by Laura StevensThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Fifteen of the nation’s best amateur riders competed November 12 in the amateur hunt seat equitation finals at the 2010 AQHA World Championship Show. They faced a pattern that included a hand gallop, several transitions and a flying lead change. In the end, reigning champion Jessica Johnson of Pickerington, Ohio, defended her title aboard Royality in Blue.
Fourteenth to ride in the finals, Jessica Johnson and her 12-year-old black gelding entered the arena confidently. Her plan was to “just get the pattern and make it smooth.”
Entering the arena made Jessica “a little” nervous. The pattern began with a trot to walk to trot transition, which Jessica noted was a particularly difficult element for her and Bentley. She was concerned about “keep him soft through those (transitions).”
“Bentley” has been Jessica’s partner for eight years. Jessica says the gelding has “a lot of personality!” The gelding enjoys keeping Jessica and her trainer, AQHA Professional Horsewoman Lainie DeBoer, on their toes. “We never know with him! We love him!”
“He’s either really good or really bad!” Jessica laughed. “Last night, he wasn’t very good…but he was really good today!”
Following her flowing pattern, Jessica entered the arena again for the group rail work.
“I was really happy with my pattern, so I was confident going in (to the rail work)!” she said. “I was happy with him!”
Jessica was full of gratitude for her trainers and barn family. “I’d love to thank Lainie, and David Conners for shining my boots!” she laughed, “and making them pretty! And my mom and dad.”
Next year, Bentley will get a bit of a break.
“I’ve been showing him for awhile pretty hard,” Jessica explained. “And he’s going to kind of step back and not do quite as many classes.”
However, don’t expect to Jessica to step back: “I have a new (horse) that…is going to start going in more classes!”
Jessica Johnson guides Royality In Blue.