“I want a pony for Christmas.”
By Lisa Nowatzki
How many parents have heard those exact words from their little girls around this time of year? What child does not remember wanting and dreaming of finding a horse outside on Christmas morning? One of Langdon’s local young ladies not only has a horse of her own, but she also competes with her.
Elli Eisenzimmer placed in the 2017 Lucas Oil American Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show on November 2-18 at the State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Eisenzimmer competed in the Adequan Level 2 in senior barrel racing and senior pole bending events against twenty-two other riders in each class. She was awarded fifteenth place in both events. Each of the top fifteen in their respective class earn a finalist ribbon.
A sixth grader at St. Alphonsus School in Langdon and twelve-years-old, Eisenzimmer has been showing horses for the past five years. Maria Eisenzimmer, Elli’s proud mom, said, “she has won many AQHA Region 2 championships. She has qualified for the World Show the last three years.”
To qualify for the World Show, Eisenzimmer had to win barrel racing and pole bending events at state and regional quarter horse shows throughout the AQHA show season. A rider needs three-and-a-half points to qualify. Riders accumulate one point by taking first place in a state or regional event with five or more participants in the class. Eisenzimmer already has her sights set on the 2018 AQHA World Championship. She only needs a half a point to qualify.
Ima Slammin Diva (Sammie) is Eisenzimmer’s amazing 10-year-old (just two years younger than Eisenzimmer) bay mare that helped her get to the World Show. Pretty amazing results for a young lady that started barrel racing during the summer of 2014.
The competition at the World Championship was fierce especially since the AQHA World Championship Show is considered the apex event for American quarter horse owners and exhibitors around the world.
During the first two weeks in November, more than 4,840 entries from the United States, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom competed for 99 world championships and 90 Adequan Level 2 championship titles. For a little perspective, the AQHA has more than 250,000 members worldwide, which is twice the population of Fargo.
“Elli followed in her older sister, Madi’s, footsteps and has fallen in love with barrel racing & showing,” Elli’s mom shared.
Besides barrel racing and pole bending, Eisenzimmer participates in Western and English riding as well on her other show horse, KTS Zippin Sonny Dee “Oliver.” Not to be left out, little sister Gabi also rides.
Eisenzimmer is not content to rest on her laurels. In January, at the North Dakota quarter horse banquet, she will be named Novice and Youth, Thirteen and Under, All Around Champion.
In September, she won the Region Two Barrel and Pole championship in Rapid City, South Dakota, finishing with a total of seven buckles. Customized belt buckles are given for wins in horse show/rodeo circuit. Eisenzimmer has won a total of 27 buckles in the last three years.
Winning comes at a cost, namely hours of commitment. According to her mom, Eisenzimmer rides and trains with her horse each day, putting in 10-15 hours a week after school and on weekends.
Travel to competitions is also a grueling part of competing on the AQHA circuit. Eisenzimmer competed at shows across the region in Valley City, Fargo, Minot, Verndale, Minn., Rapid City and Brookings, S.D.
Training is also very important to keep the horse and the rider in shape. Eisenzimmer has three trainers that help her out – Krista, Ashley, and Melissa Montgomery.