Nine Rosewood Ranch horse riders competed in the National Snaffle Bit Association World Championship Show Aug. 14-15 at Ford Truck Arena in Tulsa, Okla. For the second time in three years, Rosewood Ranch brought home a World Championship Trophy from that event to central Kansas.
"We are so proud of our riders" said Rosewood Services executive director Tammy Hammond. "Seeing the dedication and hard work put in by the riders, staff, and many volunteers is humbling. It is an honor to be the only program in Kansas to earn a World Championship. For our riders to accomplish this twice in three years is amazing."
As one of the largest and most prestigious competitions in the United States, the NSBA World Championship Show draws the top riders and horses from across the nation. In addition to the World Championship performance, Rosewood Ranch riders also earned a third-place trophy and they claimed seven more Top-10 finishes.
"Each year we attend the World Show, the quality of the competition and the number of competitors has increased" said Eric Hammond, Rosewood Ranch manager. "Knowing they will be judged against ‘the best’ motivates our riders. Performing well rewards the countless hours practicing and preparing by all involved."
Competing in only his second world show, Rosewood’s Shaun Ledesma, riding Dolly - a flashy bay with a bold blaze and four white socks - rode to a World Championship finish in the Western Pleasure Supported Rider category. After earning a third-place trophy in the event a year earlier, Ledesma worked hard to improve his skills this past year. He becomes the second Rosewood rider to earn a world title. Two years ago, fellow rider Jere McCutchen brought home Rosewood’s first World Championship trophy.
"Winning the World Championship has boosted Shaun’s self-esteem tremendously,” said Rosewood Ranch instructor Melinda Suppes. “He still doesn’t say much because he’s shy, but he smiles constantly now. You can see the extra confidence in his face and in his demeanor. He’ll always remember what he accomplished on such a large stage.”
Rosewood's Jamie Crone captured the third place trophy in the Western Pleasure Supported Rider category. It was the second straight year Crone won a trophy in this event. Jamie continued his consistent outstanding performance by placing fifth overall in the Trail Pattern event.
“Jamie winning two trophies in consecutive years is remarkable," said Suppes. "He has Spina Bifida which makes it very difficult for him to sit up straight."
Leading the way among Independent riders was Krystal Thorne, placing fourth in Western Pleasure. She also medaled in the Trail Pattern event, earning a ninth place finish.
“Krystal's improvement is a testament to her hard work this year; it is the very best she has done in four years,” said Eric Hammond.
For Thorne, this year’s World Show accomplishments mean more than just medals and ribbons.
“Finishing fourth and in the top-10 with my rides has gotten me thinking, if I can do so well with horse riding, then surely I can do well with other things in life,” explained Thorne. “I may fail a few times, but if I keep working at it, I know that I will eventually succeed.
“If I never had the opportunity to work at the Ranch with the horses and if I never had the chance to learn to ride them, I would have never grown as a person to the level I have,” continued Thorne. “I thank Tammy and Eric Hammond for giving me that chance.”
Placing along with Thorne in the Western Pleasure category was veteran Rosewood rider Mary Minear in fifth place. Minear also led Rosewood’s Independent riders in the Horsemanship category, with a 12th place finish.
“Mary rode very strong this year, amid some very stiff competition," said Eric Hammond. “Overall, our riders turned in very solid performances. All of Rosewood’s Independent riders qualified for the finals in Horsemanship and Trail categories; not an easy task given the skill of the competitors.”
Rosewood horses performing in the World Show were: Daisy (with riders Jamie Crone and Mary Minear), Dolly (Krystal Thorne and Shaun Ledesma), Moe (Robin Bethel and Chris Devine), Sheik (Jeremiah McCutchen and Josh Trimmer), Dottie (Charles Bortz).
This year 14 horse handlers and volunteers traveled along with the nine Rosewood riders. Those individuals were Juan Bodine, Carolyn and George Devine, Herbie Douglass, Brian Freeman, Eric and Tammy Hammond, Debbie Larkin, Jennifer Stoddard, Melinda Suppes, Harold Thorne, Brett and Susan Swonger, and Terese Wilson.
Reflecting on the World Show experience, Tammy Hammond said, “Our annual trips to the World Show are successful because of our dedicated staff and volunteers, who make the trek each year to Tulsa. It’s a lot of fun, but it is also a tremendous amount of work before, during and after the event. It is exhausting, but well worth it. The time spent together as a team is invaluable.”
Harold Thorne, a volunteer who has made the Tulsa trip four straight years, acknowledged the hard work involved, but he said he looks forward to the opportunity every year.
“It’s a privilege to be able to be a part of these events; to be able to help out and just to be there experiencing these special moments with the riders,” said Thorne, whose daughter Krystal competes for Rosewood. “I’m just a small part of the overall process. I’ve thanked Eric and Tammy a number of times just to have the opportunity to be able to go along and help out.
“I appreciate that God has given me the chance to help where I can and to help these riders achieve something that maybe they weren’t able to achieve before.”
Rosewood Results from NSBA World Show, Tulsa, OK - Aug. 14-15, 2014
Robin Bethel: 11th place/Western Pleasure, 11th place/Trail
Jaime Crone: 3re place/Western Pleasure, 5th place/Trail
Shaun Ledesma: 1st/Western Pleasure, 10th place/Trail
Jeremiah McCutchen: 12th place/Western Pleasure, 12th place/Trail
Charles Bortz: Finalist/Western Pleasure, 14th place/Horsemanship, Finalist/Trail
Chris Devine: Finalist/Western Pleasure, Finalist/Horsemanship, Finalist/Trail
Mary Minear: 5th place/Western Pleasure, Finalist/Trail, 12th place/Horsemanship
Krystal Thorne: 4th place/Western Pleasure, 9th place/Trail, 13th place/Horsemanship
Josh Trimmer: 11th place/Western Pleasure, 9th place/Trail, Finalist/Horsemanship
Find more about Rosewood Services Inc. online, http://rosewoodservices.com