2023 California Championship Amateur Ranch All- Around

Jennifer Dawson & Huckleberry Cat 

  1. Winning a California Championship All Around Champion award shows your strong desire to show. Which is your favorite class for you and your horse and why is it your favorite?

Ranch trail is definitely my favorite class. I really enjoy the variety of the obstacles and maneuvers as well as the creativity of the patterns. I love how competitive ranch trail is at AQHA shows and challenging myself to have the best ride possible that day on that course. It really helps that my horse, Huckleberry Cat (Huck), is so willing and easy going.

  1. What challenges did you face in winning a CA Championship All Around Champion award with your horse – or was it easy to win? What advice could you give to other exhibitors hoping to win this prestigious award?

This is my first year showing my gelding. He had done ranch trail a handful of times prior to me showing him, but it’s been a process teaching him to get over poles especially at the lope, finishing his lead change, fine tuning the drag and exposing him to new environments. It was definitely a challenge to win as there is stiff competition and great horses, but I would say hard work and repetition pay off. I’ve also been fortunate to spend a lot of time with my horse this year, becoming a team and showing at bucket list shows. My advice to other competitors is to not wait for perfection. Throw yourself into the process, enter the show and have fun learning and growing along the way.

  1. How did you practice and prepare to show in the CA Championship show? How often and what did you do (ie: patterns, lots of ride time, go out on the trail – or have more lessons with the trainer?)

We work a lot of fundamentals at home in our arena. Transitions, backing, spins, side passing and lead changes are our core work out. We practice pieces of the patterns and make sure to refresh on lope, trot and walk poles. Leading up to this show, we had just come back from the Pinto World Show and L1 Cattle Finals in Guthrie, so he was pretty tuned up.

  1. What is a special memory you have from the California Championship show? Tell us why this is special and what you’d like to see added for next year.

My favorite memories from shows recently have been showing with my two young daughters. My 9 year old daughter, Kendall, has been showing Huck in the Walk Trot classes and doing great which is pretty special. I’m so impressed with our young gelding. It’s his first year in the bridle, his first year shown and maintained by an Amateur and he is versatile and easy going enough to let a small fry pilot him around successful. He is amazing to me.

  1. How long have you been showing and what is your next goal?

I’ve been showing horses off and on since I was a young kid. I’ve dabbled in many different disciplines including the all around, reining, cutting, sorting, jumping, and  barrel racing among others but the ranch classes are my favorite by far. I’ve been showing in the ranch classes for the last few years. My next goal is to prepare Huck for Sun Circuit and the 2024 AQHA World Show and just improve overall with every show.