Eyes on the Prize
The Inspiring Story of Quarter Horse Multi-Champion Elizabeth Beauchamp
Photographer / Jubilee Edgell
It was mid-October, 2017 and the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Congress, the largest single-breed horse show in the world, was in full swing for Elizabeth Beauchamp. At the open class halter show, several horses were ready to compete for the gold in the gelding yearling championship. The stakes were high — everyone knew that there would be some stiff competition to determine which of these quarter horses would be named the best up-and-coming horse models in the world.
One at a time, the handlers led their horses into the ring. As handler 3120 and the beautiful gelding at his side, Amazingunz (or Gunner, as his owner, Elizabeth Beauchamp of Culver calls him), walked into the ring, the judges and spectators alike couldn’t help but notice his sleek, muscled body and graceful balance. After the other horses walked around the arena, all of the horses lined up so the judges could get a closer look at them, making notes on clipboards while spectators and potential horse and stud buyers watched from the seats. Several minutes passed before the judges were finally ready to announce which horse was the best-looking and most graceful yearling gelding.
If Gunner won, then Beauchamp would walk away with a trophy, a commemorative buckle, and cash prize. But more importantly, Gunner would receive a champion designation on his pedigree records, which would improve his overall value. But although Beauchamp has gotten into the top five at previous AQHA shows with her halter horses, she has never won first place… until that competition with Gunner.
It was an exhilarating experience for Beauchamp, but it was only the beginning. Since then, she has won high honors at dozens of national and world competitions and become a world champion many times over. As inspiring as the facts are, they are surprising to one person in particular: Elizabeth Beauchamp.
“I’m pretty goal-oriented, but I had never, ever fathomed that I would be a world champion or even set that as a goal,” she says.
Growing up, Beauchamp was practically raised in the family’s barn.
“My father grew up around horses and he raised me around horses,” she explains. “My father used them to make a living, too, using Belgium horses for heavy work.”
Beauchamp’s first horse was Rustler, a horse that Beauchamp’s uncle rescued from a kill pen.
“I started riding him at nine years old. I had him until he died, about 23 years,” Beauchamp says. “I learned more from him probably more than the other kids learned from horses that were better trained or earned more ribbons and trophies.”
More than that, Rustler was a companion to a young girl as she grew up. The two had a true connection that was as genuine as any human friendship.
“Some days, [it was like] oil and water and some days like lemons and lemonade,” she says.
With her family’s background in horses, it is little wonder that Beauchamp wanted to be a veterinarian. In time, though, she shifted her goals to pursue other entrepreneurial endeavors. After high school, she got a part-time job at a flower shop, which inspired her to open her own after graduating from Ancilla College. She called it The Garden by Elizabeth and it’s located at 103 N. Plymouth St. in downtown Culver.
Nevertheless, she continued to keep horses, and decades later decided to show in the big leagues. Beauchamp remembers that her involvement in the horse world today is largely due to some encouragement from her fiancé, Shawn Yount.
“Shawn pretty much said, ‘If you want to do it, then let’s do it!’” she says. “He likes the livestock end of things, and I like the horse end of things and so both of our passions merged.”
After a few competitions and minor wins, Beauchamp entered yearling gelding Gunner in the Breeders Halter Futurity open halter show in 2017, about a month before the AQHA Congress.
“I beat all of them and won the entire show,” she says. “I guess I knew it was a big deal, but I didn’t really realize until I was out of that moment what really happened. I think I was in shock for a very long time.”
From that victory, Beauchamp went to the 2017 AQHA Congress and won her first championship. A month later, Gunner won the gold at the by-invitation-only World Show.
Since then, Beauchamp has only gotten more involved in the horse world. Currently, she owns 14 horses. Although a few live on Beauchamp’s property in Culver, the rest are stabled around the nation. Each one is unique, not only in personality but also in talent and ability. Because of that, her goals are different for each horse, and their training reflects that.
“We would place it with whichever professional handler we believed was the best fit for what our goal was,” Beauchamp says.
Ultimately, Beauchamp sees her story as a means to inspire others to do more, dream more and become more.
“In little itty-bitty Culver, there’s a multi-world champion who never had ever dreamt that would be in the forefront,” she says. “Am I proud to be a world champion? Yeah. Do I like to be modest about it? Yeah. Because to me, the bigger picture is that I just wish other people knew that this could happen to you, too.”
To Beauchamp, the best way to achieve personal dreams is through staying informed and ready.
“Educate yourselves,” she says. “Long before I had the horses to compete at the level that I do, I never stopped reading. I never stopped visiting. And I never stopped wanting to learn more. Because you never know when an opportunity is going to rear its little head at you, and you have to have the resources to be able to run with it. A person can really be anything as long as they keep trying and never stop educating themselves.”
Beauchamp never does things by halves. Not only does she travel around the nation for competitions, she still owns her flower shop. Aside from that, she is president of the Culver Chamber of Commerce and remains active in the lives of her fiancé and their five children.