Amateur Riders Make Time to Shine at Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit

Tampa, Fla. – Dec. 29, 2021 – Unlike professional horsemen, amateur riders need to make a plan in order to take time away from their careers and attend the Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit. Throughout the week they come to Bob Thomas Equestrian Center at the Florida State Fairgrounds to enjoy what matters the most to them, spending time with their families and riding their horses in one of the most prestigious Quarter Horse shows in the country.

Kaleena Weakly of Shelbyville, Illinois is a part-time graphic designer and a stay-at-home mom. Weakly has a lengthy and successful show record at the Gold Coast. She took a four-year break to care for matters at home, and now she and her family use the five-day event as a holiday vacation. Weakly won the Amateur Hunter Seat Equitation class with her horse Definately A First, making the family vacation a memorable one.

Kaleena Weakly and Definately A First, Photo by Cody Parmenter Photography

Jeanie Presler of Nokomis, Florida is a Mixed-Animal General Practitioner. She returns to the Gold Coast after a 20-year hiatus due to a demanding school and career schedule. The VRH Amateur Ranch Horse divisions were new to Presler and her Reined Cow Horse Lovies Lil Rey. It worked out well as she and her eight-year-old birthday present finished on top in the VRH Amateur Ranch Horse Reining class.

Jeanie Presler and Lovies Lil Rey, Photo by Cody Parmenter Photography

Leah Roehl of Ruther Glen, Virginia is busy as a government worker and a mother of five children. It took a great deal of planning for Roehl to make it to the Gold Coast. The support she receives from her family and friends makes the herculean effort to compete all worthwhile. Roehl and her gelding AlDoWhatYouLove won the Senior Pleasure Driving and L1 Novice Amateur Working Hunter classes.

To view the 2021 schedule of events, please click here. The 2021 Circuit Awards can be viewed here.

The Florida Gold Coast Horse Circuit can be viewed live daily at

For additional information on the Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit, please visit

Leah Roehl and AlDoWhatYouLove, Photo by Cody Parmenter Photography


Kaleena Weakly & Definately A First (Shelbyville, Illinois)
Winner: Amateur Hunt Seat Equitation 

On coming to the Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit Horse Show:
“I have been to this show a lot of times, however, I have not been here for about four years. I have a four-year-old and a seven-year-old boy and girl. It wasn’t easy for us to come when they were babies, but now the kids are out of school. Now, they love to come to the show and play. It is a great place to have a family vacation and show horses. I am excited to be back.”

On combining work as a graphic designer, family, and showing at the Gold Coast:
“It’s exhausting. The schedule is a little hectic, but I have a great trainer and Jason Gilliam keeps my horse going for me until the horse shows. We try to do the bigger, more prestigious shows as well as the ones where the kids can come to the shows. So, we pick and choose the events when we can all be together. We don’t go to shows as much as we have in the past, so we try and make it count when we do.”

On winning:
“It’s very special to win here. My horse is special because he allows me to come to the show and have a good time.”

On Definately A First:
“He’s just very willing and happy. It’s nice because he’s an older all-around horse who does all the classes I like to do. He knows his job so I can have fun and enjoy the show. He’s quirky, but we are learning about each other. I just try to stay out of his way and let him do his job. He’s a lot of fun.”  

Jeanie Presler & Lovies Lil Rey (Nokomis, Florida)
Winner: VRH Amateur Ranch Horse Reining 

On coming to the Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit Horse Show:
“It’s been twenty years since I was at the Gold Coast. Between college and my career I was unable to show, but my love for horses brought me back. I wanted to come back to this show because they have classes with a lot of entries, I absolutely love that. I also like the organization. They do a really great job running the show.” 

On combining work as a Mixed-Animal General Practitioner and showing at the Gold Coast:
“It took years for me to finally say ‘life is short, I need to go do my dream hobby’. So, I let all my clients know that I was going to be taking off some time. It appeared to be a good opportunity to come to the horse show because a lot of people take time off this week for the holidays. I am very grateful that my clients are understanding. They realize that it’s nice to take time off to enjoy life a little bit, before I go back and take care of my patients.”

On winning:
“It’s pretty cool to win here after being away for such a long time. I feel like I am a youth again!”

On Lovies Lil Rey:
“I have only had her since June. I got her on my birthday. Lovie is a fun, quick, kind horse, hence the name. She is a Reined Cow Horse, so the ranch horse style fits her well. When I showed twenty years ago, Ranch Horse classes were not available, so I thought it would be nice to try something different. I also like the versatility that the division offers.” 

Leah Roehl & AlDoWhatYouLove (Ruther Glen, Virginia)
Winner: Senior Pleasure Driving and L1 Novice Amateur Working Hunter

On coming to the Florida Gold Coast Quarter Horse Circuit Horse Show:
“This is my first time at the Gold Coast. It has been a bucket list item for me for about twenty years. I have been watching friends come all that time and this year, everything lined up for me to come. All the stars aligned, so I was pretty excited to get here.”

On combining work, family and showing at the Gold Coast:
“At the beginning of each year, I come up with a plan of what I would like to accomplish for the year. I set goals and then arrange my showing around those goals. I have five kids, a teenager who just started driving and twin 11-year-olds. It is not easy to work around the job and the family, making sure that no one is neglected. In addition, we have a farm with pigs and chickens and ponies that need to be taken care of, so you just can’t break away that often.”

On winning:
“When you get here and you feel ready and after all that planning, you do so well. I am over the moon. I have so much support from my family and friends to celebrate the successes with me. It makes winning extra special. I am very lucky.”

On AlDoWhatYouLove:
“I call my horse “Han” and I am “Leah.” We’re Star Wars fans. I have had him since he was a yearling. It was the best purchase I ever made. I didn’t know what I had when I got him. Together we came along. He’s an absolute goofball. He has more personality than he knows what to do with. He’s always ready for a picture. He’s all personality, all the time. I really enjoy him.” 


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