By Tara ChristiansenThe American Quarter Horse JournalSeptember 7, 2011
Wright On TC is enjoying his new home in Colorado with owner Jack Hunter. (Photo courtesy of Jack Hunter).
As a small-time horse operation, my family likes to keep tabs on the handful of American Quarter Horses we sell.
For this task, AQHA’s member services has been a great resource – we track the show and ownership records of the few horses we sell, but we haven’t been so great on following up with direct communication to our horses’ new homes.
At a recent show, one of our friends overheard a certain gentleman bragging on his wonderful mount, Wright On TC. Knowing that my family bred, raised and showed “Curly,” as we affectionately called the 10-year-old brown gelding, our friend suggested that Jack Hunter, Curly’s new partner in crime, contact us.
What ensued can be considered the best phone call the Christiansen family has ever received.
The Back Story
It all started with Sugari Colonel. Bred by the late Greg Ward, the 1988 daughter of Just Plain Colonel was purchased by my grandfather, Dave Christiansen, as a 50th birthday present for my grandmother, Bonnie.
“Sugari’s” greatest accomplishments in life have been achieved as a broodmare – her first foal to show being the Christiansen family favorite, TC Lena.
Pleased with our Lenas Wright On cross that resulted in TC Lena, aka “TC,” we bred back to the son of Smart Little Lena two years later, the result of which was Curly.
Now, TC and Curly may be full brothers, but most of the time, they’re as different as night and day.
When TC came up lame at the end of 2004, my dad, Terry, handed me Curly’s reins and wished me luck on my maiden voyage down the fence … on a 4-year-old. Those familiar with reined cow horse events know that an old, broke cow horse can keep a rookie out of trouble – a 4-year-old certainly isn’t old and most of the time isn’t all that broke.
Looking back on it now, I realize just how spoiled I was at 16 – Curly didn’t know how to get into a dangerous position going down the fence and avoided hairy situations at all costs.
But by the end of 2005, after Curly and I had placed fourth in working cow horse at the Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show, we realized that our barn was filling up and we couldn’t keep them all. The long and short of it was that Curly found a new home with our family friends, the Hannans.
And that’s where Curly stayed until 2009, when the Hannans experienced the same horse multiplying effect that we had, and Curly made his way to the sale ring at the Snaffle Bit Futurity.
Off To a Rough Start
Recently, my mom, Annette, answered a phone call from Beulah, Colorado. What she was treated to was a long conversation with Jack Hunter, the proud owner of Wright On TC.
In the two years that Curly has been with Jack, a lot has changed for my ol’ faithful youth horse. For starters, he’s no longer a Northwest native – he lives in Colorado. Secondly, he’s got a new name: “TC.” Yes, that’s right – we’ve got another TC to add to the family.
“A good friend and trainer, Blue Allen, first told me about TC, and after reviewing the video on the sale website, we decided to go to Reno,” Jack says, starting off his story on how TC No. 2 came to join the Hunter herd.
“Like most of us, I had a budget on what I felt that I should or wanted to spend on a good horse. It didn't take long for my budget to go out the window when my wife mentioned that the day after the sale would be my 68th birthday, and (she asked me) how long was I going to wait for a really good horse. As they say, the rest is history.”
Unfortunately, the duo got off to a rough and dangerous start.
TC No. 2, the playful cow pony that he is, wasn’t even with Jack for a month before he found a way to get himself hurt. In November 2009, TC No. 2 found himself en route to Denver for surgery.
“It took about 18 months of casting, bandaging, therapy and additional treatments, including IRAP, as well as shockwave,” Jack recalls. “The end result is a fantastic horse that is sound.”
Now that TC No. 2 is on the mend, Jack has his eyes set on new heights.
“I am trying to get up to speed with TC, and I have been working with Kyle Trahern for reined cow horse competition,” Jack says.
Kyle, the 2004 Ford Youth World working cow horse world champion and 2005 senior working cow horse reserve world champion, has been familiar with TC No. 2 for quite some time.
“Kyle knows TC quite well from Reno when he was 3 and the (Ford Youth World) as a 4-year-old,” Jack explains. “My goal is to qualify for the (Adequan Select World Championship Show) next year in cutting, (working) cow horse and maybe reining, also. (TC) can do it all. He just needs me to catch up.”
Last year, I signed up the former horses of the Christiansen herd with the AQHA Full Circle program. The Full Circle program is open to any current AQHA member and should a horse you enroll in Full Circle ever become unwanted or ready for retirement, you could be contacted to help.
Even though the Full Circle program isn’t how Jack got in touch with us, it gives me peace knowing that my horses just might find their way back to me, should they need me.
Not that I expect TC No. 2 to make his way back to my herd – I think he’s got a great “forever” home with Jack, and I look forward to meeting up with them in Pueblo, Colorado, for reined cow horse shows.
Right now, The American Quarter Horse Journal staff is looking back on the 2011 Adequan Select World for our Journal coverage of the event, which you can find in the October issue of Journal Plus or the November issue of the Journal.
I, on the other hand, am looking forward to the 2012 Adequan Select World, where I hope to cheer on my favorite team: Jack Hunter and Wright On TC.
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