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APHA Ride America program announces “Saddle Star” award winners

ride-america-logo-2000The American Paint Horse Association’s Ride America program recently announced its 2013 “Saddle Stars” for the association’s 14 worldwide zones.

These year-end awards are presented to the rider in each zone who logs the most hours annually (January 1 to December 31). In addition to a customized halter, winners are featured in the May issue of the Paint Horse Journal. Subscribe today at phj.apha.com to read more about these horsemen and –women.

The Saddle Stars for 2013 are:

Zone 1 – Tristan Troudt of Priest River, Idaho
Horses: Will If I Want and An Ace To Win

In her second-consecutive year to win the Zone 1 Saddle Star award, Tristan logged 1,595 hours with her 6- and 8-year-old tobiano geldings. The Paints are great mounts for trail riding around her home in Northern Idaho. APHA’s Zone 1 is comprised of Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

Zone 2 – Sue DeKalb of Gilroy, California
Horse: Docs Solid Impression

Sue and her 16-year-old bay solid Paint-bred gelding “Doc” amassed 1,011 hours while riding in 2013. With Doc as her companion through favorite areas such as the Henry Coe State Park in California, Sue can relax and enjoy nature and taking photos of nature’s beauty. APHA’s Zone 2 consists of Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah.

Zone 3 – Melissa Shepard of New Underwood, South Dakota
Horses: Star Keepers Cheyenne, Ima Dun Jetcat Fender and Hold The Cat Calls

For Melissa, trail riding is a family affair. The Shepards enjoy camping in the Badlands and the Black Hills, and the horses provide a way to explore remote areas of the country. Melissa compiled 1,063 hours in the saddle to become the Saddle Star winner of Zone 3, which is comprised of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Zone 4 – Stephanie Husky of Bandera, Texas
Horses: Sorrel Sunrise and Big Toy

Stephanie logged 751 hours in the saddle with her 1999 brown overo mare and 2001 palomino solid gelding. in APHA’s Zone 4, which includes Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

Zone 5 – Deborah Larson of Racine, Minnesota
Horse: One Hot Rodder

A Ride America participant since 2003, Deborah says her gelding is the perfect trail companion because he enjoys his job and is a great ride. Together, they regularly explore trails near and far, which helped them rise to the top of the Zone 5 standings, competing against riders in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin. Deborah’s favorite places to explore are Wild Cat Mountain State Park in Michigan and Big Creek Trail Ride in Missouri.

Zone 6 – Deanna Boyd of Mena, Arkansas
Horses: Jamars Spots, Shilohs Triple Spots and Sheza Sierra Gold

With 2,140 hours in the saddle during 2013, Deanna took the Saddle Star award to surpass riders from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. Splitting her time aboard two mares and a gelding, Deanna’s favorite place to ride is Black Fork Mountain Trail. She says riding is a great way for her to escape real life and to release the stress of day-to-day life.

Zone 7 – Barbara Savoy of Reinholds, Pennsylvania
Horses: Bug Fevers Lil Bingo and Dudesmidnight Satinka

Barbara Savoy repeated her place at the top Zone 7 Ride America standings with her two mares, logging a total of 4,025 hours during 2013. Zone 7 encompasses Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia. Barbara’s logs her hours on her farm in Pennsylvania, and she says learning something new from her horses is more rewarding than winning any ribbon in the show ring.

Zone 8 – Shirley Hart of Leesburg, Ohio
Horse: Playboysbuckunleo

Shirley Hart and her 5-year-old chestnut tobiano gelding repeated their 2012 success with 2013’s top hours in APHA’s Zone 8, which is comprised of Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio. In 2013, Shirley logged 1,202 hours both near and far from home. She says riding gives her a chance to enjoy beautiful scenery and meet people on the trail.

Zone 9 – Tammy Dobek of Marianna, Florida
Horses: HR Kidnights Clu and Kidnight Color Design

The 2012 Ride America Saddle Star Tammy Dobek repeated for 2013 honors in Zone 9, which includes Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and the Caribbean Islands. Once again riding her 2008 black tovero stallion and 2006 black solid Paint-bred mare, Tammy finished the year with total of 2,416 hours. Both horses are special to her because they are always willing to go the extra mile. In addition to riding in state parks and private trails, Tammy also rides her horses in a mounted drill team.

Zone 10 – Ainsley Nickel of Nipawin, Saskatchewan, Canada
Horses: Socketts High Socks and A Classical Classic

Ainsley once again captured APHA Ride America Saddle Star honors for Zone 10 with her 2013 total of 1,885 hours. Ainsley and her mounts often frequent trails around their home, either alone or with friends. Zone 10 is made up of the Western Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan and Yukon.

Zone 11 – Charlene Davis of Hubbards, Nova Scotia, Canada
Horse: Heza CC Image

Charlene and her 1996 black tobiano gelding logged 207 hours in 2013 to take the Saddle Star award in Zone 11, which is made of the Eastern Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Quebec.

Zone 12 – Stephen Cox of Carbury-County, Kildare, Ireland
Horse: Allstar Crash Hancock

For the second year in a row, Stephen and his 13-year-old black overo stallion, nicknamed “Cowboy,” took home the Zone 12 top honors, amassing 356 hours. Zone 12 includes all European countries.

Zone 14 – Lee Ann Hall of Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia
Horse: HMF Perception

Lee Ann and her 2007 sorrel overo gelding “Jake,” repeated their 2012 success with 2013’s top hours in APHA’s Zone 14, which is comprised of Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. Logging 216 total hours, Lee Ann splits time between showing and trail riding.

APHA’s Ride America program is designed for anyone riding an American Paint Horse. Program participants enroll their horse and log their hours in the saddle, moving up through the 14 achievement levels—from 100 to 10,000 hours—with those hours permanently recorded on the horse’s official lifetime performance record. Participants also earn patches, certificates of achievement and discounts on Ride America clothing, tack and trail riding accessories. APHA welcomes recreational riders with special membership packages designed just for them:


  • The Trail Boss ($80): Includes a one-year APHA membership, annual enrollment in the Ride America program, a free gift and a one-year subscription to The Trail Rider magazine.
  • The Wrangler ($40): For current APHA members, includes annual enrollment in the Ride America program, a free gift and a one-year subscription to The Trail Rider.
  • The Day Rider ($15): For current APHA members who are already enrolled in Ride America, includes a one-year subscription to The Trail Rider.

For more information, contact:
Cindy Grier
Ride America Director
(817) 834-2742
[email protected]

[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.]