/ by /   Apha News, PHJ News / 0 comments

Spotlight on APHA Amateur program

Spotlight images courtesy of Karen Pumphrey and Carli Progin

Are you thinking about trying an APHA Amateur or Novice Amateur class for the first time? Perhaps you’re a little nervous because you’re new to breed shows or it’s been years since you last showed. Will it be a good fit for you? To ease your fears, we asked two exhibitors to share their experiences showing in APHA’s Amateur division.

karen_pumphrey-webKaren Pumphrey of Westminster, Maryland, is a 50-year-old manager in communications and marketing with the U.S. Department of Defense. She’s showing Gotta Hot Invite, a 2009 bay tobiano gelding by Special Invitation and out of Invested By Blaze (QH)—Karen purchased “Scooter” as a weanling, and after the gelding was green broke by a trainer, she’s done most of the work on the gelding herself, with lessons sprinkled here and there. Last year, the duo were APHA’s Novice Amateur Honor Roll champions in hunter under saddle, and finished fifth on the 2014 Top 20 Masters Amateur list.

carliCarli Progin of Dover, Pennsylvania, is 36 and an equine sales manager for Boehringer Ingelheim, a pharmaceutical company. Her first Paint was She Be Rockn Charisma, a 2008 sorrel overo mare who carried Carli through APHA’s Novice Amateur division; she later showed Just Say Whoa, a 2007 sorrel overo gelding with whom she won a reerve world championship in Novice Amateur Hunter Under Saddle. Now, Carli’s showing A Rising Sensation, a 2012 brown overo gelding by The Big Sensation and out of Company Time; together, they’ve earned points in both in-hand trail and hunter under saddle.

How did you get started in APHA’s Amateur program?

Karen: My husband and I showed AQHA for years, and then switched to Paints seven years ago; it was a nice change. I was ready to quit showing, and then I found APHA—there’s a whole different atmosphere. I’m hooked!

Carli: I have only been showing Paints for about five years. Now I’m showing in Amateur classes after I pointed out of almost everything in Novice Amateur. At first I was really intimidated, but it’s been fine. I’m glad I started in Novice Amateur classes; it gave me the time and foundation I needed to have a successful Amateur career.

What is your favorite event?

Karen: Probably trail. I really do like everything though. When you watch a good trail horse, it’s almost like poetry when you watch the flow. We also do showmanship, hunt-seat equitation, hunter under saddle, horsemanship, and Western pleasure. We just recently tried ranch horse pleasure, and I think I’m hooked!

Carli: My favorite event is showmanship. It is the ultimate equalizer. It makes no difference if you have a $400 horse or a $40,000 horse. If you put in the time and effort you can be successful. When I train my horses for showmanship, we develop a bond, a special understanding, and the countless hours of consistent work pay off when we nail a pattern in the show pen.
What do you like best about APHA’s Amateur program?
Karen: My favorite thing about showing in APHA is the Amateurs themselves. I’m impressed by what a nice group of people the APHA exhibitors are, and the examples of good sportsmanship I see on a continual basis. I’m always amazed at the willingness of people to help whenever anyone needs something, whether it’s a question about the pattern, or someone who needs fly spray or a girth tightened—someone is always there to help. APHA did an outstanding job with their year-end awards last year. The buckles are gorgeous and so are the bronzes and the saddle carriers—I love them.

Carli: Hands down, the people. When I started showing at APHA shows I was really intimidated and didn’t know anyone. I was amazed at my first show when exhibitors were talking and joking with each other in the line-up after the classes. It didn’t take much time to make great friends that not only talked to me, but encouraged and helped me, even when we were competing against each other in the same classes. Now I have wonderful lifelong friends and going to horse shows is like heading to a family reunion.

When I was at the APHA World Show in 2013, I was braiding my horse at 5 a.m. and this man came down the stall row, offered me coffee and donuts, talked a few minutes, and then went along his way. It wasn’t until later in the day that my brain made the connection—that guy was [APHA Executive Director] Billy Smith! That really left an impression on me. I am not well-known, and I do not have a training barn with a million horses. I am one girl showing her horse, but that didn’t matter to him. I will never forget that morning, and the efforts Billy Smith made to make everyone feel welcome and appreciated. That’s what makes APHA and the Amateur program so special.
What has been your most memorable riding moment to date?
Karen: There have been so many over the years I’ve shown, I can’t choose one. I have fun the entire time showing. Every weekend when I leave the show I think, “Wow, did I have a great time and a good show!” If I had to pick one, it would be the first show that I started putting APHA points on Scooter; at that point, I knew I had made good decisions and he was going to be a lot of fun to show. It just made me work harder to reach my goals with him.

Carli: At the urging of friends I went to my first APHA World Show in 2013 and showed in Novice Amateur Hunter Under Saddle. My most memorable moment was leaving the warm-up area and trotting into the big pen. Since childhood I had watched World Show performances and stared with hopeful eyes at the beautiful and talented horses as they made their way through the tunnel of judges and stewards to the far end of the arena and found a place on the rail. I never thought that one day I would have the opportunity to trot down the middle of the pen and compete at that level. I was so nervous, but I’m so glad I made the decision to go! It never would have happened without “Chevy” and my countless APHA friends that helped and encouraged me every step of the way.
If you had a word of advice to share with other Paint owners about the Amateur program, what would it be?
Karen: Horse showing can be a lot of work, but do the best that you can and, most of all, don’t lose sight of having fun.

Carli: I would advise everyone to get involved. The last two years have given me the chance to give back and help out the people that helped me when I was showing. Volunteering has been fulfilling and made me aware of all that goes into planning and executing an APHA show. I enjoy volunteering at shows almost as much as I like showing.

Ready to learn more? Get more information about APHA’s Amateur Program, apply for an Amateur card or find a show near you, right at your fingertips.



[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 creates and maintains programs that increase the value of American Paint Horses and enriches members’ experiences with their horses.