Member Spotlight

Gretchen Richter

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I started showing on the AQHA circuit six years ago. My career began with a three-year old in the hunter under saddle and then progressed to the equitation classes a few years later. My current show horse, Jack (“Willy Gonna Be Good”) is a three-year-old, which I plan to do the all-around with! I am really excited to start showing the western events, as I have never actually shown in the western classes before. I have had Jack for a year now and seeing him grow into a show horse has been super fun.

My most memorable experience was getting called back from my hunter under saddle class at the Congress in 2016 with Willy. It was my first Congress as well as Willy’s. When I heard my name called back, I was so overjoyed to make the finals that I honestly just went into the finals to have fun. I have owned Willy since he had ten rides as a young horse and I had him at home up until two months before that Congress. He is a super quirky horse, and nobody could really ride him but me. My favorite accomplishment was either being 16th out of 116 horses at the Congress in 2016 or getting Top Ten at the Congress in 2019 in the equitation. We just started the equitation that Summer, so it was super cool to accomplish that and it was an event that I taught him completely myself.

Something that most people do not know about me is that I started out by showing 4-H and open shows. I had to buy a new horse and I ended up selling my swimming pool for $400 to purchase him. I sold this horse eight years ago and the barn that I board my horses at ended up getting him as a lesson horse last year!

My biggest mentors would definitely have to be Jennifer Burton and Brad Kearns. Jenny has been such a good friend and teacher throughout the years while I was only able to have her help at the shows. She never turned me down when I wanted to run another equitation pattern or call her and ask her what she thought about a horse. I have only been with Brad Kearns for a few months, but my horse has come such a long way and I continue to learn something new every day!

When I am not around horses, which is rarely, I spend a lot of my time studying for school. I enjoy boating in the summer with my dogs and really doing anything with my best friend!

A future goal of mine in the show pen would be to start showing the all-around with Jack and hopefully dip my toes in the trail and western riding. 


Illinois Quarter Horse Association | PO Box 27 | Wonder Lake, IL 60097

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