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2016 MAQHA Holiday Classic


By Christy Carwile; Photos by Carmen Davis

The Mississippi Amateur Quarter Horse Association (MAQHA) hosted its annual Holiday Classic show on December 9-11, 2016 at the Kirk Fordice Equine Center in Jackson, MS.  Exhibitors competed for AQHA points in a full slate of classes including halter, showmanship, western pleasure, horsemanship, trail, hunter under saddle, hunt seat equitation, western riding, ranch riding, reining, and speed events. The Holiday Classic offered classes for every level of rider, including Lead Line, Small Fry (riders 10 y/o or younger), novice youth and amateur walk/trot, novice youth, novice amateur, youth, amateur, select (riders 50 y/o and over), and open divisions.  

Offering exhibitors the opportunity to show to six judges in one of the final weekends of the AQHA calendar point year, the Holiday Classic attracted exhibitors from a multi-state area: Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Texas, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Florida, and of course Mississippi. Judges on Friday and Saturday were John Dean, Karen Watters, and Tonya Green. On Saturday and Sunday, Dennis Sigler, Mark Russell, and Kristi Starnes judged the horses and riders. With 450 plus entries per judge, the 2016 Holiday Classic had a 49% increase in entries over last year.

Traveling 700 plus miles from Indiana, Emily and Kiley Marschand won several high point awards with their horse, Gota Good Rodder. Kiley won the Open division and English division high points, and Emily was Reserve High Point rider in the Amateur division. 

Aprille Watts from Union, MS and her horse, Scoots 305, won Reserve High Point in the Open division and Champion High Point in the Amateur and Novice Amateur divisions.  Donna Beech from Grand Bay, AL and her horse, Mr. Hot Investment, took the Champion High Point award in the Select Amateur division. Annette Norris from Tylertown, MS and her horse, Chipin Tiger Leo, were the Reserve High Point in the Select Amateur division. Elizabeth Steck of Cantonment, FL took Reserve High Point in the Novice Amateur division with her horse, More Details Please.  Aulyssa Wiggins from Pride, LA and her horse, Promote This Te, were Champion High Point winners in both the Novice Youth and Youth divisions. Sophie Lansdown from Lucedale, MS and her horse, Krymsun in Blue, took Reserve High Point in both the Novice Youth and Youth divisions. Hadley Ware from Brandon, MS and her horse, Star Studded Zipper, were Champion High Point winners in the Small Fry division. Hannah Hayes Ware of Winona, MS, showing Lenas Pure Wrangler, was Reserve High Point in the Small Fry division. 

This year The Holiday Classic also offered high point awards in Ranch Riding/ Reining and English divisions. Hanna Hussey from Mooreville, MS won the Ranch Riding/Reining division High Point, showing her horse, Slying Cowboy. Reserve High Point honors in this division were taken by Christina Harris of Benton, MS and her horse, HA Chairman Mystique. As previously mentioned, Kiley Marschand of Indiana and her horse, Gota Good Rodder, took the English division High Point with Reserve honors in this division going to Aulyssa Wiggins and Promote This Te. 

New to this year’s Holiday Classic on Saturday night was the Ranch Horse Challenge, sponsored by Equine O’Mega Complete. With $300 added to the Open division and $200 to the Non-Pro division, the Ranch Riding Challenge was a jackpot class in which exhibitors performed a ranch riding pattern designed by Dr. Dennis Sigler of Texas A&M, one of the judges for the event. Taking home earnings totaling $634, Karen Johnson of Burns, TN won first place in both the Open and Non-Pro divisions with GQH Summer Camp and second place in both divisions with Gotta Hot Gun. Winning $108, Mariah Gipson of Oxford, OH placed third in the Open division with her horse, Timber Chic Olena. Katlynn Burchfield of Rose Bud, AR placed fourth in the Open division on her horse Frosted Impulse and netted $54. Lesa Lewis of Jonesboro, AR received $64 for third place in the Non-Pro division on her horse, ColonelsPeppyBarGirl.

MQHA’s annual awards banquet will be Saturday, January 14, 2017 with a catered dinner. For reservations, contact Suzy McBeath. More information on the website:

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