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APHA members donate horses to make riders dreams come true at Paint World

By Libby Collins

Though it’s an event filled with intense competition, the APHA Youth World Championship Show is ripe for stories of true kindness and community. On the first day of events at the 2018 Youth World Show, the Paint community rallied together to ensure talented young equestrians are able to chase their dreams.

Kindness Abroad

Every year, regional APHA clubs from across the United States send teams to compete in the Youth Team Tournament. But this year’s event has some extra guests, thanks to the help of Lazo Performance Horses of Caldwell, Texas. Five Australian Paint lovers are attending the Youth World Show to compete in the biennial Youth World Games, and they hoped to make the most of their long trek to the United States by also participating in the Youth Team Tournament, too. Trainer Kelly Lazo’s daughter, Sabine, is competing for Team USA, and heard about Team Australia’s hopes and wanted to help. The Lazos donated four horses to the Australian team so they could compete in the tournament.

“It was a great experience working with Australia; the kids were so helpful and easy to coach,” Kelly said.

Kelly hopes that Australia’s participation in the tournament will push more Youth World Games teams to compete in future years.

“It was really cool to see U.S. people take such a vested interest in this team and include them in the Youth World Show,” Director of Youth Activities and APHA Events Christine Gillett said.

Though Youth Team Tournament action wraps up June 27, the anticipated Youth World Games competition takes place June 27-July 3. Keep up with all happenings via the Youth World Games Facebook event page.

Dream Come True

Another APHA member helped a young rider’s dream of showing come true. Jade Herndon has enjoyed learning to ride, thanks to family friend Michelle Hancock of Wharton, Texas, and Shamelessly Zippo, a 2007 bay tobiano mare by Master Zippo out of Shes Shameless. Michelle recently decided that it was time for Jade and “Sophie” to take it to the next level, and they planned a debut at the Stars and Stripes Summer Spectacular equestrians with disabilities show, which took place in conjunction with the Youth World Show. Jade competed in trail, showmanship and horsemanship.

“Sophie is always laid back and has a calm temperament,” Michelle said. “The horse knows she needs to take care of Jade.”

Making sure Jade fit in was important to Michelle, so she sought out the help of Paint Horse friends to find a quality saddle and beautiful show clothes for Jade to borrow.

“My daddy always said, ‘Look good, feel good,’” Michelle said.

After posting her query on Facebook, Michelle was overwhelmed with the response—everyone in the Paint community wanted to help, she says. With the help of people like trainer Shannon Gillespie, who donated a bejeweled show jacket for Jade to wear, the young horsewoman felt beautiful and couldn’t stop smiling, making the experience so much more special and hooking her on Paints for life.

[Reprinting all or part of this news release is permitted, so long as credit is given to the Paint Horse Journal and a link provided back to apha.com.]
About APHA
The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest international equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded. APHA promotes, preserves and provides meaningful experiences with Paint Horses.