Reflections From Life in the Arena

Showing horses for some is a life long journey. Despite the rollercoaster of highs and lows, two experienced showmen highlight why they continue to do what they love. Tucker Clark from Tucson, Arizona has shown for over ten years while Laurie Vaughn from Scottsdale, Arizona, has been showing for over 30 years.


Laurie Vaughn from Scottsdale, Arizona.

Q: How did you get into the horse show industry?

Tucker: “I started working for a horse trainer and eventually had the opportunity to show some of his horses.”

Laurie: “My husband showed a lot growing up and passed his love for it on to me.”


Q: Throughout your years in the industry, what are the biggest lessons you have learned?

Tucker: “I tried to push horses past their limits. You can only let them be as good as they can be on that certain day.”

Laurie: “I was too hard on myself. I know that whenever I go into a competition that I’m always going to try my best and that I need to be content with how I did that day.”


Q: I know this might be hard, but if you had to narrow down your career to a defining moment or two, what would those moment(s) be?

Tucker: “Winning Reserve Champion at the World Cow-horse Show and only having two years of experience, along with also winning the limited open at the stallion stakes and qualifying for finals at a futurity.”

Laurie: “While I can’t think of an individual moment, whenever I ride my horse and complete a successful pattern, everything clicks and my horse knows what I want him to do while making both of us look good.”


Tucker and Danielle Clark from Tucson, Arizona.

Q: What are some life lessons you have taken away from showing horses?

Tucker: “There’s a lot of patience that goes into training and trying to get a horse where you want it to be, but there’s really no need to rush. Enjoy the day and if it doesn’t work out the way you planned, there’s 365 days in a year that you can always try again. If you try too quick, you will only end up hurting yourself.”

Laurie: “Always have a positive attitude when it comes to diversity. Being a part of these horse shows has led me to meet so many people and we all come from different backgrounds and we may all do things differently. But being able to accept everyone’s different ways is what helps us to all get along.”

Q: What is your favorite part of showing?

Tucker: “Competing in the reining cow-horse and cutting events.”

Laurie: “My favorite part has to be the people. Going to so many shows and being with the people you enjoy spending time with while also meeting and making new friends along the way.”


Q: What do you enjoy most about coming to the Arizona National Horse Show?

Tucker: “I really enjoy the comrade among everyone. And since most of us are from Arizona, I think it’s neat to see a lot of people come together and get along.”

Laurie: “There are so many things I enjoy at the Arizona Nationals. Number one being that it’s at West World, which is what I believe is one of the best facilities there is. They also have a lot of selection for classes, good judges and prizes, and the staff is very hospitable. They really try to make everything about the exhibitors.”


Q: Do you have any advice for those just beginning their show career?

Tucker: “Showing and training horses is very hard, but very rewarding. Like I said before, it takes patience, but the longer you perfect your skills, the easier it starts to become. Don’t get discouraged if there’s a horse that doesn’t want to do what you ask. Some work and some don’t.”

Laurie: “An important piece of advice is to have fun; every day you get older so might as well live each day to it’s full potential and give it your all when it comes to competitions.”


Madison Andrade is the 2019 Arizona National Horse Show Media Intern. Originally from San Juan Bautista, California, she attends Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas studying Animal Science and Agriculture Communications.

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