by Larri Jo StarkeyThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Ladona Emmons of Ione, California, came to the 2012 AQHA World Championship Show looking for a good ride.
What she got was the first AQHA world championship in amateur boxing.
“Awesome,” she said. “It’s so, so great.”
Ladona was on Anuther Mister 505, a 2005 sorrel gelding by Mister Dual Pep-Anuther Olena by Quanah O Lena. He was bred by Ward Ranch of Kingsburg, California, and is owned by Ladona’s husband, Ron.
Boxing is a new addition to AQHA’s stable of classes. In it, competitors work a short reining pattern before working a cow on one end of the arena, or “boxing” it.
At the World Show, the scores were held in the finals, and Ladona didn’t know she had the win.
“I’ve had a phenomenal year, and I had no idea,” she said. “Not seeing the scores is great to me because I don’t really like to know anything when I’m in there, so I had no idea tonight. I’m still shocked.”
The class was added in January, and so far, women have dominated at the world shows, with Makayla Reed of Porterville, California, winning at the Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show and Nonie Casselman-Reed of Hico, Texas, striking gold at the Adequan Select World Championship Show.
Ladona won by half a point over the reserve world champion Julie Gibbons of Highlandville, Missouri, on Cat Can Dew.
Ladona’s horse was a little tired going into the finals, she said.
“We’d just come from Idaho at the futurity there,” she said. “I showed him there and went through Colorado to see my family and then headed here. So he’s a little tired, but he kind of seemed on edge tonight. I was probably a little on edge – my first World Show – but he was good. He stopped really good in his last two stops and turned around really good on his right turns. I was happy with him. He’s been really good to me.”
In the cow work in the prelims, Ladona was concerned she had made her move on the cow too soon.
“So here (in the finals), I was being a little bit cautious, but the cow felt really, really good,” she said. “It kinda took me a little bit (down the fence) at the last, but my horse stayed right with him. I thought it was good, so I was happy with my cow work.”
The 7-year-old gelding she calls “John” has been with the Emmons family since he was 2, and he almost made it to the World Show once before.
“We’ve had him and just showed him off and on,” she said. “We brought him to show him two years ago here and my husband didn’t get to show him. Dr. Joe Carter actually saved him. We left him here. He hurt himself or did something to himself in the trailer on the way here and when we got him back, I rehabbed him and then I started riding him. I’m very thankful to Joe Carter for saving him and that I was able to go on with him.”
Ladona’s husband, Ron, is usually the one in the ring, while Ladona keeps up with his prizes and carries his grooming kit. During Ladona’s first year of showing in the National Reined Cow Horse Association and in AQHA competition, those roles have been reversed.
“He’s been super supportive,” she said. “I couldn’t ask for anything more. He’s been my rock and I appreciate every bit of it.
“I want to thank my mom and dad. They’re great. They couldn’t be here tonight. I want to thank everybody in our barn. We have a great group, and I thank all of them for their support.”
Ladona Emmons of Ione, California, boxes on the end of the arena as she earns a world championship November 9. (Journal photo)