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<em>Journal</em>

AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge

Robert Forst and SR Surprise Party win the open AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge in Houston.

By Becky Newell
The American Quarter Horse Journal
March 1, 2013

Robert Forst and SR Surprise Party

Robert Forst and SR Surprise Party work their way to a score of 653.5 to win the open AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge in Houston. (Journal photo) BELOW: Watch a tribute to ranching and the American Quarter Horse, brought to you by AQHA Video.

Robert Forst doesn’t just ride horses bred by an AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder. It’s his family’s – more specifically, his mother’s – ranch that bred the horses on which he placed first and second in the open division at the 2013 AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge, sponsored by Bar G Feedyard, at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Aboard SR Surprise Party, aka “Queso,” Robert scored a 653.5 to win the open. The 2009 sorrel gelding (Quejanaisalena-Dualena by Dual Pep) is bred and owned by Terry Stuart Forst, owner of the Stuart Ranch in Waurika, Oklahoma. The Stuart Ranch is also one of the winners of the coveted AQHA Best Remuda Award.

Seven S Barn Cat, aka “Herman,” and Robert scored 638.5 to firm up second place in the open. Herman, another 2009 sorrel gelding, is by Smooth As A Cat and out of the Shining Spark mare Seven S Front Page.

At the Ranching Heritage Challenge in January in Fort Worth, Texas, Robert was second and third, respectively with these two geldings. And at the very first AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge in January 2012 in Fort Worth, Robert rode Seven S Party Girl to his first open win.

"The horses are getting better and I've got to go home and improve and make my horses better," Robert told the Journal after his win Thursday night. "You come here and a cow can take you out just as fast. You can have an awesome reining run and then miss your cow or miss your turns."

Robert is proud of SR Surprise Party, whose day job is working on the Stuart Ranch and who was third in the limited open at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity.

"Queso has been an awesome horse, he's extremely athletic. He's willing. He wants to be good. He's an awesome show horse. I can run the wheels off of him and the next time I show him, he's ready to go again."

Then, there's Herman.

"Herman is an athlete, but a little harder to show because he's more energetic and quicker," Robert said. "But he's still an awesome horse. I've been blessed with some of the best horses in the world."

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. The Houston event featured $17,500 added money, with $5,000 for the open, $3,500 added to the limited open class, $5,000 added to the amateur, $1,500 to the Novice amateur and $2,500 added to the cowboy class.

Ranching Heritage Challenges are limited to horses that were bred by AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders. The open and limited classes are limited to nominated 4-year-olds, but the cowboy, Novice amateur and amateur classes are open to older horses that were bred by Ranching Heritage Breeders.

In the amateur division, Texas Tech college student Parke Greeson of Victoria, Texas, and Toys Jerry Maxi took home the first-place buckle with a score of 636.5. Bred by AQHA Best Remuda winner and AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder Billy Cogdell of the Tule Ranch, the 2006 mare is by Smart Little Jerry and out of Maxis Yellow Hair by Maxi Lena.

Parke and Toys Jerry Maxi were third in the non-pro and second in the amateur divisions at the 2013 AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge in January in Fort Worth.

Parke picked up the fine-boned mare as a 4-year-old at the Headquarters Sale in Amarillo and plans to make her a part of his family’s broodmare band sometime in the future.

"She'd been cut on a little bit and I just started cow horsin' on her," Parke said. "I enjoy her a lot. She's got a lot of character."

In the meantime, Parke is focused on his place on the Texas Tech Ranch Horse Team.

Will Wallendorff and Cowgirls Playin, who is bred and owned by Burnett Ranches, won the cowboy division, with a score of 616.5. Cowgirls Playin, a 2007 sorrel mare, is by Playin Stylish and out of the Tanquery Gin mare The Cowgirl. It’s a partial repeat win for Will, as he won the cowboy division at the Ranching Heritage Challenge in January in Fort Worth aboard Sixes Round Up, another Burnett Ranches-bred and -owned gelding.

The 2013 AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenge in Houston, presented by Bar G Feedyard, is held in conjunction with the Pfizer Versatility Ranch Horse and AQHA Cowboy Mounted Shooting World Championship Show. To view coverage from the world show, visit www.aqha.com/versatility.