I recently competed in the Andalusian World Cup (AWC) in Las Vegas, NV. AWC is my all time favorite show to compete in. This year was my third time competing in this show and the first year I took my own horse. The past two years my friend and horse trainer, Leeanne Mattos, allowed me to ride her Andalusian stallion and some of her clients’ horses.

Though it is called the Andalusian World Cup, any registered Andalusian, Lusitano, Friesian or any other breed crossed with one of those breeds can compete there. The Andalusians and Lusitanos show against each other because they have similar builds and movement, the Friesians show only against themselves as they have a different build and movement. I have a Lusitano named Ella. This was her first show ever and she did so wonderfully, especially considering she is still only three years old.

Typically when I go to shows I go to win; however, this time was just about a positive experience for my young horse. Horse shows have a lot of activity and can be overwhelming at times. The entire horse facility is indoors with climate control, this is great considering Las Vegas in September is usually very hot. The main show arena is surrounded by stadium seating and has curtains and an elaborate setup in the middle for the judges. There is something scary around every turn. Sometimes the other horses can even be scary, there are costume classes, halter classes and driving (horse and buggy) classes all going on simultaneously. The warmup arena even has televisions that broadcast what is happening in the show arenas, it turns out that most horses don’t like watching TV.

My young horse took it all in stride and improved every day, in fact on the last day, she even competed in a bareback class. Ella’s amazing temperament is one of the many reasons I love Andalusians and Lusitanos. Though I have had a lot of wins at AWC in the past, I was thrilled with my third and fifth place ribbons that Ella and I earned together!




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