by Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse Journal
In 2011, the youth equitation over fences finals class was after Hannah Bedwell’s birthday; this year, two days before it. Call it belated or early, a youth world championship is a great birthday gift, and it’s happened both years for the soon-to-be 19-year-old from Ball Ground, Georgia.
Hannah had her 2002 gelding, Regal To A Te, aka “Paddy,” pointed for that very thing – a repeat equitation over fences win at the Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show.
“I was definitely doing more shows this year, I was learning more, and I really wanted to come back and do the same thing over as last year and I did,” she told the Journal in her Winning Run interview. “I am really happy with it.”
Competing in their fourth Ford Youth World, Hannah and Paddy came up against 80 other entries in the preliminaries. Coming into the final, Hannah was focused on jumping clean.
“I didn’t want to hit any rails, of course, and just wanted to get around and have a good, easy, time, get all the distances and definitely not hit anything,” she said. “(Paddy is) very spooky sometimes …. It’s different when it comes out, every time.”
Hannah has owned Paddy since he was a green 5-year-old, and she “just fell in love with him.” He got his nickname from his foaling date – March 16, St. Patrick’s Day.
“He’s my first horse,” she added, “it’s been a great match.”
Hannah shows in United States Equestrian Federation competition, in addition to the AQHA show circuit.
“The Quarter Horse shows, I love (them); (you show) one time and that’s it, that’s all you do,” she said. “You don’t get a warm-up, you definitely have to go in and do your best. The people here are so nice and supportive; they’re the best.”
It’s been a busy finals day for Hannah and Paddy – they finished third in the working hunter finals, and fifth in the hunter hack finals. It’s a great way to end her youth career – this is her last year of AQHYA eligibility. Newly graduated from high school, she plans to focus on her riding and attend college in the future.
Hannah is quick to thank her parents, Robert and Jacquelyn, who are here to help her out and cheer her on.
“I (also) want to thank (AQHA Professional Horseman) Linda Crothers, my Quarter Horse trainer, and Julie Moore, my USEF trainer who has helped me so much this past year.”
Hannah Bedwell of Ball Ground, Georgia, and Regal To A Te repeat as youth world champs in equitation over fences.