by Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse Journal
“I just want to keep the ribbon on him forever!” Kara Oldford said coming out of the Jim Norick Coliseum after the 2010 amateur showmanship finals November 11. Her big, brown gelding, Im Shy But Deluxe, was wearing the world champion’s neck wreath, and Kara held the gold trophy for the class.
The young woman from Croswell, Michigan, has had a lot of success with “Travis,” including winning 2008 and 2009 youth all-around high-point horse. But this was her first world championship at her first AQHA World Championship Show.
“Coming into today’s finals was a little difficult,” Kara told The American Quarter Horse Journal, “because in the horsemanship (November 10) my horse spooked at the judges… I was a little uptight about that.
She continued, “I knew he could do it, and I was afraid, too.The judges were standing in a line (in the arena, for the showmanship) like they were in the horsemanship. I just took a deep breath and trusted in him, and he was good.”
The pattern had no cone markers and opened with a walk, then jog with two 360-degree turns, all toward the judges.
“I wanted to have a lot of aggression walking in,” Kara said. “I wanted to have the type of presence where people turn and look and have that ‘wow’ factor. I walked in really strong, and tried to do the first elements really strong.
“In parts of it, I had to settle myself, like in the turns, to make sure he was balanced. In the setups, I have to have a lot of patience, because sometimes I stand back too fast, and he moves his feet. I tried to have a lot of aggression at some points and enough calm to make it work.”
Kara had a lot of people to thank, including her parents, Steve and Gale; AQHA Professional Horseman Michael Colvin and Clint Ainsworth, the Walquist family, who had Travis, and the Gross family for giving her a good-luck dinner November 10.
“I try to take each show in stride,” she said. “You’re never going to be at the top of your game at every single show. I try to take some breaks....” She smiled and added, “But I really wanted this one.”
Kara Oldford and Im Shy But Deluxe