By Josie Fladager
After a 22-year career in the United States Army, Stephany Marcum was searching for a challenging hobby to fill her time in retirement. Gina Wilson, Stephany’s best friend, invited Stephany to come to the APHA World Show in 2018, and that inaugural trip gave the Army veteran the direction she craved.
“I was hooked,” recalled Stephany; she retired in 2006 and now lives in Westville, Florida. “As soon as I got back [home] I started talking to my husband and said, ‘I have a retirement goal now. I’m going to show APHA.’ ”
Needing a Paint Horse of her own, Stephany purchased a weanling from Gina: Invite My Valentine, a 2018 bay tobiano mare by Invite The Artist and out of Suddenly Sweet. Stephany showed the mare in in-hand classes in 2019 and had big plans to make her riding debut in 2021. Those were postponed, however, when Stephany landed in the hospital with several ailments, including needing surgery and then battling COVID-19. Watching the World Show online from her hospital bed only gave Stephany more motivation to make a comeback trip this year.
“The first thing I did, as soon as I got the doctor clearance, was jump on my horse because I was going back to the World Show!” Stephany said.
After working with her trainer to be competition-ready again, Stephany and “Charlei” returned to Fort Worth, ready to compete in Novice Amateur ranch events at the 2022 World Show.
“It’s amazing,” she said. “I feel so alive and happy when I’m here.”
[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 in 1962. APHA promotes, preserves and provides meaningful experiences with Paint Horses.