Amanda Nelson shed tears of joy upon receiving the Robyn Hanna Sportsmanship Award on July 5 at the 2016 AjPHA Youth World Championship Show. An anonymous panel selected Amanda, who is from North Logan, Utah, for the award based on her outstanding displays of sportsmanship both in and out of the show ring. She received a $1,000 scholarship and a custom Gist Silversmiths buckle.
“I had no idea it would be me; I was just shocked,” Amanda said. “It made me realize that people notice when you’re kind to others, and I appreciate that they notice and chose me.”
The Robyn Hanna Sportsmanship Award—previously the Superior Sportsmanship Award—is given annually to an AjPHA member at the Youth World Show who exemplifies positivity and compassion. Presented in memoriam of APHA member Robyn Hanna, the award was renamed as part of 2014–2015 AjPHA President Meredith Milton’s service project. Meredith raised more than $35,000 in funds to support the scholarship.
Amanda began her APHA show career in 2004 in lead-line classes, and she now shows in Western and English all-around classes with her horse, Especially Fancy, a 2008 sorrel overo gelding; she also shows her sister Andrea’s horse, Mr Verifiable, a 2009 sorrel overo gelding. A lifetime of showing has taught Amanda to encourage other exhibitors and treat everyone with respect. No matter the results in the show ring, Amanda accepts the outcome with a smile.
“Sportsmanship means that you win and lose graciously and are never mean to other contenders, even if you feel they’ve done better than you. You still need to be nice to them and congratulate them,” Amanda said. “If someone has a bad run, pick out the positives for them and let them know that sometimes things happen. There’s always next time—it’s just a horse show.”
An active AjPHA member, Amanda served as vice president of the Utah Junior Paint Horse Club and is currently an AjPHA national director. The 16-year-old will also represent Team USA in showmanship for the 2016 Youth World Games taking place August 29–September 4 in Kreuth, Germany. Amanda strongly believes in the importance of Youth holding leadership roles in any organization with which they’re involved, especially one with a global reach like AjPHA.
“It’s important to get involved so you aren’t just a bystander; you’re helping others realize how good it is and encouraging participation,” Amanda said. “I would advise other Youth to learn more about the association and how large it is—it’s a worldwide thing and there are a lot of opportunities available.”
Amanda’s optimistic attitude comes from a network of encouraging influences, including her family and trainer, Sandi Morgan. Things might not always go as planned, but Amanda’s positive sportsmanship always helps her enjoy the ride.
“I want to thank my parents, Stacy and Julie, and my sister, Andrea, for letting me show her horse. My trainer is a great example for me because she always says good job to people and is always friendly to others, which is a great quality in her. My parents are always positive to others and make sure everyone feels welcome,” Amanda said. “Horse shows aren’t about winning—it’s about having fun and making memories.”
[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.]
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 creates and maintains programs that increase the value of American Paint Horses and enriches members’ experiences with their horses.