By Tara ChristiansenThe American Quarter Horse JournalJuly 6, 2012
Putting in an astounding performance of 153.5 points, Mozaun and Lil Ruf Catalyst made the most out of their first trip in the ranch pleasure pen. (Tara Christiansen photo) To view more photos from the ranch pleasure class, scroll down to the slide show below.
"Enter at a walk, walk over four logs, pick up the right lead, extend the lope, stop, back and turn 360 degrees to the left." Those were just the first four maneuvers of the ranch pleasure pattern July 6 at Battle in the Saddle.
Versatility, attitude and movement of a working horse - that's what AQHA Rule No. 465(C) calls for as the ideal ranch pleasure horse. And the riders of the 23 ranch pleasure horses at Battle in the Saddle stepped up to demonstrate that their horses exemplified those traits.
AQHA judges Darrell Bilke of Bethany, Oklahoma, and Leonard Lee Berryhill of Talala, Oklahoma, presided over the class, and the top-three exhibitors on each of the judges' cards earned themselves a trip to the AQHA World Championship Show in November.
Sara Gugelmeyer of Dalhart, Texas, and ARC Alil Cash Please were third in the draw and put in a near picture-perfect pattern, good enough for a score of 150. Tripp Townsend, riding Sixes Sixgun for Crofoot and Sandhill Ranches of Lubbock, Texas, came close to knocking ARC Alil Cash Please, a 6-year-old bay gelding owned by Sara's husband, Jeremy, off the top with a 149.5.
But it was the last draw that threw everyone for a loop: Mozaun McKibben and Lil Ruf Catalyst, the 2011 AQHA-Pfizer Versatility Ranch Horse open world champions.
Putting in an astounding performance of 153.5 points, Mozaun and the 6-year-old black stallion that he co-owns made the most out of their first trip in the ranch pleasure pen.
"I thought it was good," the Whitesboro, Texas, cowboy said. "There were a couple of little spots that I'd like to change, but it was good."
Since their win earned them a trip to the 2012 AQHA World Show, Mozaun said that he and the son of Lil Ruf Peppy and out of Foxy Catalyst by Taris Catalyst will be doing a little fine tuning between now and November.
"There's another show or two that I'm going to go to that offers ranch pleasure," Mozaun added.
The concept of ranch pleasure isn't too foreign to this team; it's a tad bit different from the Versatility Ranch Horse ranch riding class, but the idea is still the same.
"He's a world champion Versatility Ranch Horse, so I've done a lot versatility events that have ranch pleasure that's similar to this," Mozaun noted. Essentially, what the judges are looking for in ranch riding and ranch pleasure are the same, he said.
Lil Ruf Catalyst, bred by Werner Hermus of Valley View, Texas, has a lot on his plate at the 2012 Battle in the Saddle. On July 5, the stallion took cowboy mounted shooter Chad Little of Saint Michael, Minnesota, to second place in the World's Greatest Horseman Shootout herd work. Chad and Lil Ruf Catalyst will be back in action a few hours after the stallion's ranch pleasure go for the steer stopping portion of the Shootout.
On Saturday, Mozaun and Chad might find themselves fighting over the black stallion, as Chad will compete in the last two legs of the Shootout - the rein work and fence work - and Mozaun will try his hand in the Performance Arena in the Versatility Ranch Horse competition. In Versatility Ranch Horse, horses and riders must compete in five events: ranch riding, ranch trail, ranch cutting, working ranch horse and ranch conformation.
"He's tough," Mozaun said of his stallion. "We don't ride him much at home anymore 'cause he's broke; he's always good, and he's always stayed sound."
In addition to versatility, attitude and movement of working horse, Lil Ruf Catalyst obviously has one more essential trait of a good ranch horse: stamina.
Find out what exactly ranch pleasure looks like by watching the slide show below, brought to you by The American Quarter Horse Journal.
View larger slideshow with photo captions