Ava Mariotti
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First-time fun: How Ava Mariotti’s attitude shaped her first World Show experience

AjPHA member Ava Mariotti of Jacksonville, Florida, made her debut at the 2024 APHA World Championship Show. Ava did not have plans to attend this year’s show until she found Fancy This Lope, a 2023 black overo mare by Lopin Lazy and out of Fancy Pearl. Ava decided to enter the yearling mare in the Youth Futurity Project.

“Buying a yearling was not the most practical decision,” Ava said with a laugh. “So to justify it, I was like, ‘Well, I can do the Youth Futurity Project.’ ”

Ava purchased “Bailey” just two months before the World Show and a few days prior to the mare’s first birthday. The pair quickly hit it off and developed a bond early on, Ava says.

“Spending a ton of time with her, just working with her and getting her ready for a world [show] helped us bond a lot,” Ava said.

Along for the Ride

While Bailey was Ava’s primary motivation to attend the World Show, she also brought another horse, Im Gonna Rock You, along for the ride. “Roland” is a 2007 chestnut overo gelding by Rock Four and out of Cottonjenis Chance.

“Roland is here to be my friend and [to] be Bailey’s friend,” Ava said. “I’m just showing him in the things that we like to do.”

This is Ava’s last Youth year before she goes to college next fall, and she is determined to make the most of it.

Ava’s goal for her first World Show was to have fun and a good experience, and the young horsewoman did just that. She earned the High-Placing Logbook award for the Yearling Futurity Project with Bailey and placed Top 10 with Roland in Youth Overo Color.

“I just wanted to go out and do my best with my two favorite horses in the world,” Ava said. “They’re both so amazing and hardworking. Since it’s my first World [Show], I wanted to learn, show my best and have fun.”


Article & photo by Alison Chaney


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About APHA

The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest international equine breed association. Since it was founded in 1962, APHA has registered more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories. APHA promotes, preserves and provides meaningful experiences with Paint Horses. Learn more at apha.com.