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LONDON, OH, April 4, 2024 – The competition we’ve been anxiously awaiting all this time is almost here! On Friday, April 12, starting at 1:30 pm, our riders will step into the US Equestrian Arena, prepared to ride their best in the 2024 Ohio Versatile Horse and Rider Competition as they compete for $5,500 in cash and other prizes! Join us on Friday, April 12, at Equine Affaire and cheer for all our incredible competitors. This spring’s competition is sponsored by Espana Silk!  

In this post, meet the final set of talented competitors who will join the race at North America’s premier equine expo and equestrian gathering. 

Kiersten Bradley and Flo Dun It Again, 4 year old Kiger Mustang mare 

Kiersten purchased “Flo” as an unbroken 3-year-old and started her under saddle in May of 2022. After two years together, Kiersten says that Flo is the most rewarding horse she’s ever worked with. 

“Flo has such a big heart and tries so hard at everything I ask of her,” Kiersten says. “I was chosen to compete with Flo last year, but found out I was pregnant, so one of my friends competed instead. I am super excited to compete on her this year!”

Robin Ball and Bentley, 10 year old Appaloosa gelding  

Robin Ball and Bentley have been together for eight years, trail riding and riding recreationally. But when they competed in last year’s Versatile Horse and Rider Competition, something changed for Robin – in a good way! 

“I’ve always grown up with horses and ridden every chance I could, but last year’s competition made riding an everyday event,” Robin says. “I found so much joy in training, competing, and growing an even closer bond with Bentley. I was humbled to see how my community supported, encouraged, and cheered me on. It was awesome to watch them get excited about my equine passion. Several even came to watch!” 

Encouraged by her experiences, Robin decided to make riding and spending time with Bentley her mission in life. 

“I didn’t want to go back to just riding when I had time. I wanted to ride all the time. I wanted to share the joy I have in the saddle with the world, or at least my community,” Robin says. 

Robin and Bentley began sharing “all things equine” with their community, riding in parades and performing demonstrations at vacation Bible schools, summer camps, schools, and other festivals and fairs in their area. But Robin didn’t stop there. 

“I have opened our farm up so that people have a place to come and experience the joy and peace horses lend to us,” she says. “Equine Affaire has always been a place that holds special memories for me as a child, but for the adult I’m growing into, it has sparked a fire and opened doors and given me the courage to build my everyday life around these magnificent creatures and to share their beauty and joy with my community. I am so excited to see what opportunities are ahead of Bentley and me!” 

Sidney Hawk and Tj Smokin Silverado, 8 year old American Quarter Horse gelding 

Sidney started TJ when the gelding was a two-year-old, and they’ve been together ever since. Sidney is currently attending the University of Findlay as a double major in equine business management and equine Western studies, with a minor in marketing. She has been riding horses since she was just five years old, and they’re her passion in life. After graduation, she wants to be a horse trainer and run her own business from her farm. This is her second time competing in the VHRC; last year, she placed in the top ten with Zippo’s Blue Sky. Now she’s back to try it again, this time with TJ.  

“I want to give my show horse a chance to show what he can do!” Sidney says. 

Taryn Homier and Docs Genuine Snow, 14 year old American Quarter Horse mare 

Taryn and “Snowy” have been a team since 2013, when the mare was 3 and Taryn was 16. They’ve accomplished a lot in their time together, including many year-end Quarter Pony of the Year awards, achieving her NQPA Championship, versatility awards, and Trail Challenge winner. They’ve also traveled a lot and gone trail riding in a variety of environments. 

“Snowy is one of the quietest horses that I have ever ridden,” Taryn says. “She will take anything scary in stride. We’ve developed a bond on how to overcome scary obstacles, with patience and reassurance that I would never put her into a position that would harm her.” 

But in addition to the high points of their journey, they’ve encountered their share of low points, too – including the lowest point in 2020, when Snowy contracted an unknown illness that caused neurological symptoms and instability on her feet.  

“A week at OSU led to no answers, but she was eating fine, so they said to take her home and give her a chance,” Taryn remembers. “I was the one to give her daily injections and IV infusions. She eventually stabilized and, in the fall of 2021, I decided to see how she would handle being ridden again. She came back as if she never stopped, so I have decided we are going to ride like we don’t have tomorrow, because having her still here with me is the biggest blessing. We would love for a chance to compete in the Versatile Horse and Rider Competition to showcase that no matter how much you think stands in your way, or how many times life knocks you down, you can get back up and succeed!”

Tori Bromme and I’m Going to Ace This, 5 year old Mustang gelding 

A young horse trainer based in Dayton, OH, Tori adopted “Ace” in late July of 2023 and started him under saddle the following month. She’s training the Mustang to compete in eventing, but they’re also competing in local ranch shows and working toward learning to drive.  

Tori has competed in two Extreme Mustang Makeovers in the past two years. She has been starting mustangs for almost 3 years now. She finally decided she was going to take on her own mustang to showcase the breed and versatility of mustangs, and that’s how she ended up adopting Ace. Tori and Ace have enjoyed jumping, trail riding, ranch riding, and trick training.  

“Ace has proven to be too smart for his own good, athletic, quite stubborn, and very sweet,” Tori says, adding that she has big goals for Ace to be a breed ambassador for the American Mustang.

Wendy Montgomery and SF Distinguished Gentleman, 19 year old Rocky Mountain gelding 

Wendy and “Rocky” are familiar faces in the Versatile Horse and Rider Competition, easily identifiable thanks to Rocky’s flashy good looks. They’ve been selected to compete in five VHRCs, placed third in last spring’s VHRC, and are back to ride again!  

The pair have been partners for sixteen years and enjoy a variety of disciplines, including obstacle challenges, Western, endurance, trail, and more. In the last ten years, they’ve competed in obstacle competitions in nine different states and traveled over 7,000 miles together. But Wendy says the VHRC holds a special place in her heart, and she’s excited to come back. 

“I love this event and all the anticipation and excitement it brings,” she says. “It pushes my horsemanship skills to their absolute maximum, and I love that.  When I enter the arena, it’s not about beating my competition: it’s about the partnership I have with Rocky.  I really think he loves the crowd and loves when people cheer for him.  Rocky is my heart horse, [and] there will never be another like him. I know my time riding in competitions like this with him is growing to a close, so I want to make as many memories as possible.  I love sharing him with the world and he loves meeting new people!” 

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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