EQUESTRIAN RIDER WINS APHA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
July 4, 2012
MARTIN, Tenn. – Mykaela Van Selus landed the perfect summer job helping equestrian trainer Karen Banister of Brighton, Colo. at the APHA (American Paint Horse Association) World Show recently in Dallas-Ft. Worth. The University of Tennessee at Martin rising sophomore agreed to help Banister with her young riders in the show. In addition, Van Selus would take care of the horses and keep things in order.
It wasn’t until Van Selus enthusiastically accepted the invite that Banister surprised the Hunt Seat rider. “She (Banister) had a horse for sale and wanted me to show it and get points and exposure, and eventually sell it.
“Of course I was excited to go show, but now I was going to show with an opportunity to ride,” Van Selus said. “It didn’t matter to me if I didn’t know the horse very well.”
Van Selus and the mare, Giselle, formed a relationship quickly. Before Van Selus and Giselle left for Texas, the two worked out for a month. “Giselle is not the easiest ride,” Van Selus said. “She can be a little quick and nervous. She is still young.” The 5-year-old horse, whose show name is Post A Proposal, is still green to the show arena.
Van Selus, Banister and Giselle arrived in Texas on June 20, and that’s when Van Selus and Giselle got down to business. “I rode Giselle every day, twice a day,” Van Selus said. “When I wasn’t riding Giselle I was helping the children get their horses ‘show ready,’ and keeping the barn neat and clean.”
Van Selus and Giselle were set to ride on the second day of the show. “I felt well prepared. My goal for the day was just to get around all my courses with a smooth and well-planned ride. I wanted Giselle to feel confident in the show ring and really begin to improve her abilities as a show horse.”
With her plan mapped out, Van Selus and Banister jumped Giselle at 5:30 a.m.” Then we bathed her and got her all cleaned up and show ready. About 30 minutes before Van Selus’ class, about 10:30, Van Selus got on and began to work on Giselle’s mind, nice and slow. “I wanted to make sure she was listening and responding to my cues.”
Giselle was listening and responding and Van Selus, from Littleton, Colo., won her first world championship.
“Keeping her (Giselle) nice and slow and able to show herself off was definitely on the top of my list, for sure,” Van Selus told The Paint Horse Journal’s Laura Stevens. “It was the thing on my mind the whole time.”
Van Selus won her first class of the day, Working Hunter 14-18, and one of the most competitive jumping classes of the show. “The top three in the class were all from my barn so that was really exciting. It was great to have my friends celebrate with me in the class.”
In addition to winning the Working Hunter, Van Selus also won tier 1 of the Elegant April Memorial Award which was offered at the World Show. The award is given to 14-18 youth/horse combination demonstrating excellence in the English events at the APHA world show.
“Overall I feel really blessed to have had the opportunity to show at the World Show,” Van Selus said. “Without Karen (Banister), and the owner of Giselle, Dr. Chris Hauge I would not have been able to attend the World Show and win the championship. I am also really glad Giselle was not just an easy horse that would take me around the course to a win. I really appreciate the fact that I had to work for the win, and it didn’t come easy. I don’t want anything to be just handed to me in life.”
Picture reprinted with permission from Laura Stevens and The Paint Journal. For more information on Van Selus' World Championship see http://ywcs.apha.com/news/2012/06/25/2012-youth-working-hunter-14-18.