2006 AQHA Regional Experience Region 2

Region 2 winner Mary Roes and newcomer Jan Colton talk about their horses, trainers and the 2006 AQHA Regional Experience in their region.
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Region 2 winner Mary Roes and newcomer Jan Colton talk about their horses, trainers and the 2006 AQHA Regional Experience in their region.

Region 2 Winner Mary Roes
Mary Roes, 49, of Hemingford, Neb., has been involved with horses almost all of her life. Mary grew up on a ranch and today she and her husband farm corn, wheat, sugar beets and dry edible beans. She started showing at AQHA shows in the mid-1980s, and currently shows two Quarter Horses at the local and regional levels. This year she attended the AQHA Regional Experience in Rapid City, S.D.

Mary Roes | © Larry Larson

Mary Roes | © Larry Larson

Tell us about your horse.

Justa Shady Guy, or "Bubba," is a 5-year-old, 16.1-hand brown gelding, and I've owned him about a year and a half. He profiles beautifully, looks good under saddle, and can hold his own in halter classes. He's not bulky, but nice and correct. He's just a character, like a big kid who hasn't grown up yet--a little bit mischievous, but a good boy. He seems to enjoy going to horse shows, and so far I've shown him in halter, showmanship and western pleasure. I'd like to try him in hunt seat flat classes and western riding in the future.

What has been your most memorable moment in the saddle?

Actually, this year's Regional Experience was the most fun and really stands out overall. It was just a great time, and the anticipation of having results called from tenth place toward first is really a thrill. I attend so many local and regional shows, and at the Regional Experience it was different and exciting to see people I usually don't get to see. Exhibitors came from out of state and from Canada. Rapid City is familiar territory for me, but the influx of new people was a thrill and provided excellent competition.

Do you ride with a trainer?

Both of my horses are in training with Keith and Stacy Thomas of Thomas Performance Horses in Mitchell, Neb. They're about an hour away, so I go at least twice a week. They do an awesome job with the horses.

Tell us about your Regional Experience win.

I showed Bubba in four classes--amateur aged geldings, open aged geldings, amateur showmanship and novice amateur western pleasure. We were reserve champions in both the open aged gelding class and the novice amateur western pleasure class. I think everybody was having a lot of fun, and enjoying the laid-back, relaxed atmosphere of the show. I heard a lot of comments about the high-quality awards and was tickled with my awards. I don't go with expectations of winning, so any prize is a bonus, and these were really nice ones. It was fun to compete against new people, and establish a new benchmark to learn what I need to improve upon.

Would you recommend the Regional Experience to other show riders? To newcomers? Will you be back next year?

Definitely. Show riders would enjoy the level of competition, the nice people and the World Show format. With the limited showing I can do, I'll never get to go to the World Show, so this was my shot at imitating that. Newcomers would really appreciate the atmosphere, and being able to compete without any real expectations. I know of newcomers who really did have so much fun with it. I'm planning on coming back and would love to experience more of the activities and clinics than I could fit in this year.

Region 2 Newcomer Jan Colton
Jan Colton, 56, of Pine Ridge, S.D., is brand new to horse ownership, but her passion for them is lifelong, and she's recently gotten involved in a big way. With an intense career as a pediatric dentist, horses give balance to Jan's life. Within the past year, she's obtained two Quarter Horses and a Quarter Pony, and recently attended her first horse show, the AQHA Regional Experience in Rapid City, S.D.

Jan Colton | Photo by Christine Hamilton

Jan Colton | Photo by Christine Hamilton

Tell us about your horse.

Miss Moxy Soxy is two years old, sorrel, about 14 hands, and very delicate and refined. I bought her in April this year, and she'd had only about 13 weeks of training when we went to the Regional Experience. She did fine at the show--I was the one who goofed. She's very bright, and it's hard to admit that I might be slower than a 2-year-old horse! She's sweet and a little mischievous. She'll do just about anything you want her to. As long as she understands what you want, she'll try to give it to you. Her sire is a good reining horse, and with the way she's built and the way she stops, reining may be in her future.

What rider/clinician do you most admire and why?

Stacy and Keith Thomas of Thomas Performance Horses in Mitchell, Neb. I have "Moxy" in training with them, and admire how they ride and interact with horses. They're complete horsemen--the whole package, not just good riders--and compassionate. From my hometown, Bernard and Terry Strong and Hallie Cox are excellent horse people and have helped me so much as I enter the world of horse ownership. I also admire clinicians Ray Hunt and Clinton Anderson.

Why do you ride Quarter Horses? What are your favorite characteristics of the breed?

Honestly, I pretty much stumbled into Quarter Horses, but as a brand-new horse owner, I like their work ethic and their honesty. They have great personalities and run the gamut of talents. Mine are caring, with soft eyes and good minds. Even as 2-year-olds, they're very calm, not nervous and reactionary as some other horses can be. They can get stubborn occasionally, but nine times out of 10, it's because I'm not communicating well, and they're so patient with me!

What was your most memorable Regional Experience moment?

I showed Moxy in novice amateur showmanship. It was my first show and her first show! The most memorable aspect was that a wide variety of people went well out of their way to be nice to me. Everybody was patient, and took time to explain things and answer my questions. A fellow exhibitor, Janet Hansen, was particularly helpful.

Do you want to show more? Will you be back at the Regional Experience?

I want to show again, but winning isn't important to me--furthering my knowledge and ability to work with my horse is. If winning becomes the purpose, you can lose that goal of trying to communicate with the animal better and refining your own skills. I'd like to attend next year's Regional Experience to see more clinics, and to visit with more horse people. I glean as much knowledge as I can verbally and by watching them. Stacy Thomas recently showed Moxy in western pleasure, so maybe at next year's Regional Experience, we'll enter her in some other classes in addition to showmanship.