—by Julie Ferrell, Ames Tribune staff writer

Jill Goodale, of Ellsworth, and her 4-year-old mare, Blazin’ Hot Chocolate, won the Appaloosa Horse Club and National Snaffle Bit Association portions of the Novice Non-Pro Western Pleasure World Championship. The competition was held Oct. 31 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Goodale, 49, said she has competed in halter competitions in the past, but she just began to practice loping with the mare in July. Loping, or cantering, is a slightly faster pace than a trot. This is Goodale’s first world championship title, and the win was a unanimous vote from all four judges in the competition.

"It was kind of cool to be unanimous under all four judges on our first big show," Goodale said.

While Goodale’s husband, Larry, has worked with horses for years as well as owning the Grove Cafe in Ames, Goodale said she only recently began competing. Goodale spent 28 years in active duty in the Army before working in Human Resources at the Iowa State Armory.

Along with Blazin’ Hot Chocolate, Goodale and her husband own 18 other horses, and hold four bronze halter medallions for one. Goodale has participated in local shows but decided to compete in the worldwide novice competition this year, as the offer only lasts for the first year of competing.

Goodale was pleased with the results of the competition, and is already preparing for her next show. She will appear in St. Louis at the end of the month, and hopes to ride in the national competition in Fort Worth next year.

"I’m still in shock. I can’t believe it happened," Goodale said. "But I’m just thrilled and very, very happy."