CROWN POINT | Sheri Wandachowicz looks good in the saddle, but looking pretty isn't what it's all about when she takes her quarter horse Presidential Invite for a ride.
The duo returned recently from 2013 Nutrena American Quarter Horse Association East Novice Championship Show in Murfreesboro, Tenn., where they won the world title in Novice Amateur Equitation.
"This was a huge accomplishment," Wandachowicz said proudly. "I beat 104 other horses for the title."
The champion received a prize package that included a Montana Silversmiths belt buckle, gold trophy, neck wreath and top-10 patch.
The equitation class is required to perform "flat work," including a walk, trot and canter, and riders are judged on form. "First all 104 performed, then the top 40 came back," Wandachowicz said.
Novice competitors must qualify for this event nationally or through an affiliate to compete in each of the classes representing halter, English and western disciplines. More than 1,550 entries competed for top honors at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum.
Presidential Invite and his rider also placed among the Top 10 in Showmanship, negotiating a set pattern on the ground in an event open to all 1,550 show entries.
Wandachowicz followed the Tennesee win with a trip to the Quarterhorse Congress in Columbus, Ohio, where she reached the finals at the largest single-breed show in the world.
Wandachowicz, 30, and her fiance own Cedar Point Horse Farm, where they board horses for the public and from which they show quarter horses throughout the country. The farm boasts both indoor and outdoor arenas.
A rider since age 5, Wandachowicz began showing horses at breed shows.
She bought Presidential Invite, a 2006 sorrel gelding, from a Wisconsin farm two years ago, and knew he was a winner. "I saw him, and I just had a feeling he was the one," she said.
After scoring enough points in competition, Wandachowiz has "won" her way out of the Novice class into the Amateur class, as of Dec. 1, she will sell her winning horse, hopefully to another Novice rider that can have success with him.
"I will need a better horse...it takes a really special class of horse. I've looked at 10, but none have impressed me," she added.