Due to unexpected circumstances, Giorgia Medows was forced to pull from her third string to compete in horsemanship classes in preparation for the American Quarter Horse Youth Association (AQHyA) World Show. After having bad luck with her horsemanship horse, beloved gelding Wimpys Show Stopper was there, as always, waiting his turn.
Wimpys Show Stopper is a familiar name to the reining pen. At the 2009 National Reining Horse Association Futurity, Shawn Flarida piloted him to the Futurity Open finals and placed in the top 10. The following year he won the All American Quarter Horse Congress Junior Reining. Following the Congress, the Medows family purchased Wimpys Show Stopper, and from there he carried Jack, Giorgia’s brother, to the AQHyA Reining World Championship in 2014 and to Switzerland to compete for Team USA in 2017. “Show Stopper” has been a family favorite since the beginning.
“He is probably the most talented reiner we’ve ever owned. He is so athletic and very smart, sometimes too smart,” Giorgia’s mother, Amy, said with a laugh.
The 12-year-old Wimpys Little Step gelding was the first reiner Giorgia ever showed. She began competing with him in March of this year after only riding him a few times at home. Giorgia had Show Stopper qualified for the AQHyA World Show in reining in March and was using the Red Bud in June as a schooling show.
“The all-around classes are first at the Red Bud, and after a few problems in those classes with Giorgia’s all-around horse, she decided to take Show Stopper in the horsemanship for the last day,” Amy added.
The pair competed well together and qualified for the prestigious AQHyA World Show in horsemanship, too. Since the Red Bud is held in June, they only had two months to prepare, so Giorgia and Show Stopper practiced seven days a week, riding for a few hours each day.
While reining and horsemanship cues seem like they would be very similar, it is nearly the complete opposite when asking a horse for the maneuvers.
“You would think turning would be so similar, but he was so confused at first as to why we were stopping at one [turn] and why there is such a tight rein,” Giorgia said. “He would freak out at first, but he wants to be so good and he tries so hard. It was actually a really quick process.”
Giorgia’s parents asked her what her goal was when going into the AQHyA World Show, and she said she would be happy to just make the callbacks. Little did she know there was more in store for the duo.
“I was so excited to make the finals after the rail work, and I was just blown away,” Giorgia added. “My whole family was so happy when I made the finals. Everybody was crying. It was just a surprise making it with Show Stopper.”
After they made the finals, Giorgia commented the biggest obstacle was getting Show Stopper mentally prepared. She spent hours loping without stirrups and getting him used to her legs being wrapped around him since in the reining, that cue means go forward.
Since only 15 made it back to the finals in horsemanship, Giorgia was just happy to have gotten through the pattern clean. They called out her number for ninth place, and Giorgia was in shock, unable to believe she and Show Stopper had made the top 10 at the AQHyA World Show in a very competitive class.
Although Giorgia was the rider, it was very much a team effort to get the horse the best prepared he could be. Since her brother, Jack, originally showed Show Stopper, he knew the horse’s mindset well. That only helped with Giorgia’s preparation of Show Stopper for the slower speed of horsemanship.
“Jack has always been very supportive,” Giorgia said. “He had already given him to me to show in the reining, so once I needed a horsemanship horse, I knew Jack wouldn’t mind me using him.”
Jack added it was very cool for him to watch his sister show because the gelding is one of his all-time favorite horses.
“She [Giorgia] didn’t only get on him and go show, but she worked all the way through it to achieve that goal of making the AQHyA Horsemanship finals,” Jack said.
After showing at the AQHyA World show and the National Snaffle Bit Association World Show, where they won the Color Youth Western Horsemanship, Giorgia and Show Stopper are taking a break. She plans to focus more on school and will be making college visits this fall.
“I just want to thank my family for supporting me and for helping me through it all, and Twin Acres for the help and guidance,” she said. “Jackie Krshka helped me a lot, too.
“I might find a new horsemanship horse, but for now I don’t think they can get much better than Show Stopper.”