GoHorseShow invited sisters Katherine Tobin and Susie Johns to share reflections on preparing for the 2020 NSBA World Show. Having grown up in the Quarter Horse industry, they are united by their love of family, as well as their shared passion for horses and horse showing. Susie Johns is an NSBA past President and looks forward to every August because of her long association with the NSBA.
Katherine was planning on giving her horses a couple of weeks of rest after the Silver Dollar and Sun Circuits. Thanks to COVID-19, that two-week rest stretched deep into May. She credits horses and her vibrant personal connections for helping keep her spirits lifted. “I try to keep in mind how truly blessed and fortunate I am to have horses in my life. When you are doing what you love, it’s energizing.”
Katherine will compete with Hereicomagain and Suddenly A Good Bar in halter, horsemanship, trail and western riding. She counts winning the circuit in Select Trail at the Sun Circuit as her most joyful moment of showing so far this year. “It’s such tough competition with so many talented horses and riders. It is something I will always remember.”
Enjoying the beauty of the desert and staying connected to her horses has helped Susie weather the unpredictability of the past several months. “I have kept my sanity by riding my horses four times a week and enjoying the beautiful Arizona weather. Horses are so innocent. They have no idea about all of the chaos going on in the world right now. It is enjoyable, and almost therapeutic, to be around such innocent animals.”
Susie derives great pleasure from executing a pattern successfully, and in working with a young horse again this year. “I have been extremely blessed to have ridden some great finished horses with great success, but nothing is more rewarding than bringing a young one up the ranks. I love this mare so much, and during these past few months, she and I have come together, and I’m excited to get back to a show. It is a bonus that our first show back will be the NSBA World Show.”
When asked about one of her funniest moments in the show pen, Katherine recounted a World Show Junior Trail class. “You had to stop, then back up the chute. We came into the chute and stopped. Beautiful purple plastic flowers rested just a few inches under my mare’s nose. Before the dust from her stop had settled, she grabbed most of the flowers out of the box and then started proudly waving them up, down and sideways. She wouldn’t let them go. We started backing down the chute. I thought she was going to finish the rest of the pattern with those flowers firmly gripped in her mouth.”
Susie stated that her funniest moments “pretty much happen at every horse show. It is not always in the show pen or warm-up arena, but sometimes back at the barn. I like to have fun, so I’m all about enjoying the moment. If I can’t laugh at myself, then I’m not having fun.”
When asked to share one thing they would change about their favorite class, trail, if they could, Susie was emphatic. “No magic wand is needed. We have the MOT, Tim Kimura! His courses are always challenging but doable and are fun, most of the time. In these current times, where so much is unknown and always changing, it is nice to have our events remain constant and steady. Stability is beneficial in these uncharted times.”
Katherine concurred. “Trail has come a long way. No tires, no loading your horse in a side-by-side two-horse trailer with the saddle on, no hobbling or ground tying which made for some funny stories. I wouldn’t change much. I’m also glad they did away with the rail work part of trail. I can’t imagine 100+ horses waiting to do pleasure after a long day.”
The sisters have been training and showing with AQHA professional trainers Jim and Deanna Searles for nearly thirty years. Katherine pointed to their long-standing friendship. “They are so patient, kind to horses and humans, great parents, World Champions, and very close friends, both at horse shows and at home.” Susie agreed, adding, “their philosophy is all about us doing well, more so than themselves.”
In addition to their training and showing schedule, the Searles also manage million-dollar producing sire Allocate Your Assets, owned by Katherine and GW Tobin. “Al’s” foals have won AQHA and NSBA world championships in hunter under saddle and pleasure driving classes. The Searles also stand VS Code Blue, sire of NSBA and Congress champions, also owned by Katherine and her husband.
GoHorseShow wishes the best of luck to Katherine, Susie, and all attendees at the 2020 NSBA World Show.
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