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Quarter Horse

Sidney Dunham wins Youth Trail in a Big Way Contributed by Barbara Aitken

On any given day, Sidney Dunham is a normal 12-year-old girl. She goes to school, takes piano lessons, and stars in school plays. But when it comes to riding horses, Sidney is anything but ordinary. The crowd roared as the announcer called over the speakers, “The

winner of the 11 & Under Trail, with the highest youth trail score out of all age divisions, with a 229, Sidney Dunham!”

Sharing a smile, Sidney Dunham handed down her bronze Cham-

pion trophy to her dad, Mark Dunham, as she patted No Trouble Mac, her 14-year-old gelding. Photographers snapped pictures. Hugs were shared. A dream became a reality.

The Dunham family who resides in Jonesboro, Arkansas is no

stranger to the All American Quarter Horse Congress (AAQHC). Mark, an all-around trainer who specializes in youth and amateurs, along with his wife Clare, are both natives of Ohio. Like many “show kids,” Sidney started her show career in the lead line class, in her home state with the Arkansas Quarter Horse Associa- tion. After lead line, she graduated to walk-trot, small fry, and then to youth classes.

The Dunhams purchased “Mac” three years ago to be a learning

horse for Sidney. “He was in a semi-retirement lifestyle and he [didn’t] like semi-retirement. [So] we gave him a job. He was a good find for Sidney,” Mark explained. Sidney’s love for trail began when she started riding Mac. Often times, she can be found riding in both the Youth and All Age Trail at various AQHA shows that she travels to with her dad and his clients. While Mark works with clients, Sidney must make sure both herself and Mac are prepared for their classes. 2015 marked the third time for Sidney and Mac to show at the

AAQHC. “My first year was okay. My second year was better…and this year I won the Trail!” Sidney added, “On good days, we’ll be fine. On bad days he’s

tough.” “Mac’s got

quirks—like all the good ones,” added Clare. Ma c ’ s

quirks, howev- er, have proved challenging for Sidney at times. “It’s been a process,” said Clare. “I think today was a really good

example of [Sidney] finally figuring out that she can’t always make him do the things she wants him to do when she wants him to do it. She has to figure out what makes Mac happy. And when Mac is happy, everyone is happy.”

Mark believes Sidney “brings out all the good in Mac. He does bet- ter for her than anyone else.” Clare added, “Mac’s taught her so much. That’s what it’s all about. Him teaching her new things and them learn- ing together.”

At the end of the day, every horse deserves to be loved by a little girl, because when a bond such as Sidney and Mac’s happens, anything is possible. w


• HP AA Horse: Zip Up My Blumers, Lori Wilt; Res: Snap Krackle Pop, Twylla Lynn Brown

• HP AA Small Fry: Im Invited Too, Piper Anderson; Res: Mister Spontaneous, Kaylyn Kruchten

• HP AA Novice Y13&U: Suddenly Best Man, Hayley Freeman; Res: Mostly Chocolate, Giorgia Grace Medows

• HP AA Novice Y14-18: Blazinmytroublesaway, Deanna Green; Res: Invite Me To Paris, Emma C Phinney

• HP AA 11&U: Assets Miss Reba, Karissa M Shank; Res: Good To Be Sudden, Paige K Wellendorf

• HP AA 12-14: Zips Bossy Chip, Ellexxah Ireland Maxwell; Res: Beyond Captivating, Nya Kearns

• HP AA 15-18: Blazinmytroublesaway, Deanna Green; Res: GW Jack Bar, Harley K Huff

“I was hoping to beat him for once. But as usual, that didn’t hap- pen,” said Reed Kyle as his father, Pete Kyle chuckled in the back- ground. Both Kyles competed in the All American Quarter Horse Con- gress Freestyle Reining, and received top honors. Pete Kyle marked a 232 to sweep the Open division while Reed marked his debut freestyle run with a score of 225 to walk away with the Reserve title. w

8 SouthWest Horse Trader December 2015

• HP AA Novice Amateur: Thee Alpha Bett. Charlotte Clark; Res: Ima Hot Iron, Stacy F Funston

• HP AA Amateur: Winkin For Chocolate, Maria S Salazar; Res: KM Zip Me Suddenly, Gabrielle L Capron

• HP AA 50&O: Cee Monkey, Dan Yeager; Res: Frenchmen, Christian Beauchemin

Sidney Dunham & No Trouble Mac scored the highest trail score of all age divisions and won the 11&U Trail at Congress.

Shane Rux

Courtesy OQHA

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