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LONDON, OH, April 4, 2023 — If you’re here, chances are you’re eager to learn about the next five competitors in the Versatile Horse and Rider Competition in Ohio! In this post, we’ll be introducing the penultimate five riders and their horses who will be competing on Friday, April 14, in the VHRC. The VHRC will begin at 1:30 pm in the US Equestrian Arena in the Coliseum at the Ohio Expo Center. Twenty-five pre-selected horse and rider pairs will race the clock to tackle a series of challenging obstacles in their pursuit of $5,500 in cash and other prizes. In this post, meet five more of the members of the spring 2023 class of VHRC competitors. (If you missed the first four posts in the series, click here!)

Alexis O’Neal

Horse: Pepper, 6 year old Appaloosa gelding

Hailing from Pittsburgh, PA, Alexis is a trainer and instructor who focuses on horsemanship, body control in horse and rider, and confidence-building. This is her first time competing – ever – and she’s excited for the opportunity to ride in Equine Affaire’s Versatile Horse and Rider Competition. Her mount, Pepper, belongs to one of her clients. Pepper came to Alexis about nine months ago as a spooky horse without much of a handle, and his owner confided in Alexis that she felt she’d lost her confidence not just in Pepper, but in herself as a rider. During his time with Alexis, Pepper has transformed into a confident horse who can handle just about any situation. Alexis says, “My intention with this competition is to show Pepper’s owner that her horse can do just about anything we set his mind to. I’d like to give my client back her confidence in her horse, and in turn hopefully inspire other folks that their horse (and they as riders) can do the exact same thing.”

Miranda Roesel

Horse: Shamrock, 9 year old American Quarter Horse gelding

Miranda and Shamrock are returning for their third round in the Versatile Horse & Rider Competition! This couple has been together for six years, ever since Shamrock was three. They enjoy competing in ranch events at open shows and love trail riding. On the trails, Shamrock loves playing in creeks.

Dessie Shepherd

Horse: Paris, 22 year old American Quarter Horse mare

Together for two years, Dessie and Paris enjoy riding in ranch classes. In 2021, Dessie won senior high point as well as reserve champion in Ranch Pleasure at the Greene County Fair. Then in 2022, she attended her first International Buckskin Horse Association show, where she won 3 of the 4 classes she competed in. This will be Dessie and Paris’s first time competing in the VHRC.

Raymie Shoop

Horse: Miss N Bleach, 26 year old American Quarter Horse mare

“Lena” was Raymie’s first horse. They’ve been together for fifteen years and have been through it all. Raymie says, “When I started riding her, I took her in every event that I could every chance I had. We would have an English saddle on one minute and be cutting cattle the next!” Their top achievements include a reserve world championship in ranch and a world-level high point in gymkhana. Lena is now partially retired from competing, but she’s always on standby for a trail ride or horse show – like the VHRC!

Anya Emmons

Horse: High Stylin Bobcat, 3 year old American Quarter Horse gelding

Anya and “Peep” first met in October of 2021 and it was love at first sight. Anya had been searching for a young horse to begin her training career and when she met Peep, she knew he would be perfect. Anya began riding when she was 6 years old and was immediately hooked. She began riding English but switched to Western after a few years. She settled on reined cow horse and has progressed in that discipline. Anya plans on pursuing a career as a performance horse trainer and is starting with Peep. With less than a year together, they have developed a strong bond and trust in each other. They placed 5th in the November Equine Affaire Versatility Competition and hope to improve on that in April.

Are you excited for this year’s Versatile Horse and Rider Competition yet? Plan to attend Equine Affaire on Friday, April 14, and watch the competition unfold in the coliseum, starting at 1:30 pm Eastern Time. 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!

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