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  • Emily Coggins

Horse Shows During Covid

Every year my incredible horse, Sonny's Last Star (Laredo), and I show on the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) show circuit. Laredo is registered through APHA. This means he and I are eligible to compete in the many competitions held by APHA during the show season. Showing, riding, and just being with my horse are my passions, and I love the wonderful opportunity to work on and demonstrate our skills that horse shows provide.

A typical show season lasts all year. However, the bulk of shows are held from February to November every year, with the biggest of these competitions, the APHA World Shows, being held during the months of June, July, and September. However, 2020 provided unusual challenges to its show season, and many shows were cancelled or moved. Despite it all, APHA was able to hold a successful show season.

Emily Coggins Showing Trail. Photo from Emily Coggins.

The year began on schedule. Laredo and I were able to attend the Zone 9 Southern Classic on its planned dates from Feb.14-17. This competition hosts APHA exhibitors from all of Zone 9, which includes Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

Unfortunately, things came to a crashing halt around mid-March. Laredo and I had planned to attend a show in Camden, S.C., around the second weekend of March, but this show was cancelled due to COVID. After the cancellation of this show, many other competitions were called off through mid-June. However, things began to pick up again by summer, and I was thrilled to hear that the APHA Southeast Paint Horse Championship Show had been moved to mid-June. This was the first show that Laredo and I attended after the break caused by COVID. Things were a little different at this show than events prior, but I was just thrilled to be having a show! The only real difference was that the show managers encouraged exhibitors to send in their entries electronically.

Horse shows were able to continue basically as normal after that. It is helpful that they are held outside, and that there are many facilities available for competitions. I still attended a lot fewer shows than I normally would have, but Laredo and I were able to compete at the main events we had hoped to attend, including the APHA Youth World Championship Show in Fort, Worth Texas. This is the largest APHA competition for youth competitors, and is normally held in July. However, this year it was moved to September and held back to back with the Amatuer and Open World show. Despite the date change, and the condensed schedule, the show was a success. Laredo and were able to place in the top ten in both of our events, earning an eighth and a ninth. This experience was wonderful, and I am thrilled that I was able to make the trip and compete with my amazing Laredo! We plan to go back this year where the show is scheduled to be held at its regular date in July, but you never know what could happen. I just plan to enjoy the ride!