by Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Peyton Bivins of Amarillo, Texas, and Dress In Gold win the AQHA amateur trail world championship.
First in the go for the November 11 amateur trail finals at the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show, Peyton Bivins of Amarillo was shaking coming down the alleyway, under the Gateway of Champions into the Jim Norick Arena.
“I was terrified!” she told The American Quarter Horse Journal. “I was shaking the whole time coming down. This was my first time to ever be in the (trail) finals. I just went with it.”
On her longtime partner, 2001 gelding Dress In Gold, aka “Ollie,” Peyton was most concerned about the back-through, the third obstacle in the Tim Kimura pattern – a figure 8 around cones: “He’s really good at it, but I kind of mess him up,” she said.
So that’s what AQHA Professional Horseman Leslie Lange of Greeley, Colorado, had her practicing when they arrived at the barn at 3:30 a.m. to start getting ready for the 8 a.m. trail finals start.
“When we found out she was going to go first, I had to break that news to her,” Leslie said. “I knew she was going to worry about that. So we went out and worked all the obstacles. Actually, going first was good for her because she didn’t get to watch anybody and worry about anybody else’s mistakes.”
“I started crying right after my pattern because we had achieved something – I didn’t care how we placed, honestly,” Peyton said. “It was the hardest (pattern) I’ve ever done.”
Peyton could hardly believe it as the placings were called and she remained in the arena. Finally, she and multiple trail world champion Joanne Garnett of Lincoln, Nebraska, and So Much Potential were the only two left, and they exchanged hugs horseback.
Joanne marked an incredible 233 to take the reserve. Peyton – the trail finals newcomer in her second year showing as an amateur – won the world championship with a 234.
She was crying in the alleyway, “It was so fun!” but she didn’t have time to let it soak in – the hunter under saddle and hunt seat equitation prelims were up next and she had to shift gears to ride back in with Kamanyawannadance.
“We paced ourselves because we knew we were going to get a nap this afternoon,” Leslie added.
By Dress Western and out of Romancing The Gold, Ollie was bred by Molly Precourt of Vail, Colorado. Ollie and Peyton had a successful youth career together that included winning the 2010 youth reserve world championship in horsemanship. At the 2012 World Show, they were finalists in horsemanship. The gelding has $6,998 in World Show earnings and $11,748 in the National Snaffle Bit Association.
Peyton got into showing taking riding lessons as a child: “We started riding English and it took off. My parents were not expecting it to take off the way it did.” She’s in her last year of studies at the University of Texas.
This year held an especially tough challenge for this showing team when Leslie and her husband, Tom’s, place was inundated by floodwaters in the flash flooding that hit northern Colorado in September.
“It was hard; we were worried. I was in Denver at the show when it happened, and it was crazy,” Peyton said. “They are still cleaning up. It was pretty bad.”
It makes watching one of their riders win a world championship especially gratifying for the Langes.
“For her, because she’s worked really hard, and then with what we’ve been through this fall, it’s nice to know that the hard work does pay off,” Leslie said. “Even though you go home and it’s a mess. For her, regardless, she’s worked so hard with this horse.
“She didn’t make the finals in the horsemanship here (November 10), and that was hard. But I told her, you can feel sorry for yourself for about 10 minutes and you’ve got to shake it off because you’ve got three classes tomorrow. But hard work does pay off.”
After winning the trail, Peyton finished the day by making the finals in both the hunter under saddle and hunt seat equitation November 13.
“I’m super proud of her and Ollie; they did a great job today,” Leslie said.
And now she finally has time to celebrate!
“I’m just so happy,” she said. “I love my trainers, my family, my parents and my sister.”
She added: “I’m going to take a nap first. And then we’re going to dinner. An early dinner, though.”
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