Western States Stock Horse (WSSH) and Equis Feed are proud to share with you the recipients of the 2016 Equis Horseman of the Year Awards! Throughout the year, members of the WSSH board pay close attention to horsemanship inside and outside of the show arena. Before the final event in October, a WSSH competitor was selected from the youth, non-pro, and open rider divisions who best exemplified the qualities of commitment and respect to their horse and other riders. The awards were announced at the WSSH Regional Stockhorse Showdown at the Oregon Horse Center on October 14-16th. Equis Feed caught up with each of the winners to congratulate them on their special awards.
Shauna Anderson & Cat Daddy Quixote (aka Corky)
2016 Equis Feed YOUTH Horseman of the Year
“There is a place and opportunity for everyone at WSSH. Whether you’ve shown for years or are looking to try something fun, everyone is always learning something new.”
Shauna first began riding at Western States Stock Horse events in 2013. She’s had a few different equine partners over the years, but in 2016 her new partnership with a 2009 bay AQHA gelding really clicked. “Showing this year with my horse Corky has been amazing. I’ve learned so much and I can feel myself getting better with each show” says Shauna. Corky was trained in reining, but he didn’t really have much cow experience when Shauna started riding him. Most of Corky’s cow training has been with Shauna at WSSH clinics or with other instructors. Like horse-crazy teenagers around the world, Shauna is completely in love with her horse- describing him as amazing and perfect. Shauna wraps up the description of their partnership by saying, “I know that he’s going to give his best for me every time, so I have full confidence whenever we go in to show.”
Shauna and her mother Elaina Anderson are both members of WSSH, and like all members they appreciate the opportunity to improve in a friendly and supportive atmosphere. Shauna shared an example of the family-like camaraderie in a memory about her parents staying home due to a sick sibling. As she warmed up for her classes, WSSH members inquired where her mother was and expressed their concern. It touched Shauna to know that her family was missed at the event.
Shauna would like to take the opportunity to thank her parents and trainer, Nora Cook.
Shauna and Corky in the WSSH Stock Horse Reining Class.
Shauna accepting the plaque and Equis award vest in October 2016.
Tracie Bonica & Pistol Step K (aka Joe)
Equis Feed OPEN RIDER Horseman of the Year
“It was a huge honor to win Equis Horseman of the Year particularly in the Open category. I don’t think of myself as the typical Open competitor. I compete in Open because I give lessons, not because I feel that I am a ‘horse trainer’.”
Tracie Bonica is grateful. “I have been through a tumultuous three year journey with my health, and I am extremely grateful to be well enough to enjoy the sport that I love” she says. Tracie is also grateful to still be enjoying her equine partner, Joe, after 18 years! He was her first competition horse at the age of 8, and they have since enjoyed climbing the levels of the Appaloosa breed circuit and now WSSH. One of their most memorable events in the 18 year partnership was winning the Appaloosa World Championship in Novice Hunt Seat Equitation. In 2016, Tracie and Joe rejoined forces to experience the Western States Stock Horse Association and to win every show’s Open Trail class! “WSSH is a wonderful show association”, says Tracie. “Full of wonderful people and camaraderie. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting back to showing and getting to do it in such a supportive environment on my best horse, Joe.”
Tracie and Joe in the WSSH Open Stock Horse Trail Class.
Luann Sutton & Plum Dun It (aka “Squish”)
2016 Equis Feed NON-PRO Horseman of the Year
“WSSH is the show venue I was looking for- it’s affordable and everyone is nice to each other.”
After taking home the high-point award at her first WSSH event, Luann Sutton was hooked for life! She appreciates the well-rounded riders and the versatile horses that the organization encourages. The highlight of 2016 for her was winning the cow class at the WSSH Central Oregon show in the non-pro division. Last year Luann rode the limited non-pro which does not complete the entire cow pattern, but in her second year she was encouraged by her instructor, Jeni Kurtz, to go after the full non-pro. “I think being a jockey for over 4 years helped me with the confidence I needed to really run the cow,” Luann says enthusiastically as she talks about the pattern. “When I heard the announcement that I had won the class, I was reduced to tears,” she jokes. “Mary at the gate had to give me a hug.” The Equis Horseman of the Year award was a big surprise too!
Despite working full time as a dental hygienist in Oregon City, Luann is committed to WSSH and her horses. She drives over 2 hours one-way to take lessons from Robert Hartley. “It’s worth it” she explains. “The affordability of the shows allows me to take lots and lots of lessons.” When asked about her plans for 2017, Luann is considering taking a leadership position in 2017 with WSSH. She recently sold her horse, Squish, to a young lady in OHSET that will take him to college. However, she if very excited about bringing along her 3 year old named Tuscon (Sun City Shiner) from Olson’s QHs in St. Helens. Perhaps we’ll see Luann and Tuscon in the WSSH arena in 2017.
Luann and Squish in the Non-Pro Stock Horse Working CowHorse Class