Hannah Menchhofer, Indiana QHA

2019 IQHA Quee headshot.jpg
To start my story, I am Hannah Menchhofer, the fortunate daughter and oldest child to Chris and Jennifer Menchhofer. Born in a small town outside Indianapolis, Indiana where I spent my first few years growing up in hay fields. In order to be closer to my extended family, my father, mother, and brother (Garner) packed out things, traded hay fields for corn fields, and moved to Brownsburg, Indiana. The town that is home to the original family homestead granted in 1835. 
The first family home was paradise for a little girl in love with anything animal related. A small white picket fence, farm house, a barn full of my parent's horses, surrounded by a few acres of land just big enough to get lost in the hay fields on my pony. My first steps were not on the ground like a normal toddler, but rather on the back of my mom's retired show mare. As the story is told by my Nana, (father's mom), she came to the house and was there just long enough to witness a 4-year-old girl attempting to immitate her father working his horse. She leaned over to my mom and said, "You know you guys are going to have your hands full with that one." That was the beginning of my love and passion for horses. The spring before entering first grade, my father, mother, and brother packed our things and settled in Brownsburg, Indiana. With both parents holding full time positions, the homestead became my daycare for after school and summer vacations while other children went to camps and traditional daycares. I grew up learning responsibility, perserverance, and dedication the hard way. Carrying water buckets from the house to the barn in the winter because of the frozen pipes and cleaning the horses' stalls everyday including holidays. The saying "you eat after the animals are asleep" was ingrained in my mind. But even that young, I loved the farm and enjoyed the work ethic that came with it. 
Growing up, I had a very fortunate experience of spending the weekends at the horse shows, learning through the fence and watching pleasure horses jog around the arena. Then finally came the day when it was my turn! At a small localhorse show I had finally begged enough that I was allowed to lead in my dad's retired roping horse into a halter class. All I had to do was follow my mother with her halter horse with my aunt trailing behind with another halter horse to help navigate around the arena. Who would have known that the old roping horse would ever win? They call it beginners luck, yet I knew I had to find some way to get back into the arena. Not long after the show a trailer with two little ponies pulled into the farm. One for me, Miss Princess, and the other for my cousin. 
Miss Princess had never loped under saddle which I thought was perfect because neither had I; or so I thought. As expected, it was rough but she taught me that even when it may seem impossible, you can overcome any obstacle. As time went on, we began to compete in local open shows and eventually went on to hold the record for flags at the county fair. As much as I loved her, it became prevalent that I needed a show horse that could perform the all-around events and to be competitive at the breed levels. That's when my second partner came along. A paint horse, Levi, that was as stubborn as a gelding could be. I am forever grateful for Levi, taking me to my first world championship show as a 13 and under. Even with the busy schedules of volleyball, cheerleading, and youth leadership involvement, Levi consistently showed and proved to me that my true passion was with horses competing, not on a court or stage but in an arena of dirt with only one four-legged partner. When I reached high school, I decided that I wanted to not just visit the All American Quarter Horse Congress, but to compete. So we decided to retire Levi and put sports to the side. 
One of my early memories involves sitting in the collesum at the All American Quarter Horse Congress, watching older kids perform a horsemanship pattern, trotting down the center; being dazzled by the queens and the gorgeous outfits. Spectating in amazement as horse after horse performed at the highest level. I was determined to reach that level one day. My parents found a mare that we thought would be the one. I worked every day I could with her. She loved horsemanship and equitation. As we were prepping for the Congress, a freak accident forced that dream to be put on hold. I was coming close to entering college, so as a family, we decided to breed her with the hope of having a two or three-year-old after my time at Purdue University.
Purdue University was home to some of the best and worst times in my life. I was fortunate enough to ride on the Western team where I eventually became captain during my junior and senior years. Leading the team to our first hi-point in close to 10 years. While at Purdue, during my freshman and sophomore year, I found myself coping with grief. One of my best friends in the Quarter horse world lost her life unexpectedly to a motorcycle accident. Our family lost an uncle and grandfather to cancer within that same year. Coming into the spring semester of sophomore year, I learned that my mother was diagnosed with kindney cancer. Watching and supporting her during her time of recovery inspired me to go after my dreams. The greatest lessons that she taught me was to never give up and stay strong. Times are going to get tough and it might seem impossible, but if you continue to persevere and carry yourself with grace and confidence, no dream is too great. 
For unknown reasons, both Mares lost their foals during the late trimester for two years consecutibely. It became a priority to find a Quarter horse that would take the place of my first show mare. We stumbled across a gelding, Dash, with the exact same personality as levi. With only a few months under our belt, Dash and I entered to compete at the 2018 All American Quarter Horse Congress. After experiencing the congress once, I decided it was time to fulfill the second part of that dream. To compete for the All American Quarter Horse Congress Queen title. You see, my mother was the 1988 Indiana Paint Horse Queen and I have always dreamed of following in her foot-steps, yet in the breed that I love and cherish the most, AQHA. Come June 2019, I was fortunate enough to win the title of 2019 Indiana Quarter Horse Queen! As the Queen, I wanted to make the most of my time representing IQHA and to support all levels of horsemen. This largely included attending youth camps and 4-H programs in order to better educate the youth and to give back to the programs that have shaped the person I am today. 
I am so incredibly grateful for all those who have helped me along the way. For my mother and father for always supporting me in all that I do. As my family says "When times get tough, the tough get strong" and make sure you enjoy the ride along the way! Against all odds, I was able to obtain a Bachelors of Science and plan to be part of research to better improve the horse industry. The AQHA industry has given so much to my family, and in response, I plan to do all that I can to better the lives of those around me.