Behind the Slide – Abby Zuch, Texas

Placing well at the 2020 NRHA Derby presented by Markel is on the agenda for Abby Zuch, but it’s also a means to a different end for this 15-year-old. 

“I am working towards reining at the AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) youth world show. We’ve got a big week ahead of us. I made youth world my goal because it’s a very big show and this will be my first year to attend.”

This is only Abby’s second year to show in Oklahoma City for the NRHA Derby, but she’s been reining with her grandfather, Lorenzo Armenta, and her uncle, NRHA Professional Matthew Armenta, for quite a few years. 

“My uncle was a trainer at my grandpa’s ranch when I started reining at about 6 or 7. I started in the short stirrup and have worked my way up to now.” 

Obviously reining is a family affair, but it turns out team roping is quickly becoming a household name as well. 

“We are building a ranch on our farm at home right now. We are adding an arena and going to put a roping box in there.” 

Abby started roping just a couple months ago and has enjoyed the learning process. She doesn’t use her reiner for heeling though, she has plenty of other mounts to choose from for that event. 

“I’m very fortunate to have a grandfather who is a team roper and he has some horses at his place that I can rope on. And then I come to my uncle’s and get to rein. It’s a pleasure to get to both rope and rein.” 

Paired with 5-year-old Dun Smarter aka Rocky, Abby said this gelding’s best maneuvers are his slowdowns and the rundowns that lead into a long stop. She also enjoys taking her dun out to ride in the pasture after a long day of training with her uncle. 

Catch Abby and Rocky in the show pen both Friday and Saturday. Check out the livestream here *link.