Please note that the Hard Hat rules have been updated:  

All Youth members age 18 and under must wear a hard hat at all times when riding and handling horses at AQHA UK events.

2018 AQHA UK Youth Team.  Photo: Emmelleff Photography




Watch the official Facebook page video from the Youth World Cup 2018 here:


2018 AQHA Youth World Cup

Lights, camera, action! Explore the 2018 AQHA Youth World Cup in our 4th video of the 2018 Summer Event Series. Ride alongside athletes from the 19 competing nations in this one of a kind event, hosted here in #BCSTX!

Posted by Bryan College Station Sports + Events on Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Fundraising for the Youth Squad

Did you know that whenever you buy anything online – from your weekly shop to your annual holiday – you could be collecting free donations for the AQHA UK Youth Fund? There are over 3,000 shops and sites on board ready to make a donation, including Amazon, John Lewis, Aviva, thetrainline and Sainsbury’s – it doesn’t cost you a penny extra!

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3…

1. Head to and join for free.

2. Every time you shop online, go to easyfundraising first to find the site you want and start shopping.

3. After you’ve checked out, that retailer will make a donation to your good cause for no extra cost whatsoever There are no catches or hidden charges and AQHA UK Youth Fund will be really grateful for your donations.

Thank you for your support

Fundraising – My Donate!


If you would like to help our team with some of their costs you can donate online at MyDonate by adding AQHA UK to the charity search. Details are also on the AQHA UK website and Facebook page. Youth rider Iain has agreed to play his bagpipes at the YWC if the MyDonate funding reaches £2000, so even if you can spare £5 please help support our Youth Team.

Many of our previous youth team have gone on to successful careers in the western riding industry as trainers and coaches in their own right, both here and abroad. So by supporting them now you are helping to support the quarter horse and western riding community here in the UK.

Thank you to everyone who has donated and helped our team so far!

THANK YOU to all our Sponsors of the 2018 Youth World Cup Team!

AQHA UK would like to thank all the sponsors who responded to the article about our Youth Team in the Equestrian Trade News earlier this year. The seven teenagers pictured will be heading to Texas at the end of June to compete against 18 other countries in the AQHA Youth World Cup 2018. They will ride in a number of disciplines, both western and English, on American Quarter Horses provided by the host nation. They have coaching and clinics from top US and International trainers in the run up to the competition, using that time to get to know their horses, before taking on the rest of the world!

We have followed up a number of exciting offers and are pleased to say that this team will be flying the flag for a number of UK and international companies.

Ariat Europe will be supplying their FEI team polos, light weight jackets and western boots. In addition, some of the riders competing in the English classes will be sporting the Ariat Heritage Field boots, breeches and show jackets. Our thanks to Melanie Selman.

The polos and jackets are currently with Staroak Designs Ltd (Penny Connah) who will be printing these up with our AQHA UK logo, names and ‘Youth World Cup 2018’. Staroak will be sponsoring the team caps to match the Ariat kit with some added bling for the girls.

Shires Equestrian have supplied each team rider with a fantastic set of luggage which includes the Team Shires holdalls, hat bags, grooming kit bags and garment bag. Thank you to Chairman Malcolm Ainge.

Teamrider will be supplying a red, long sleeved shirts which will be embroidered and used at the opening and closing ceremonies. Many thanks to Linda Titherley for all her help.

The team from The Riding Habit met up with our youth team at the Fenland Show to measure up and fit Uvex lightweight helmets. Many thanks to Lucia and Jamie Wilson.

Thank you to LG Leatherworks who have provided the Team with gorgeous premium black leather belts.

Belvoir Rug Company are making up 7 of their ‘Honsie’ rugs. These lightweight rugs which include a hood will keep the show horses clean in the run up to the competition and work well even in hotter climates. Director Richard Ellis is arranging for the rugs to be made up in suitable UK colours.

We would like to say a huge thank you to top US designer Kevin Garcia. Our Youth Team will be wearing show apparel at the AQHA Youth World Cup 2018 by Kevin Garcia. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Kevin Garcia has been in the show world for over 25 years and has designed some unique and stunning outfits for the show pen for everyone from Small Fry to World Champion winners. Watch this space to see how our Youth Riders will sparkle!

British Airways have also agreed to waive excess baggage allowances so we can take all the extra kit we need, including all the kit provided by the above sponsors.

We would also like to thank emmelleff equestrian photography for their great photo of our team.

So, a HUGE THANK YOU for all your help and we wish the Youth Team the very best of luck in Texas.

Sandra Loder 

Youth Director AQHA UK

Sarah Crouch

Sarah Crouch

Team Member

Read about Sarah here:  

My biography!

Iain Loder

Iain Loder

Team Member

Read about Iain here:

My biography!

Olivia Plumb

Olivia Plumb

Team Member

Read about Olivia here:

My Biography!


Holly Smithies

Holly Smithies

Team Member

Read about Hollie here:

My biography!

Katie Willis

Katie Willis

Team Member

Read about Katie here:

My biography!

Izzy Smithies

Izzy Smithies

Reserve Rider

Read about Izzy here:

My biography!

Maddy Dark

Maddy Dark

Leadership Place

Read about Maddy here:

My Biography

Mary Larcom

Mary Larcom

UK Team Manager

Charlene Carter

Charlene Carter

US Team Coach

Oakridge Easter Show

What a weekend!!! I would like to congratulate the youth team for their hard work and dedication this weekend and for achieving some excellent results.
Unfortunately the weather made training and practice a little challenging. It was too wet to use the outdoor areas so this meant we had to find time to train when the arena was free.
Practice for the events began very early each morning so coach Charlene Carter could prepare them all for the events they would be showing that day before other riders needed to use the arena.
Once the show was under way  Charlene took up residence in the small practice area and coached each rider individually before their event and then offering them helpful comments on their runs afterwards. She worked tirelessly from early in the morning until the last rider had finished their run.
The riders worked hard throughout the show coping with the difficult weather conditions and producing some great runs and results.
I would like to congratulate Olivia Plumb, Iain Loder , Holly Smithies for winning the high point awards, Sarah Crouch for winning the horsemanship, Maddie Darke for winning the showmanship on the final day with Twinkie having never shown her before.

I would like to thank the team at Oakridge for holding the show and allowing Charlene to coach the team throughout the show , and for all their help in making sure everything ran smoothly, and making us so welcome
Thank you to Chris and the team for feeding us all so well. Charlene enjoyed trying some new dishes.

A huge thank you must go to Carin  Herrick for so generously lending us her horse Twinkie for so many events. The riders really did benefit from riding and showing such  a well trained horse,    Thank you Carin

Thanks must also go to our coach Charlene Carter who never tires of trying to help the team improve and be the best they can be. The riders always enjoy learning from her and listen carefully to all she has to say.

Thank you also the the parents for bringing the riders to the show and giving their time so they can learn and improve. .

We now have a few weeks during which the riders can practice all they have learned this weekend,
Some of them will attend the trail clinic given by Tim Kimura
We will all meet together again at the Fenland show at the beginning of May when they will be coached on the bank holiday monday by Charlene’s husband Mike Carter

Thank you all for your support  throughout the  year so far,  we look forward to seeing you all at the Fenland show

See you all soon

Youth Report February Training Camp at Sovereign Quarter Horses


On Thursday 15th and Friday 16th February, the Youth Team met at Sovereign Quarter Horses for the first of their Team training sessions.

The first morning was spent working on body control exercises for the horses, making sure they all understood how to perform various exercises and how these exercises will help them when they go to the Youth World Cup. This was followed by maintaining shape and form through upward and downward transitions in all gaits. We continued with these exercises during the afternoon and included some patterns concentrating on the approach to the patterns and the accuracy in riding them. All riders changed horses throughout the day to give them the opportunity to learn from, and adapt to, riding the different types of horses we had available. After finishing, all horses were cooled down, stabled and fed before we went to the Cobblestones for a well earned evening meal.

On Sunday we began with showmanship, a short break was needed while one of the horses was lunged (being rather fresh!) ….all good practice for the Youth World Cup. After showmanship some of the group worked on their hunter skills while the others worked on horsemanship patterns. After lunch we worked on lead changes, both simple and flying, before finishing up by riding ranch horse patterns. Once again the riders changed horses throughout the day. By the end of the clinic they had all ridden horses they had never ridden before to gain as much experience as possible.I would like to say a huge thank you to all the owners who so generously lend us their horses so the team can ride experienced and finished horses and learn from them. I really do appreciate them lending all these horses: Carin Herrick for letting us use Twinkie for showmanship (and so generously allowing everyone to have a turn running the showmanship pattern, and allowing Olivia to use her for ranch practice): Jane and Mike Roberts for lending Fergie and Boy: Frances Neil for lending Herbie: Lucy Adams for letting us use Oaksie (and to Sarah Hood for bringing her to Davids): and Livy Lochhead for allowing Iain to use Red.

I would also like to thank the parents who brought the riders to the clinic and those who stayed and cooked for us all. 

Finally I would like to thank David and Sarah for allowing us to hold the clinic at Sovereign Quarter Horses and generously lending horses as and when necessary. Thank you! 

Our next meeting will be at the Oakridge Easter show when Charlene Carter will coach the team in the events they will be showing in at the Youth World Cup. 

We look forward to seeing you at the shows, and out and about.


Youth Report from Mary Larcom

On Friday 7 July members of the youth Squad arrived  at Laughton Manor for their first training weekend with our coach for the 2018 youth World Cup, Charlene Carter.

Laughton Manor is a great facility that offered us the use of good, roomy permanent stables. It has a large indoor arena and warm up area and two outdoor arenas, so we were set for all weathers and yard manager Granville made us feel very welcome.

The weekend began on Saturday after a brief introduction and chat with Charlene. The squad spent the first session working on their showmanship skills and all of them showed a great improvement during the session.  Then we moved on to horsemanship and once again the squad was drilled on their position and exercises it improve and  strengthen their position.

After this it was time for a well deserved lunch break and during this time we discussed the rule book, penalties for various events they will ride and what is expected of them at the Youth World Cup. After lunch we moved outside and worked on some horsemanship patterns and ended the day with a session on ranch riding, after which we all went out for a meal together at a local restaurant.

The squad assembled early on Sunday morning to build the trail course. This proved to be an interesting experience for them as they had to set it out as it would be ridden and measure all the distances correctly. This made them realise how difficult it is to set the course out and how long it takes!  Charlene went into detail on each obstacle and how to approach it and ride through and away from it before letting them all ride it.   After lunch they all worked outside once again and continued work on riding different horsemanship patterns, and finally they ended the day working on hunt seat equitation.

All disciplines were covered over the course of the weekend and I think I can say all the riders learned a huge amount as did the parents, and we all had an amazing time. Charlene is such a dedicated coach and her energy and enthusiasm for her sport are truly inspirational.  We are very lucky to have her as our coach.

Throughout the weekend all members of the squad, Charlene, myself and Sandra were all wearing the new squad uniform, which can be seen in the photos, everyone was very happy with it and it will be worn at all public events. 

I  would like to say a special “thank you” to the owners who allowed me to use their horses for this weekend for those riders who were unable to bring a horse.  Jane and Mike Roberts. Izzy Laxton, Sandra Loader and Frances Neil. Thank you to all of you.

July Reports

Youth Squad Training Weekend – The Youth Squad enjoyed a fantastic weekend of coaching with our US Coach, Charlene Carter, at Laughton Equestrian Centre, near Sleaford. Charlene took them through most of the disciplines they will undertake at the AQHA Youth World Cup next year. After a briefing on the Saturday morning with Charlene and Mary Larom they started with Showmanship, learning the manoeuvres they will need but also how to practice and train their own horses at home to achieve precise and flowing moves in this class.
After tacking up they then moved on to Horsemanship and worked on maintaining the correct riding position with a number of balance exercises. All rode the Horsemanship pattern twice and worked on getting their changes of gait at the correct place and soft, accurate transitions. After a lunch break they moved on to ranch riding in the outdoor arena. Again the emphasis was on accuracy and fluidity, showing good extension in the gaits where called for. Charlene’s attention to detail is amazing and nothing is missed!!
Everyone got together for dinner on Saturday evening at The Tally Ho Inn kindly organised by Karen Coleman. Great fun and excellent food!
We had another early start on Sunday to set up the trail course before breakfast. After an hour working on balance and position, which helped to warm up the horses, they were taken through the trail pattern, learning about how to work out their line to and through obstacles and then all had a chance to ride it with feedback from Charlene. They then moved outdoors to work on more horsemanship, with some ranch riding after lunch. Tack was then changed to English saddles for the last few hours of the day to go through the Hunt Seat Equitation and Hunter under Saddle classes. 
Well done to all the riders! The days were long, hot and very busy! with a huge amount of information to take in….the feedback from everyone involved has been really positive and we can’t wait to work with Charlene again later this year.
A huge thank you to Charlene for coming all this way and working so hard with the Squad. Another very big thank you to Mary for all her hard work and managing to find the extra horses for some of the squad, it wouldn’t happen without you!
Youth Camp – The Youth Squad will next meet up for a summer camp on the 11/12/13th August to be held in Hertfordshire. We are yet to confirm numbers and places are limited but if other youth members are interested in attending or can come and watch then please email
Youth Fundraising – Just a reminder that we have an Easyfundraising page so if you are shopping online and go though our page you can help raise funds for our youth riders. It doesn’t cost you anything!! go to and look up AQHA UK Youth Fund. Thank you for your support
Two of our Squad have already raised in excess of £500 each and others are well on their way to their target. This will go towards the Squad and Team costs….WELL DONE!!

AQHA UK Squad - AQHA Youth World Cup 2018

We are very please to announce that the 13 youth riders who will be going forward for selection at the end of the year to represent the UK at the AQHA Youth World Cup 2018 in the USA are:

Jolie C, Sara C, Maddie D, Gracie G, Natasha H, Mary K, Isobel L, Iain L, Jasmine M, Olivia P, Isobel S, Holly S and Katie W

They will be attending training clinics and showing throughout the coming months aiming for a coveted place on the team which will be selected at the end of this year. We will be sending at least 5 team members who will compete against other the countries at the event which is to be held at Brian College Station, Texas. There are 5 other places available, a team reserve and 4 Leadership places, these riders get to take part in the pre show clinics and will provide much needed support to the team during the competition.

The host country provides horses for the event. These are then graded and grouped by AQHA and each country will select a group, at random, from the pool. Only the youth riders are allowed to lunge and ride the horses and have 5 days in which to do so before the competition starts. No mean feat!

The dates for the YWC have been announced and will be from the 28 June to 8 July 2018.  The team will be training from March to June 2018.

This is an exciting opportunity for them all and one which will see them develop not only their riding and horsemanship skills to a high level, but also their leadership and ability to work as part of a team.

It is interesting to note that 8 of our UK based trainers and clinicians have been youth riders at this event in the past. One now works in the USA and one from the last round is now working towards her UKCC training qualification. It is therefore an important event in terms of the education of our youth riders which influences their careers into the quarter horse industry in the UK. Many others who have taken part have gone on to become some of our well established amateur riders.

We are looking for some major sponsorship and funding for this event. The Squad members themselves have been given a fundraising target and will also be aiming to raise their own funds to help with their individual costs. If anyone out there has any ideas or contacts and can help in any way possible please get in touch.

AQHA Youth World Cup 2018

Following on from the success of the Youth Team that travelled to Australia for the AQHA Youth World Cup 2016, plans are already being made for the next event which will be held in the United States in 2018.

Once we have identified all those youth members in AQHA UK and WES (Western Equestrian Society) who will be eligible for this next round (age 14 to 18 in 2018) we will be contacting them all with an invitation to attend (along with parents) an introduction day on Saturday 25th February 2017 at Sovereign Quarter Horses in Cambridgeshire. Those attending will be provided with a package explaining the whole process of training, showing and team selection leading up to the Youth World Cup itself, a budget for the costs involved, information on fundraising and sponsorship, and application forms.


Attendees will also be riding and can bring their own horses for this day. For those travelling further and unable to bring a horse we can make provision for some borrowed horses. More details will be included in the invitation letter.

There will be the opportunity to meet some of the key members of the management team and we hope to get some of the previous participants along who will be able to give an insight into their own experiences leading up to and taking part in previous Youth World Cups.

We are looking for some major sponsorship for this event and the Youth Squad will be asked to raise funds for the team. A sponsorship package is being prepared and will be going out early next year, so if any members know of companies and others who may be able to help us in this respect please get in touch.

If you wish to register your interest to take part or help with sponsorship please email the AQHA UK Youth Director, Sandra Loder, at

Youth Training

We are keen to encourage more youth into the world of Quarter Horses and western riding. When western training is being organised for the Youth World Cup Squad there is the opportunity to add in another trainer for the more junior members and those who might not be going forward for team selection. Apart from keeping costs at reasonable level, this also gives the younger members a chance to work alongside the others and be more involved at an earlier stage. If interested please email

Two youth members attended the AQHA UK Camp held in Yorkshire this year. They more than held their own in the group lessons with all the adults and enjoyed the unaffiliated show on the Sunday judged by Lucy Adams. Lucy also ran a pre show clinic going through all the set patterns and classes which was invaluable. Working with the four American coaches over two days was a fantastic experience for them. It would be great to see more youth taking part in these camps.


Youth Riders

If you are a youth member who has or rides a pure or part bred quarter horse in any other discipline like dressage, games, eventing or even just hacking out we would love to hear from you. We are always keen to include news and photos in our monthly emailed newsletter.

Claire Evan’s winning run

 at the Youth World Cup, Australia, 2016

Youth Team - funding FAQ

Just for your information on the Youth Team Funding – as we’ve had some members asking……..

1 How is the team selected?

Participants go through a rigorous selection process in which they have to attend clinics and shows to ensure they are not only a good rider but that they are dedicated and willing to take part. They must take part in  fundraising events for the both the squad and also for themselves.  Selection is also about character and whether they are a good team player. The final selection is done by the coach from the USA to ensure fairness and to ensure there are no conflicts of interest. Following the final team selection all team members, including reserves, are then required to continually provide regular videos of their riding to the USA coach in preparation for selection for different disciplines.

 2 Do the squad members have to own their own horses?

 No, they will be required to ride unknown horses at the YWC therefore it is essential that all members are seen to work with as many different horses as possible. We have been able to ensure that those wishing to take part in team selection can borrow horses for the clinics and the shows, and it was insisted upon that everyone rode a horse that was not known to them for the final selection clinic. It is an inclusive selection process and we invite any youth rider to come forward, regardless of whether they own horses or just have lessons on a school horse.

3 What do the Youth members and their families have to pay?

They must pay for (the list is long);

 3.1 Getting to and from clinics and shows across the country

3.2 Accommodation at clinics and shows

3.3 Clinics and selection classes, this includes costs for food, venue hire, clinician expenses, stabling – although in some cases these may be generously donated or sponsored

3.4 Team uniform – both formal and barn clothing

3.5 Show attire – both western and hunter show attire for those requiring it

3.6 All travel costs to the YWC for themselves and their family members. They are also required to pay for their accommodation and any other expenses while sightseeing or on a stop-over.

3.7 Everyone travelling to a competition is responsible for ensuring that they have adequate travel insurance – and it is not sufficient to have holiday cover. They must have a specific insurance from specialist brokers.

3.8 All costs and expenses incurred in the hire of a trainer from the USA, for both the YWC and any coaching/selection taking place in the UK prior to the actual event.

4 What does the AQHA UK pay?

4.1 The Association pays the entry fees from the Youth Fund, to AQHA for the YWC, which also encompasses all accommodation, food and excursions for all squad members, coach, manager and mentor for the duration of the entire event.

4.2 The Association also contributes to payment of expenses for the Manager and Mentor, both directly for the event and for prior training events/shows. Both Mary Larcom and Lucy Adams have given a great deal of their time for coaching and organising everything throughout this year – and we are extremely grateful.

5 Why does the AQHA UK send a team?

5.1 It is partly to do with our funding and what the AQHA expects of its Affiliates

5.2 The Association has always seen it as an essential part of encouraging young people into the organisation.  We need growth for the AQHA UK and the youth riders of today are tomorrow’s top competitors, for example, Lucy Adams, Tammy Greaves, Lee Rutter, Jess March, Rhia Tapper, Andrew Plant, Chris Dalton and Alan Payne are all now trainers in their own right, and Josh Collins, Luke Phillimore, Avril Wilson, Jessie Leach, Betty Edwards, Jessica Sternberg and Zoe Collins are leading Amateur riders


We rely on volunteers, on and off the Council, to help arrange all of the above.  Any funding raised specifically for the Youth goes into the Youth Fund to help pay for the entry fees. Any surplus goes to the Squad to help towards all the costs thus bringing down the total required to be paid by each individual involved.

We hope that answers your questions – if you require any further information about the Youth Fund or Squad then please email us at