The Rundown: A Time With no Amateur Classes?

AQHA Professional Horseman Harriet Link remembers a time when arenas were outside, manes were roached and Tim McQuay showed in horsemanship.

By Tara Christiansen
The American Quarter Horse Journal
July 31, 2011

Harriet Link and Quaker Preacher

Harriet Link and Quaker Preacher, a 1977 bay gelding by Reverend Luck and out of Quakettes Miss by Double Duster. Photo by Jem Photo Studio.

Growing up and showing all-around in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I was much relieved when I was able to put aside my late nights of banding manes and early mornings of adding tail extensions. From then on, I have lived a lifestyle of rolling out of bed, knocking some shavings off my cow pony and enjoying a day filled with bovine-chasin’ adrenaline rushes.

I’ve got to admire a horse like Harley D Zip, who can pull off a roached mane (and I’m a bit jealous I didn’t think to use this look on one of my all-around horses), but it’s hard for me to imagine a time when there weren’t any tail extensions and manes weren’t banded, and more frequently they were roached. Even harder to imagine is a time when there weren’t English classes and especially no amateur division.

In the August issue of Journal Plus, AQHA Professional Horseman Harriet Link, of Woodville, Wisconsin, reflects on what the Quarter Horse industry used to be like back in the 1960s and 1970s.

Harriet points out that although many things have changed, such as how they would use truck headlights to light an outdoor arena at a show and the importance that was placed on a horse earning an AQHA Championship, many things have stayed the same.

Of course, AQHA Professional Horseman Tim McQuay, the decorated reining trainer and member of the Team USA reining squad at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, no longer shows horsemanship, and circuit shows, rather than weekend shows, have become the norm. However, Harriet says one thing hasn’t changed: “The Quarter Horse industry is still a close-knit community and we take care of our own.”

For instance, in the wake of the tornadoes that ripped through Oklahoma in May, horsemen pulled together to care for others who share the same passion for the American Quarter Horse. But that’s just one of many instances in which AQHA members have taken care of their horse show families.

Harriet’s insight as to the changes the Quarter Horse industry has seen is mesmerizing. I highly encourage anyone who has a passion for American Quarter Horses to read her article in the August issue of Journal Plus.

And as Harriet says, “The business has surely changed, but the passion is the same.”

Journal Plus is The American Quarter Horse Journal's online bonus magazine. Journal Plus is exclusively for subscribers to the magazine.

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