Helena native receives top award at horse show
Published 5:24 pm Monday, November 9, 2015
By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer
HELENA–Seven riders recently attended and competed in the 16th annual National Academy Championship Finals Horse Show in Murfreesboro, Tenn. and one of those riders, a Helena native, won a national championship.
With more than 834 entries in the horse show, the seven riders who practice and ride at Rocking S Farm in Helena all made the trip to Tennessee to compete.
Alexandra Hughes had the best finish as she received first and second place, a top four and placed in the top 10 in the equitation final. She received first place in the pleasure final in the walk and trot 9-12 age group.
The other riders’ results were Elise Kelly who placed 10 out of 12 in the 9-10 age group for walk and trot, Kaitlyn Shebs who placed eight out of 12 in the 9-10 age group, Grace Dikeman who placed nine out of 12 in the 11-12 age group walk and trot, Carolyn White who placed in the top three all the way through and then top three in the two finals in the adult walk and trot division, Laura Dogtle who placed in the top three and top 10 in the two adult walk trot canter finals and Emma Farnlacher who got first out of 15, a top three, a top four, two top 10 and two finals of the walk, trot canter.
Suzanne Schnetzler, owner of Rocking S Farm in Helena, has helped train and develop the girls as riders over the last few years and said this is the most she’s ever taken to the horse show.
“This is the most I’ve ever taken,” said Schnetzler. “Last year I took five riders and this year I took seven. There are horses there from all over the U.S. and 19 states were represented.”
To prepare for the horse show, the girls spent months doing extra riding, training and exercising to prepare for the competition that is judged by a panel of three judges.
Schnetzler said the competition is good for the riders because it is set on a national level.
“The advantage to this horse show is that the riders are competing on a national level instead of locally,” said Schnetzler. “It’s one of the toughest competitions they’ll ever be involved in in the academy division.”
Hughes and the other riders had previously won numerous awards at other horse shows in addition to the National Academy Championship Finals.