau, bred by James J. Blumer Jr., is by Lenas Sugarman by Doc O’Lena. His dam is Royale Lynx by Doc’s Lynx. He was purchased by the Tobins in 2010.