Inside Look

The gifts horse enthusiasts take to heart aren't the run-of-the-mill, bought-in-the-store kind – they're a lot simpler and mean a bit more.

By Larri Jo Starkey
The American Quarter Horse Journal
February 11, 2013

American Quarter Horse Journal

The folks at the historic W.T. Waggoner Ranch in Vernon, Texas, invited the Journal's Larri Jo Starkey for two visits last year; you can see one photo from her trip as our February cover, and turn to Page 108 to view more. BELOW: Watch a video featuring the historic Waggoner Ranch.

Editor's note: Effective April 3, 2013, the Intermediate and Progressive levels of the new leveling program will be temporarily postponed until the launch of AQHA's database upgrade. Learn more about the database upgrade.  

About the time we were preparing this issue of the The American Quarter Horse Journal for you, most of us were also shopping for holiday gifts, which got us thinking about presents, gifts and what they mean.

By the time you read this, it will have been a year since I received a terrific gift. Trace Cribbs, Weldon Hawley and the rest of the folks at the historic W.T. Waggoner Ranch in Vernon, Texas, invited me for a visit. Between January and June 2012, the Waggoner horse trainers broke out 75 horses while also keeping a show string ready. The cowboys are busy, to say the least, and they were certainly under no obligation to let an outsider come in to take pictures.

Nevertheless, they let me snap all I wanted, get in their way and ask questions – some of them downright stupid questions – while they were trying to work.

Not once. Twice. I went in February to watch the colts being broken out and again in June to watch the 2-year-old geldings being picked for cowboys’ remudas.

It was a special privilege to document those longstanding, private Waggoner traditions. You can see one photo on the cover this month, and I hope you’ll turn to Page 108 to see a few of the other photos I took in February 2012. We’ll print the next set of pictures from the AQHA-Pfizer Best Remuda Award-winning ranch in March, so you can see what I saw: hard-working cowboys with soft hands, showing a group of 2-year-olds the ways of the bridle and saddle with quiet kindness.

As part of our jobs, the Journal staffers attend the world shows. For this month’s issue of the Journal, Christine Hamilton has documented in her Borrow a Trainer series one of the clinics that our AQHA Professional Horsemen have been leading. During the 2012 AQHA World Championship Show, AQHA Professional Horseman Linda Crothers and AQHA Professional Horseman Cindy Reddish advised amateur exhibitors how to approach the equitation over fences preliminary pattern. That’s a combined 58 years of experience, and it, like all the other clinics, was a gift to our amateur members from our Professional Horsemen. You can read about that gift and learn from some of the best on Page 102. You can also order a DVD with all of the AQHA World Show Ride the Rail/Ride the Pattern clinics on it from Quarter Horse Outfitters at www.aqhastore.com.

Want to go paperless and receive a digital-only subscription? Please contact the Journal Circulation Department at (806) 372-1192. The digital option is perfect for our international subscribers.

Also this month, we have an article from Internet Editor Tara Christiansen, who has been working closely with the show department to bring you more about the leveling program. By the time you get this issue of the Journal, we’ll be a month into the leveling process, but if you haven’t hit a leveled show yet, you can learn more about how it works and figure out your placement from Tara’s helpful chart.

We love seeing you when we’re on the road. If you can’t catch us on the road, you can catch all our Journal photos and show coverage on our website at www.aqha.com/showing. We hope that’s where you look first every time for the latest news from the American Quarter Horse industry.
A Note of Sadness
At press time, we were learning more about the youngest victims in the mid-December mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. We received a couple of emails and saw some posts on Facebook that some of those children were horse-crazy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends who lost loved ones.