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Arone Vd Merwe


By Tommy Brannon

The love of horses can connect people from halfway across the globe. That love of horses has shown its self with the friendship of Arone Vd Merwe, from Rustenburg, South Africa and Kay and Johnny Morris of Somerville, TN.

In the summer of 2018 Kay received a phone call from her trainer Mark Dunham of Jonesboro, AR asking her to provide her horse, A Crusin On Krymson, aka Cruiser, for the American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup in College Station, TX. The organizers of the event were expecting 19 teams from around the world and needed at least six top notch horses for each team at the draw. Kay allowed Cruiser to go, and the day before the competition, she knew she had to see Cruiser do his thing, so she threw a bag in the the car and drove to Texas.

Nineteen-year-old Arone has been riding both English and Western all of her life. Her grandfather, father, and brother all ride. They have four horses of their own and ten others in training at their farm. Arone qualified to ride for the South African team at American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup (AQHYWC). She arrived in the U.S. in June, 2018.

    With 19 national teams, the 2018 American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup was the largest one to date. The event is held every two years and is hosted alternately by the U.S. and another country in the world. The 2020 event is scheduled to take place in Europe. The horse show is only part of the AQHYWC. It is an educational, leadership-based event. The international teams have the opportunity to participate in equestrian clinics, leadership seminar, and first class competition – to learn and develop their equestrian skills in a hands-on-setting. Over 180 youth members participated in the 2018 AQHYWC, supported by families and friends from their home countries.

Mark Dunham was one of the clinicians at the 2018 AQHYWC. He said that team members from other countries were thrilled get an opportunity to learn all about cowboy riding skills. Then they get to put those skills to the test at the horse show. Arone drew Cruiser for her mount and placed ninth out of 35 in the trail class and fifth out of 35 in the hunter under saddle class.

Kay said that she and Arone met after the show and hit it off right away. Kay invited Arone to come to visit her and Johnny in Somerville, TN and Arone arrived back in the U.S. in January 2019. She started training on Kay’s horses and they hauled down to The Dixie National Quarter Horse Show in Jackson, MS in February. The training and Arone’s riding skills paid off, because Arone won Reserve Champion in Level 1 Youth Horsemanship and Level 1 Youth Trail on Cruiser and was Champion in Level 1 Youth Equitation on Lukin Hot In Krymsun (Luke), both owned by Kay and Johnny. Arone plans to stay with the Morrises until May and would like to return in the fall and attend college in the U.S.

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