Cousins from Forsyth County win national equestrian titles

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Blake Crim (from left), 13, Molly Crim, 8, Alexandria Nunley, 21 and Charles Gassen, 14, pose for a portrait Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. (Lauren Carroll/Journal)

FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — For the great-grandchildren of the late C.W. and Posie Myers, showing horses is a family affair. And so is winning, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

Four cousins entered the 2014 World’s Championship Horse Show at the Kentucky State Fair in August, and all four walked away with world championship titles.

“We had hopes and dreams, but none of us thought we would all win,” said Charles Gassen, one of the second cousins.

They won the titles in a variety of events: Alexandria Nunley, 21, of Winston-Salem, junior roadster pony; Charles Gassen, 14, of Kernersville, 5-gaited pony; Blake Crim, 13, of Belews Creek, junior exhibitor park; and Molly Crim, 8, of Belews Creek, 8 years and under walk and trot equitation.

These fourth-generation equestrians show American Saddlebreds and Hackney ponies, a passion passed down from their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.

A crowd of family members was in Louisville, Ky., to witness the cousins’ wins.

“It was a very humbling experience,” Nunley said.

Winning experience

The annual World’s Championship Horse Show, billed as “the world’s richest and most prestigious horse show,” was held this year from Aug. 17-23.

Gassen and Nunley had shown there several times before and won championships, but it was only the second time competing there for Blake and Molly Crim, who are siblings.

The family’s award-winning streak all began with Gassen on a Thursday night.

Gassen won with Little Lord Huntly, based out of Holly Tree Stables in Kernersville.

Gassen said his pony is 17 years old, and he beat a pony that has only been beaten a few times her career, they said.

“When he started off it put us on the high,” Blake Crim said.

Molly Crim’s horse got sick, and they had to scramble to find a horse to borrow from a friend. But Molly Crim defied the odds, riding Miraculous Odds, to win her equitation championship on Friday morning. That competition is all about the rider and his or her form.

Next up came Nunley on Friday afternoon. She rode to victory with Palisade’s Ladyhawke, based out of Majestic Oaks Hackney Farm in Shelbyville, Ky. Nunley said her young pony has only been showing a few years.

They knew then that a family milestone was within grasp.

It all came down to Blake Crim on Saturday morning, who was competing with CH High Heat, based out of DeVore Stables in Sonora, Ky.

“A lot of pressure’s on you,” Blake Crim said.

But the family was all there to celebrate when the announcer called out his number as the champion. Blake Crim said it was “a big relief.”

Word started spreading that these cousins had all won championships, and congratulations poured in from friends and strangers alike.

Family legacy

When you ask these second cousins how long they have been riding, they each reply, “All my life.”

They have horses in barns as far away as Kentucky and Tennessee. Showing and riding is what they know.

“It’s much more a lifestyle with us,” Nunley said. “It’s not really a hobby.”

But she said they were never forced to do it. It is something they are good at and that they enjoy.

“I get to go to the barn and go fast,” Molly Crim said of riding.

It all started with their great grandparents, C.W. and Posie Myers, who had a small barn on Reynolda Road. They later built a large training stable on Reidsville Road. C.W. Myers is the founder of C.W. Myers Trading Post Inc.

C.W. Myers started out trading horses and mules as a boy. Posie Myers started showing horses after getting her children involved.

“We’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” said Louise Myers Allen, Nunley’s grandmother. “It’s our life.”

She was in Kentucky to see the cousins win. She said it is a feeling that you cannot explain.

“You just have to be there,” Allen said.

Her sister Brenda Myers Kelly, Gassen’s grandmother, said, “It was unreal. I couldn’t believe it, matter of fact. … It’s just like a dream come true.”

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