Congratulations to Jessi McCurry

This award is presented each year to a youth member with a sportsmanlike attitude, who, among many other things, is a role model for her peers, and exhibits dedication to the American Saddlebred and ASAC.
She is a good sport in and out of the show ring, giving her large circle of friends-she supports every barn, not just her own-a hug of congratulations, or a shoulder to cry on if things don’t go so well.  In the 2012 season she had her own reasons to cheer as well as to cry, but she never gave up.   
“Margaret Stewart has an award in her memory because she was loved for her attitude and grit and…for being an entertaining, yet serious competitor.  Margaret’s laughter and quick wit made her a favorite friend of many”…the same as tonight’s winner.  As one nominator wrote “There is a fun streak to this young lady”, but don’t underestimate her for she is dedicated to the American Saddlebred, and being all she can be in the show ring, whether riding or driving”.  She makes a great helper too if your unloading a trailer, or need help at the gate, or selling pigs at the shows, or whatever!  A good sport, exhibitor, and friend to us all.
Congratultations to Miss Jessi McCurry!

Jessi's Story

For 9 years, Jessi McCurry, a 9th grader at SCA, has spent all of her summers and much of her free time during the school year at a barn in North Carolina. Her training consists of countless hours in the saddle to perfect her communication with the horse. She has her own horses that she shows as well as the lesson horses that are owned by her instructor that she has to practice on for many hours. She also takes on the responsibility of caring for and assisting the staff at the barn with the daily duties of running a training stable. Jessi has had many successful show seasons throughout her 9 years but the summer of 2012 was one of great sorrow and of great success. She began 2012 with a new partner named Leatherwood's Hats Off aka Woody. They had their sights set on August for the World's Championship in Louisville, Ky. They had spent the early show season qualifying and were on their way until May 25. Jessi and Woody were showing in Asheville,NC and having a great show until Woody developed a case of colic and was rushed to emergency surgery. It was found that he had a large tumor in his belly that had caused his intestines to be severely compromised and he could not be saved.

Jessi was heartbroken but continued to show other horses for people that asked her to catch ride due to her exceptional ability but she was not going to be able to compete at the World's Championship. Jessi's parents, along with her trainer and instructor set out to find another horse that would match and challenge Jessi's ability.
On her 14th birthday in June, Jessi was presented with her new partner, Hey Joe. She and Joe didn't have much time to get to know each other and Joe had never before been ridden by a kid. Nobody knew if they could get it together in time to qualify and compete at Louisville. But it seemed that Jessi and Joe had a plan of their own. Their personalities matched perfectly. They both give it all they've got every time they show. They also gain confidence from each other. It was so fun to watch!
After just one show, Jessi and Joe were headed to Louisville to compete for the World's Championship in August.
Jessi had a stomach virus and was in the ER getting hydrated just 4 hours before her first qualifier in Louisville. We even had another kid lined up to show Joe in case the doctor would not OK Jessi to ride. At least the other kid could try to qualify Joe so Jess could show back in the championship 2 days later. However, once again, Jess and Joe had plans of their own. Jessi was given the ok by the doctor and she and Joe made a great show to qualify for the World's Championship Juvenile 5 Gaited Title.
2 days later, Jess and Joe entered Freedom Hall. This was only their 4th time in the ring together. They made an incredible show and were awarded 3 rd place in the world!
What an accomplishment for a kid who has worked so hard for 9 years, suffered a heartbreaking loss of her equine partner, and then teamed with another power house horse that had never been shown by a juvenile!
Jessi plans to continue her career with horses and hopes to earn a spot on the World Cup Saddleseat Equestrian Team. This is a very elite position that only 6 riders are chosen for each year. They compete in international competitions all over the world, including South Africa.
Jessi also plans to compete for numerous scholarships in the equestrian world to help her with her college education.
Congratulations to Jessi and Joe! We can't wait to see what comes next!