Maggie Sturm of Canfield was crowned as this year's Northern Ohio Quarter Horse Association queen during the association's annual banquet held in Akron on Jan. 28. The crowning was the reward for efforts that Sturm put forth back in September during the NOQHA show at the Canfield Fairgrounds.
The queen's competition held during the NOQHA Futurity Show is more than just riding and showing a horse. The candidates are scored on a written exam, an oral interview with three judges followed by a Queen's Horsemanship competition. The riding competition was held at the fairgrounds while the written and oral segments were conducted at the Canfield Hampton Inn during the same week. Sturm, daughter of Barry and Adrianne Sturm of Canfield, excelled at her efforts and was named queen late in January, after the scores and judging was finalized from the September event.
As this year's winner, Sturm will represent the NOQHA with appearances at several events as she prepares to compete with candidates across the nation for next year's title of Congress Queen during the All American Quarter Horse Congress at the Ohio State Fairgrounds in Columbus this October.
Photos special to the Town Crier
Canfield senior Maggie Sturm competed in the NOQHA Futurity Show in September 2011 in Canfield. Her efforts in that show earned her the title of NOQHA queen for 2012.
Sturm said she has others to thank for this honor beyond the NOQHA and her parents. While Sturm shows regularly in the quarter horse circuit, her horse is trained in English Pleasure and not in western riding as needed to compete in the Queen's Horsemanship class, nor did she have all the tack required to enter. With the help of friends Abby Franken of Canfield, and Alicia Moorhead of Stow, she was able to borrow a western horse, a western show saddle and show jacket in order to be equipped for the competition.
"Being involved in the horse world (as some call it) is an opportunity to meet many good people that become like another family to you," Sturm said. "I hope they know how much they are appreciated."
Sturm also extended deep gratitude to her trainers Hank and Dawn Clason of Medina, where she travels weekly to train under the expert guidance of Hank with her horse Ava. Ava is a nickname for her horse that is registered as "Only A Blue."
"I could not have achieved this honor or my success in the quarter horse circuit without Hank and Dawn," she said. "Hank is like a second father to me. He's tough like a coach but he cares that I do my best and helps me achieve it."
Maggie's passion for riding quarter horses began when she was six years old when introduced to the pleasures of riding by a friend of her parents, Julie Majernik. Sturm has owned two horses in her life and has traveled and competed as far as Oklahoma City for the American Quarter Horse Youth World competition where she finished in the top 25. She is currently a senior at Canfield High School and carries a 3.7 GPA. Beyond her accomplishments educationally and in the quarterhorse circuit, Maggie has been a member of Young Leaders of Mahoning County, Canfield Leo's Club and Canfield High School track team. She has been accepted to The Ohio State University in their Honors Program for the 2012-2013 school-years where she hopes to continue her passion as a member of The Ohio State Equine Team and plans to study biology.
Sturm's mother, Adrianne, is proud of her daughter's accomplishments and said the years of training has done a lot for her relationship with her daughter.
"When Maggie started riding for fun at age six, I never dreamt that she would own and compete with her own horse; nor could I ever imagined cherishing the experience as I do now," Adrianne said. "Most people think as I did; that one just jumps on and rides a horse successfully but it's not as simple as it looks. It requires similar training to that of an athlete, strength, agility, balance, discipline and many long hours of hard work to get a 1,200-pound animal and the rider to perform as they do in a show ring."
She continued, "This experience has taught my daughter responsibility, discipline, determination, and a strong work ethic that she will benefit from throughout her life. As a mother, the time spent together traveling to training and competitions has contributed to our close relationship. We also have built life-long friendships with many wonderful and kind people we have met along the way. This experience has been like no other for my daughter and for mepriceless."