Friendships sometimes come from the most unlikely places. That was evident many times this weekend as 162 Arabian horses and their riders converged in Sedalia for the 10th Anniversary Mo-Kan Border Bonanza AHA &USEF recognized Arabian AA & HH Horse Show at the Missouri State Fairgrounds.
The three-day event saw some of the best Arabians and riders from across the United States compete to qualify for regions 8 and 11 competitions later this summer in Colorado and Illinois.
The National Arabian Horse show will be hosted in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in October.
“This is a double qualifying show,” John Simmons, Barn manager for the event said on Thursday afternoon. “Ten years ago the Eastern Kansas and The Greater Kansas City Arabian Horse Associations decided we would just merge and have one show here at the Fairgrounds.
“We held the first two shows here in Sedalia, and then we went to the American Royal (in Kansas City) and tried a few other places before we came back to Sedalia in 2015,” Simmons added. “We’re down about 40 horses from last year but there are a number of factors for that and we hope to grow the show in upcoming years.”
As a double qualifier event, two adjudicated class could be held concurrently at the same date and time in one area with identical class codes.
“We have two judges in the ring at all times,” Noel Ison, show manager explained. “What that means is that the scores of one judge will be used for the riders and horse to qualify for the region eight show and the other judge’s scores will be used to qualify for region 11.
“We also have some opportunities for our amateur riders with the mystery amateur jackpot championship program that we brought back for the 10th anniversary of the show,” Ison added. “We will have $10,000 in paybacks for the amateur classes.”
Each amateur class rider was randomly assigned a number and prior to the competition a show official would pull a numbered ball out of a hopper much like in the game of bingo.
The rider whose number was called would win a predetermined payback at the end of the competition.
“The nice thing about it is even if the horse and rider don’t place first,” they can still receive a payback,” Simmons said. “The thing that makes it fun is that they didn’t know they were the one chosen to win until after the event.
“It puts some mystery into the competition and the riders really seem enthusiastic about it,” Simmons added. “The great thing about it is that it levels the playing field and gives back yard trainers the chance to compete with those who have made significant investments in their horses.”
According to both Simmons and Ison, the sport of raising and competing with Arabian horse is something that is not inexpensive but the cost is not the most important factor for those who devote themselves to the breed.
“We do this because we love it,” Simmons said. “There are individuals here from all across the United States and we are all here because we really enjoy what we are doing.
“My wife and I always tell our friends that our vacations revolve around the horse shows and that’s how we want it to be,” he added. “These people are some of the most genuine people you will ever find; they are hands on and they have to be and they will do anything to help a fellow rider out if they need it.”
For Ison, the show is also a family event with his wife, daughters and granddaughter coming to Sedalia.
Isabel Ison, 15, who has been riding Arabians for a year and a half won her Hunter Seat 18 and under class on Saturday afternoon on Ravishing Ruby.
Ruby, an 8-year-old Bay, owned by Sharon True, is stabled at Silver Creek Farms in Raymore and is trained by Jamie McGlothlin.
“My older sister rode and it is something I have always wanted to do,” Ison said Saturday shortly after her win. “I love the beauty and how majestic the Arabians are but I also love how sweet the horses can be.
“We trust each other and Ruby doesn’t throw fits,” Ison “I love being around horses and working with them and I hope to make it my career after college.”
Ison, who is home schooled, said she has not decided on a college yet, but plans on getting a degree in business.
“We lease Ruby from Sharon and I know there are a lot of financial responsibilities to owning and showing a horse,” Ison added. “I work at the stable on Fridays and I am trying to learn everything I can about what it takes to run a successful stable.”
“I do everything from riding and helping Jamie to train other horses to helping groom and bathe them,” Ison added. “I’m having fun and I’m really enjoying what I am doing know and someday I hope to own my own stables.”
True believes that is one of the benefits to having a younger generation of individuals involved with the Arabian horses.
“I think that Isabel has learned a great deal from working and riding at the stables and I think working with the horses is a good positive thing for youth,” True said. “That includes everything from learning responsibility for both caring for the horses but it also teaches them about financial responsibility too.
“Isabel takes care of Ruby and she does all aspects of it,” True added. “I think that everyone can learn something from these beautiful creatures.”
True said that what sets Ison apart is her willingness to learn and take instruction as well as her dedication and consistency with her work and with the horses.
“I know Isabel loves Ruby, but Ruby loves her too,” True said. “They both have someone special to bond with and they both need that.
“I am so proud that Isabel has the chance to get out and show Ruby,” True added. “It doesn’t matter if they place or not, I just want the two of them to go out and have fun when they are together.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484