This year’s Carolina Classic Derby marked Abigail Ehringer, of Dawsonville, Georgia, and her gelding All You Need Is Luv’s second time to compete in the show, held May 9-12 at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Tryon, North Carolina. Ehringer, who had more than $16,226 in Equi-Stat earnings following the Carolina Classic Derby, said she loved showing at the Tyron facility, especially in the big arena.
Last year’s show didn’t go as well as Ehringer had hoped, but she couldn’t have been happier with her 6-year-old gelding’s performance this year. They won all four levels in the Derby Non-Pro with a score of 214 and collected $7,358.
Ehringer, who purchased her gelding (Wimpys Little Step x Easys Lil Barbie x Easy Otie Whiz) as a 4-year-old in December 2017, said she was feeling pretty confident going into the Derby as she and All You Need Is Luv had been performing pretty consistently. While they had a lot of bobbles during their 2018 performance, this year’s run was nearly penalty free — with only one trot penalty.
“I felt pretty good about the run, and it’s probably one of our best [runs] so far,” she said, citing the gelding’s stops and circles as some of his best maneuvers. “He’s a big stopper, and then he circles really cute.
“He’s definitely the sweetest horse I’ve ever had,” she added. “He’s always got his ears up, he’s always happy and happy to do his job, and he always tries!”
All You Need Is Luv’s barn name is “Ringo.” The horse’s former owner was a fan of The Beatles, Ehringer said, and named the gelding after the band’s drummer Ringo Starr.
Bred by Marc and Kathy Gordon, of Elgin, Illinois, Ringo will be shown in a few more derby events this year, Ehringer said.
“We’re not sure exactly which ones — we may go to the Mid-Atlantic and the Syracuse derby [Central New York Reining Horse Association Derby], and we’ve considered the NRHA Derby,” she said. “We just haven’t decided yet.”
There are no plans to sell Ringo, who has lifetime earnings of more than $19,000 — at least for now.
“We’ll be keeping him for the rest of the year,” Ehringer said.
The horsewoman’s interest in reining began about four or five years ago at a Warwick Schiller clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. Quite a few people have helped Ehringer with her reining for the past five years, including Peter DeFreitas, who assisted her at the Carolina Classic Derby.
With her mom’s help, Ehringer has been able to keep Ringo tuned up at home rather than keeping him at a trainer’s.
“I used to show hunters when I was little because my mom [Kim Ehringer] trained them,” Ehringer said. “Then we both got into the reining.”
Ehringer’s mom started riding hunter/jumpers when she was about 11 years old, then showed Western event horses during her 20s and 30s. After taking some time away from show pen, she decided she wanted to try the reining discipline, and that’s when she and her daughter both got involved in the sport.
Ehringer’s father, Kevin, likes to play golf and has never been into horses, but he does attends Ehringer’s shows to support and cheer her on. Ehringer has one older brother, Mac, who is also not into horses. Ehringer, a 16-year-old high school sophomore, plans to attend college and would like to major in business management.