2011 Select World
by Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Harl Pruitt of Rosenberg, Texas, and Exceptional Playgirl win the 2011 Select world championship in 2-year-old mares. (Journal photo)
Harl Pruitt of Rosenburg, Texas, is beside himself.
“This (2011) is my sixth or seventh year to show (at the Adequan Select World Championship Show), and the best we’ve done is seventh," he told the Journal. Today is just fantastic!”
The mare he showed to the top 10 in Select yearling mares last year, Exceptional Playgirl, walked out of the Amarillo National Center on September 1 with a world championship in 2-year-old mares.
“We breed, foal and raise our own babies,” Harl said. The “we” includes his wife, Chanci McKinnon. “All the horses we have now were born on the farm. That makes it even more special. We don’t do so well all the time, but they are our horses.”
Harl gives “100 percent” of the credit to the mare’s success this year to AQHA Professional Horseman Luke and Abbi Castle of Wayne, Oklahoma.
“(Luke) took her and gave her the opportunity to progress within herself, and he and Abbi just did a world champion job. I can’t say enough good about Luke and Abbi.”
He grudgingly admits the mare is spoiled: “When she was a baby, my wife would lay down in the stall with her. Because she’s N/N we didn’t do anything with her for the first year, just left her at home. She was spoiled rotten.
“With a halter horse, it’s OK if they are a little bit spoiled, but not too spoiled. So we have a little bit of a challenge when we go out and show her. She knows that I’m easy on her. She pushes me, but today, it just worked.”
Harl grew up around horses but didn’t start raising American Quarter Horses until about 13 years ago, on the encouragement of his daughter, Shelly. He bought a daughter of Obvious Conclusion and kept her with Shelly in Oregon.
“One day, my wife said, why don’t we buy a place down here (Texas)?” Harl recalled. “We were living in a townhouse. I grew up on a farm, and at that time, she didn’t know what a halter was.”
They built a farm, moved the mare, Obvious Della, down and bred her twice to Playgirls Conclusion. Harl and Chanci hauled to weekend shows with a two-horse trailer, and those two fillies – Playgirl Bachelorett and Playgirls Lady – ended up top 10 at the Adequan Select World and at the AQHA World Championship Show. Harl found himself turning down a lot of money for the mares, hoping they would be the start of a broodmare band.
“Everyone told me I was crazy,” he said. “So I’m vindicated (today).”
Exceptional Playgirl is Playgirls Lady’s first foal. Harl is in the offshore oil and gas business, fabricating offshore structures. But he and Chanci’s other full-time job is the horses.
“We don’t have any hired help at our place. My wife and I do it all,” he said. “This business is a labor of love, because if you don’t love it, you’ll hate it. When it’s 110 or 20 degrees outside, you have to take care of those horses twice a day. It’d sure be easy to roll over and sleep a little longer, but those horses have to eat.”
The show’s not over yet for Harl. He’s showing the mare’s baby half-brother by Twentyfour Karat Kid in weanling geldings September 2.