In the Spotlight

There’s no sibling rivalry between AQHA exhibitors Dennis Lee and Kim Brittenham of North Carolina.

By Christine Hamilton
The American Quarter Horse Journal
July 16, 2013

Dennis Lee and Kim Brittenham

Kim Brittenham is an insurance agent in Ramseur, North Carolina, and her brother, Dennis Lee, designs and sells horse barns for Morton. (Journal photo)

Dennis Lee of Siler City, North Carolina, is sure glad he tried ranch pleasure, despite the whole pattern-memorization thing.

The roper’s first tries at the class netted him an amateur circuit championship at the 2013 Tar Heel Triple Classic in June in Raleigh, North Carolina.

But it wouldn’t have been possible if one little thing hadn’t recently fallen into place: convincing his sister, Kim Brittenham, to sell him her horse, Im Zan Awesome Dude.

A 1997 chestnut gelding by Hotshot Buckshot and out of Viva Dude by Smoke Lad, Kim had owned the horse for most of his life, since he was a weanling.

“I’ve been trying to buy him from her for about 13 years now,” Dennis says. “We went to a special-event AQHA show back in the spring, and she looked at a horse at that show and had agreed to buy him. We got in the truck coming home, and she was talking about buying this other horse, and I said, ‘You really need to sell me “Mikey,” ’and she agreed to it!

“So I slammed on the brakes and pulled the truck into the first driveway I came to and wrote her a check right there before she could change her mind on me!”

It looks like Kim won’t be getting Mikey back: “He’s great! I wouldn’t take $100,000 for him.”

Kim is an insurance agent in Ramseur, North Carolina, and Dennis designs and sells horse barns for Morton.

“It’s a good job; it gives me the time to spend time with my horses,” Dennis says. “We also have commercial Angus cattle at home and we use the horses there on the farm.”

The two also showed in the Tar Heel roping, held at the Eleven Bar East in nearby Sanford, North Carolina. The siblings rope and ride with AQHA Professional Horseman Josh Little of Mebane, North Carolina, and are fairly new to the AQHA roping and showing scene. Dennis roped AQHA for the first time at the Eastern Quarter Horse Association of North Carolina Easter Bunny Circuit in April.

“I’ve been riding all my life,” Dennis says, “I just haven’t ever shown anything.”

He added: “I figured if I’m going to spend the time and money to have horses, I might as well do something with them.”

When he saw a ranch pleasure class, he decided he’d like to try it. His goes at the Tar Heel were his first pattern classes, ever.

For his first pattern “I didn’t do the preparation that we should have,” Dennis said. “We studied the pattern pretty hard, and I just tuned him up a little bit. Then bathed the horse and put him on the trailer. I messed up a few things but I enjoyed it.”

The hardest part for Dennis is memorizing the pattern.

“That’s what I was worried about the whole time, memorizing the pattern. I’ve now got a (working) cow horse with (AQHA Professional Horseman) Jay Holmes in Florida, and I’ll be showing the cow horse. (The ranch pleasure) is my transition to that, in the pattern classes. I knew that remembering the pattern would be tough. I can remember it sitting outside, but when I go in the pen, it just all goes away!”

But it stayed long enough for Dennis and Mikey to have a great first show in the class. And, most importantly, “It was fun!”

The American Quarter Horse Journal loves to feature the hard-working AQHA exhibitor, and In the Spotlight is the Journal’s fun new way to do so. Do you know a hard-working AQHA competitor who deserves some time in the limelight? Email AQHA Internet Editor Tara Matsler at tmatsler@aqha.org to submit story ideas, then visit www.aqha.com/inthespotlight to view more In the Spotlight stories.