Visible Investment and Anne Wilson win the showmanship title at the 2012 Adequan Select World Championship Show. (Journal photo)
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by Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Coming into the showmanship finals at the 2012 Adequan Select World Championship Show, Anne Wilson of Dallas, Texas, and her bay gelding, Visible Investment, aka “Dudley,” didn’t face near the challenges as they did in 2011. Last year, health problems almost prevented Dudley from coming. He did, and they won their second Select showmanship title; their first was in 2010.
“(This year) was nothing like last year, not at all,” Anne told the Journal. “Last year, we didn’t know we were coming until three days before, and this year we’ve been able to practice all summer. I was almost worried that I would have over-practiced because we didn’t have any obstacles!”
After making it into the top 15 for the finals – out of 57 entries – she knew she faced a tough field of competitors that included several past top-10 finishers and class title-winners. Three of the finalists, including Anne, were from the barn of AQHA Professional Horseman John and Jill Briggs of Pilot Point, Texas.
“I didn’t expect (to win) at all. It was quite fun to have the Olympics taking place this summer. I thought, three-peating would be impossible, but I thought, well, if Michael Phelps and the women’s gymnastic team could do it ... but I really didn’t think I could do it.”
But she did, last in the go, Anne was last to walk out of the arena and she carried a gold trophy.
“We only practiced (the pattern) once, two days ago in the warm-up pen,” she said in her Journal Winning Run interview. “My horse is very smart about showmanship patterns and he learns them quickly and then he anticipates. For that reason, my trainers thought it would be best to not go practice with Dudley in the show pen the night before. We wanted him to be at his crispest in the class. So that’s what we did.
“I was confident that he didn’t need the practice but I was a little worried that I might need the practice to remember all the elements! I’m grateful that my memory held out and we executed the pattern the way it was drawn.
“It was a very fun pattern: you had to be flow-y. You had to be accurate and keep your lines straight and set up twice at the end and my horse was just a very good boy.”
Anne says showmanship is “about presenting your horse,” and that’s one of the reasons she enjoys it, because she enjoys her horse so much: “I get out there and I’m happy when I look at him and want the judges to admire my horse … He’s an easy one to present.”
Anne was quick to thank her husband, John: “My husband is always my biggest fan. He’s my groom; he’s even progressed this year to being a longer. He helps me out very much.
“And of course, my trainers John and Jill Briggs are fantastic,” she said. “They are so good at these patterns and telling us exactly how to do them to our best. Every horse is a little different and it’s great how they can tailor the instruction to each client.
She added: “I’m just so grateful (to show here). The City of Amarillo is so nice to us and I’m happy to be back here.”
Anne and Dudley finished the 2011 Adequan Select World by winning the Farnam All-Around Amateur award. They’re not done yet this year, with horsemanship, hunt seat equitation and western riding still to come.