First Ranching Heritage Challenge

Ranch horses prove themselves in the first AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge.

By Larri Jo Starkey
The American Quarter Horse Journal
January 14, 2012

Zinn Lindsey and Judys Ten

Zinn Lindsey ropes on Judys Ten to win the non-pro division of the inaugural AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge. (Journal photo)

Tradition, heritage and innovation.

All had a part to play in the inaugural AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge.

Twelve open riders and 19 non-pros entered eligible Ranching Heritage Breeder horses for their share of the $13,500-added purse at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.

"It was a wonderful show," said Johnny Trotter, AQHA Executive Committee member and a rancher himself. "Nice horses."

In the open competition, Robert Forst of Waurika, Oklahoma, rode Seven S Party Girl, bred by Terry Stuart Forst of Waurika, Robert's mom.

Robert and his 4-year-old mare have had a rocky  January, struggling with "Party Girl's" ulcers, but they were on point in Fort Worth, winning the open and the limited open.

"She felt really good," Robert said. "She’s been pretty strong with me, and then she relaxed. Her circles felt good. I’ve struggled with her left to right lead change, and I ended up messing up her right-left lead change. It all worked out pretty good.

"She got a little strong in her rundowns, but I trusted her and she stopped, so I was pretty happy with her. She can go down the fence, so I’m not worried about that. I just hold on and see what she does."

Seven S Party Girl is by Matt Dillon Dun It and out of Seven S Fiesta by Playgun.

AQHA Ranching Council member Larry Bell and his wife, Ellen, of Midland, Texas, added $3,500 to the purse in the limited division.

"We are thrilled to be involved," Larry said. "We thought it was a great show, and I thought the turnout for open and non-pro was excellent. The 19 exhibitors in the non-pro was more than I could have imagined, so I’m really excited.

"These are the horses we’re raising, and now they’re getting a chance to be shown," he added. "It’s great for all of us."

In the AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge, horses and riders completed a short reining pattern before boxing a cow and working it both ways down the fence. Then they roped it. Non-pros and amateurs had the option of circling instead of roping the cow.

That's the option amateur Baru Spiller of Wingate, Texas, took.

Baru bought Western Sequel, bred by Burnett Ranches of Fort Worth, when the 2005 buckskin mare was a foal.

"It was awesome," she said after the competition ended. "I’ve been riding this mare since she was a baby. I got her from the (Four) Sixes and trained her myself.

"I was thrilled when (AQHA) came out with this program so I could compete in it and represent the Sixes on her and have another opportunity to show her. I’m proud to be here and I was thrilled to win the amateur."

Western Sequel is by Ikes Double Drift and out of Western Lena by Mr Sun O Lena.

Besides placing first in the amateur division, Baru was third in the non-pro division, won by 18-year-old Zinn Lindsey of Jayton, Texas.

Zinn's mount for the competition was Judys Ten, a 2006 buckskin gelding by Ten O Sea and out of Crows Judy by Black Chick Gold. The gelding was bred by Bill and Dana Smith of Spur, Texas, and Zinn knew all about that breeding program.

"I’ve got four (horses) with the same brand," he said.

AQHA Ranching Council chairman Stan Weaver of Big Sandy, Montana, was on hand for the inaugural event.

"I was impressed with the conformation of the horses," Stan said. "Good stout, ranch-bred horses, and that’s what we want."

Ranching Heritage Challenge – Fort Worth Results: