VANESSA BIRNEY of Cadiz was born with many positive traits, and good 'horse sense' is among those at the top of her list. Her talents, knowledge and skills have won her the right to take her Quarter Horse stallion, 'Radiant Design', aka 'Einstein', to the FedEx Open and Bank of America Amateur American Quarter Horse Association World Show next month in Oklahoma City at the fairgrounds.
"I have been in love with horses all of my life and I had my first ride on a horse when I was 3-months old with my mother, Ellie Cramblett," she said. "As soon as I was able to walk I had a Welsh pony named Shawnee and I rode him until I was 10-years old."
Horses have been a passion for the 26-year old woman and she always knew that she wanted the majestic animals to remain a major part of her life.
HORSES HAVE played a major role in Vanessa Birney's life and she is taking her many experiences and talent to the Amateur American Quarter Horse Association World Show on Nov. 7 at the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds. She will participate in the elite event with her 3-year old stallion, Einstein. She is pictured with Einstein's half-sibling, Kids Fulla Pizazz (aka Oliver).
"When you work with horses you develop a special bond that will last forever. It's an unspoken connection," Birney stated.
She extends her love of horses to other people. Birney teaches in the autism program in Dover City Schools.
She allows her friends and colleagues to use her horses for therapeutic riding and pet therapy. Her passion also has expanded to being a volunteer and helping young people learn to ride, train and show horses. Her beloved 4-H horse Trucker has aided in these experiences.
4-H has been important in her life and she continues to be actively involved. She is a member of the county 4-H committee and the 4-H county saddle horse committee.
"I was in 4-H for 11 years and the past six years as a 4-H advisor," she said. "My mom and I run the Dusty Boots 4-H group in Scio."
Qualifying for the Amateur AQHA World Show requires attending a number of events and accumulating a specific number of qualifying points. Due to the fact that this is such an elite event, the number of qualifying points changes from year to year.
Judging for the World Show is based on the confirmation of the horse and each participant will have their own specific category.
"Einstein is my 3-year old stallion. I had a choice of choosing from three horses and he is a great looking stallion and has the personality of my first stallion, Mowgli," she noted.
The World AQHA Show will have Birney and Einstein competing on Nov. 7.
The dynamic duo will compete with 15 to 20 other participants, which is the average selection for each category. Her competition could change due to a number of circumstances.
Being a world event, the competition will come from many countries including the U.S., Canada, England, Germany, Spain, Mexico and other nations. The participants are placed one through 10 in their category. Medallions are awarded and the top three competitors receive a trophy and an equine related horse pack.
Birney works with Einstein every day. He is fitted and worked with a halter. She gives him a special diet to maintain a shiny coat and he is groomed daily between 30 to 60 minutes. She added that his care is equivalent to an equine 'body builder'.
Birney recently returned from the All American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus. She and Einstein earned their championship trophy among the 3-year old stallions open limited class with Don Griffey showing him. On Sunday, she will show Einstein in the amateur division.
"This is our third year at the Equine Quarter Horse Congress," she said. "We had qualified for the world event but chose to wait a year to help prepare Einstein and let him reach his maximum maturity".
The cost of competition, particularly the World Show in Oklahoma City, comes with a hefty price. A number of participants have corporate sponsors, or their horses are franchised to reduce or eliminate their costs. Birney's family and friends recently surprised her with a website (www.helpeinstein.com) to provide information, photos and a secure site to raise money for this special trip. Einstein's half-sibling, Oliver, will also be in the Super Sale at the All American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus to help finance the trip to Oklahoma.
"I am preparing for the event by keeping a positive attitude and knowing that Einstein will always be a champion in my eyes," she concluded.
Vanessa and her husband, Jason, live in Cadiz on his family's beef farm. She is currently pursuing her masters' in education through Western Governors University and will also work to achieve her Ph.D.