(The Equiery • November 2012)

In 2011, The Equiery unveiled its newest perpetual award, The Equiery Perpetual Western Award. The award is in partnership with the Maryland State Quarter Horse Association and is given out to the Maryland native with the most points at the end of the Black-Eyed Susan Circuit show, held each year at the end of the summer. Mary Lentz was the first Equiery winner riding her horse Strait To You to several top placings at the 2011 show, earning her The Equiery trophy.

This year, girl power continues as 17-year-old Abi Buckwalter of Westminster took home the trophy. Abi is a senior at Westminster High School and is also in the Academy of Health Professions program at Carroll County Career and Technology Center.
We asked Abi to write about her experience at the Black-Eyed Susan Circuit show, her involvement with MSQHA and what it means to her to win this award.

Quarter Horses in the Blood

My one true love since the age of two has always been horses. Many of my friends and family can tell you that if you are ever looking for me, you’ll probably find me in the barn doing something with my horses. Some may say it runs in my blood and I can thank my father and grandfather for getting me hooked on the sport. My grandfather, Scott Buckwalter, is an AQHA judge. He also rode and trained horses his whole life.

My dad, Rick Buckwalter, rode and showed reining horses growing up. He and his friend Mike Whitmore also trained horses together for a while. My dad doesn’t really ride that much anymore but he says he now lives through my brother and me when it comes to riding.

I am very involved with MSQHA and am the president of the MSQHA Youth Association. I am also a Region 5 Director for the All American Quarter Horse Youth Association. Outside of riding, I am the president of my high school’s Best Buddies Chapter and editor of the Westminster Key Club. I like to volunteer at the local therapeutic riding center and enjoy being very involved with helping my local community.

Gus Gus
I began showing Quarter Horses when I was six years old and have not stopped since. I plan to go to a four-year college and pursue a degree in nursing. While at college, I hope to ride on an NCAA Division I equestrian team.

To get ready for collegiate riding, I have been working with my equine teammate Standing Bar Time. We call him Gus Gus and he is 12 years old this year. I have had him for four years now and he is the best! We have a really good bond and make a great team. If I had to describe Gus, I would say that he is goofy, sensitive, loving and a hard worker. He is always trying his best because he wants to please me. A simple pleasure of mine is going to the barn after a stressful day of school and just brushing, riding and spending quality time with Gus.

We have been a very successful team over the past couple of years. With the help of my trainer Amy Whitmore and lots of support from all of my barn friends and family, we have accomplished many goals and are still working on accomplishing more.

Gus and I compete in showmanship, horsemanship, equitation, pleasure and trail. We have earned many Youth All-Around awards over the past few years and have nationally qualified for the AQHYA World Show in 2011 and 2012. Gus and I have earned our Youth Superior in Showmanship and just recently, in Horsemanship as well. The Youth Superior is an award that is given out once a rider earns 50 or more points in the particular class.

Horsemanship & Showmanship

Out of the All-Around classes that I participate in, I would have to say that horsemanship and showmanship are my favorite classes because I feel like my horse and I are successful and that we are able to show off our abilities to the judges.

Showmanship is done on the ground with the rider leading the horse. In this class, judges are looking for how well you and your horse are able to complete a specific pattern of maneuvers. They also look for posture and togetherness.

Horsemanship is also a pattern class but for this one, the rider is on top of the horse in a western saddle. How fluently, correctly and smoothly you do your pattern is important. Also, the difficulty level of the pattern is taken into consideration by the judges.

The Equiery Award
The most recent award that Gus and I have won was this past September at the MSQHA annual Black-Eyed Susan Circuit Show. After a really good show, Gus and I were the winners of the Youth All-Around for the weekend. It was then announced that we had also won The Equiery Perpetual Western Award.

This is only the second year that the award has been offered and I was very surprised to hear that we had won. I knew that we had a good weekend but I did not know that we were the horse and rider that earned the most points from the entire show. I was thrilled to know that we had won!

I would like to thank The Equiery and MSQHA for offering such a wonderful award and the bucket of very nice prizes.