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MEET THE 24 OHIO CLASS OF VHRC RIDERS, PART 3

LONDON, OH, March 26, 2024 – Next month, twenty-five horse and rider pairs will step into the US Equestrian Arena at the Ohio Expo Center, one after the other. One by one, each pair will tackle a challenging obstacle course designed to test their athleticism, their versatility, and above all, their ability to communicate with each other, all while the clock is ticking and the crowd is cheering. Ten riders will place, four will earn cash prizes, but only one will emerge victorious! We’re talking, of course, about the 2024 Versatile Horse & Rider Competition, which will take place on Friday, April 12, during Equine Affaire. It’s going to be an incredible competition. In this post, meet five more of the talented competitors who will join this race at Equine Affaire.

  

Kayla Schlabach-Bossler and Masquerade, a 6 year old Gypsy Vanner gelding 

Kayla and Masquerade are from Navarre, OH. They’ve enjoyed competing in extreme cowboy races for about two years. Masquerade won the open division state championship in Ohio in 2022 as a four-year-old. Kayla says the Gypsy gelding has a natural talent for obstacles as well as trails, liberty work, and being driven.  

“He is very smart and trainable, and loves attention and interacting with anyone who will play with him,” Kayla says.

Kelley Forster and Jolene, a 7 year old Pinto mare 

Kelley knew Jolene was meant for her the minute the little filly drew her first breath. Although completely unrelated, Jolene was the spitting image of Kelley’s horse at the time, a Paint mare named Dream Girl. Dream Girl couldn’t have a foal of her own, but here was a little filly who looked just like her! Kelley fell in love. Fortunately, the little filly’s owner agreed to sell her to Kelley for the price of her vet bill – and that’s when the real fun began. 

Kelley supervised every aspect of the filly’s care and training from the get go, teaching her about leading, manners, grooming, and play, until she was old enough to be started under saddle. Then the pair began exploring the sport of mounted shooting. 

“She took to everything as if she had always done it,” Kelley remembers.  

These days, the pair loves to go trail riding and to compete in mounted shooting and mountain trail competitions. They competed in their first mountain trail competition in November 2023, taking 3 firsts and 1 second in the four classes they entered. A few weeks ago, in their second competition, they placed first in every class.  

“Jolene has proven herself a willing and eager partner,” Kelley says. “She is truly a rock star. At barely 14 hands tall with shoes on, Jolene has proven herself equal to any challenge I have thrown at her.”

Kelsey Spencer and Raggedy Ann, a 12 year old Mustang mare 

Kelsey began training horses when she was just twelve years old. At fourteen, she knew that training horses was all she ever wanted to do for the rest of her life. As an adult, she started her own horse training business, Wild Ride Equine, in large part because of “Annie.” Kelsey met Annie when she drew her for the 2016 Extreme Mustang Makeover in Lexington, Virginia.  

“Annie and I taught each other a lot about ourselves,” Kelsey remembers. “She is why I fell in love with training mustangs.” 

At Wild Ride Equine, Kelsey specialized in training mustangs and competed in six Extreme Mustang Makeovers. She was also a TIP trainer for the Mustang Heritage Foundation for seven years. After eight years, Kelsey decided to close her business due to the economy, but her love for training and teaching remains. She’s also excited to continue working with Annie. Together, they’ve explored the disciplines of ranch roping, ranch riding, jumping, dressage, extreme cowboy racing, and mounted shooting, and they look forward to competing in the Versatile Horse and Rider Competition this spring.

Kristin Fouty and Dun Got It Goin On, a 19 year old Paint gelding 

Kristin and “Boo” have been partners for seventeen years. In that time, they’ve enjoyed multiple disciplines, including pleasure, rodeo, ranch, trail, and many more. They’ve both had major accomplishments in the professional and open circuits. 

“Boo is a wonderful gelding with a great working mind. He is always willing and sometimes a little extra willing for a cookie. He is a gentleman and takes everything in stride,” Kristin says.

Marissa Filbrun and Hancocks Lucky Draw, a 4 year old Quarter Horse gelding 

Marissa purchased “Bo” as a three-year-old stud in January 2023. Bo was barely halter-broke at the time. Marissa planned to geld, start, and resell him, but as soon as she started working with him, she realized he had a little spark in his soul – and that’s when she fell in love with him. In March 2023, she started him under saddle. Ten months later, they’ve accomplished all kinds of things together, from roping to ranch riding to jumping, trail riding, obstacle courses, and lots more.  

“I know that we are both ready fo the next challenge thrown our way,” Marissa says.  

If you’re excited for this year’s Versatile Horse & Rider Competition, make your plans today to attend Equine Affaire on Friday, April 12, and watch the competition unfold. Learn more about the competitors for this exciting event by following along on our social media channels leading up to the event, and stay tuned after the event for results! This year’s event will be judged by Steve Lantvit and the master of ceremonies will be the official voice of Equine Affaire, Noah Rattner. 

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