AQHA Magazine September/October 2018 Sep_Oct_2018_1-52_proof_FINAL (1) - Page 21

2018 Youth World Cup Report Holly Gutterson What can I say...YWC was one of the most amazing experiences all of Team Australia will ever have, and it far exceeded all of our expectations. Youth World Cup is so much more than a horse competition, We all went focused on working as a team and competing in well known events, but what we came away with was a strong bond with people from all over the world that communicate, share, sup- port and socialise through a common love that links us all together - the Quarter Horse! Throw 200 teenagers, coaches and trainers from all over the world with individual skill sets and experiences, to sleep, eat, train and ride together and you get - what we all now know as YWC. The best fun and comrade- ship you could imagine! Trading gifts and shirts and making friends, being interviewed and filmed, all added to a fantastic atmosphere. After a very long 15-hour flight we left Australia and winter behind and entered Texas and summer. Training started straight away and during our first days the riders got to practice and get loads of lessons on some amazing horses at Robyn and Jenny Frid’s Show Barn and Johnny Mitch- ells Cutting Barn. It was a bit cool that Johnny is an Australian living in Texas and was once actually himself a YWC rider on the Australian Team. This week was fantastic and we all learned so much. But these were not the horses we would get at the actual competition. On arriving in College Station, and getting settled into our hotel with the other 18 countries all arriving too, we began to really get excited. First job was to get our “lip-sync” competition performance polished. While we all sweated dancing Craig was sunning himself on the deck chair. Apparently with little dancing experience, ours while not winning was a popular performance! This competition and dinner on our first official night was a load of laughs and got everyone in a great mood for the 10 days too come. The Opening Ceremony, with each country’s team being introduced and the national anthems playing and flags flying, was an emotional and really proud part of the whole competition. After the Opening Ceremony we drew our team of five horses and the riding began. While we weren’t expecting a team of polished show horses we were certainly presented with a challenge of figuring out our team. We had an 18.2hh gelding - that was easy he was the Hunter; we had a 22-year-old mare that did every event and was as honest as they come - she became our all rounder. Then we had a 2 year old that could not be ridden - again easy he could only do Showmanship, and the other two seemed to be pretty green Ranch horses. We travelled by bus to a private Cutting facility for the day of cutting competition, where our two riders Holly and Matt were teamed up with specialised cutting horses and their trainers to get through the competi- tion. This day was one of my personal highlights. The day of Reining compe- tition was a similar situation, where specialised Reining horses were provided along with their trainers to coach the riders through this part of the competition. The privilege for all riders to get access to such spe- cialised horses and coaching on these days was amazing. Thanks to team dynamics of pitching in, guidance by our coach extraor- dinaire Pauline Stuart Fox, daily counseling sessions with Craig Rath and sheer determina- tion we came away with some amazing results, particularly given that one of our horses was vetted out part way into the competition and we had to start from scratch with a new one. This was a team event and Aus- tralia came away with a worthy 4th place overall behind a very formida- ble USA team, and very strong performances from Germany and Canada. All that said Matt Frieberg deserves a special shout out being an amazing talent in the Aus- tralian Team. Matt received two 1st place performances and two Overall High Point Awards in Trail and Reining. Families and supporters from all over the world decorated parts of the spectator stands and the cheering was intense, the classes were large and the competition fierce, but we all came together at the end of the day caring for our horses, having water fights in the heat, chilling in the stables and having meals together - YWC was a very special experience. Our coach Pauline Stuart Fox did an amazing job and was very diplo- matic getting us all onto horses and through our events and we really appreciated it. Pauline has an amaz- ing wealth of knowledge and was fun to travel and compete with. Kim Johnson our Manager was awesome and kept everyone in check, she had the hard task of keeping us all fed, watered and behaving. Craig Rath was just like one of us! He was fun and made all the teams rush to be on the bus in the mornings that the Australians were on - he controlled the volume on the speaker!!! I think I can speak for the whole team that YWC is one of the most amazing experiences a Quarter Horse Youth can ever have. YWC creates more friendships, memories and opportunities than we could ever have imagined and we are all grate- ful to have been a part of it. September • October • 2018 • The Australian Quarter Horse Magazine • 21