2011 Select World
by Tara ChristiansenThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Steve Gunn was no stranger to a win photo, but for the first time, he was the one sitting tall in the saddle, side by side with an AQHA world championship trophy.
After years of supporting his daughters, Jessica and Caroline, with their endeavors in the show pen, the Greensburg, Indiana, farmer finally took the reins for himself in 2008.
But before he could tackle those daunting Tim Kimura-designed trail courses, Steve needed to find the perfect partner. For the task, he enlisted son-in-law Jason Gilliam.
Motion By Pro, a 1988 sorrel gelding by The Promoter and out of Lady Queen 1 by Sorrel Rondo 5, was a more than decorated competitor himself – in that right, he was the perfect fit with the Gunn family.
“He’s been good for and he’s taught me a lot,” Steve says of “Mo.” “You could say that he was the ‘pro’ and I was the ‘motion.’”
Steve and Mo saw quite a bit of success in the show pen right off the bat, and the duo has qualified in trail at the Adequan Select World Championship Show every year since 2008.
Shown to a long list of awards by previous owner Ashley Aikman, there was one thing that 23-year-old Mo had yet to achieve – his own world championship.
Riding 12th in the trail finals at the 2011 Adequan Select World Championship Show, Steve and Mo deftly navigated the course.
“I made some mistakes in my other finals patterns (over the years), but I put it together today,” Steve recalls. “I came out and thought I had a good ride, but it was even better than I expected.”
A few runs later, Steve and Mo filed back into the arena along with their fellow trail competitors.
Once realization set in that he and Mo had finally achieved what they set out to do three years ago, Steve let out a war whoop and punched the air.
“I had a good time out there – I let everybody else out there know I had a good time,” he laughs.
Steve enjoys the family aspect of his win – he rides under the critical eyes of his daughters and son-in-law, and receives boundless support from his wife, Janet.
The family atmosphere of the Adequan Select World is also one of Steve’s favorites.
“We’re all the older generation, you might say, but if it wasn’t for us, the younger generation wouldn’t be here. We’re glad to get together and have a good time. We’re still competitive, but most of the time we don’t chew on each other very hard, and we’ll pat each other on the back and encourage each other.”
It’s that kind of support, plus the personal challenge, that has attracted Steve to trail.
“A lot of people have beat me over the years, I’ve beat a lot of people, but it’s all about how you do on that day with your horse.”
Winning the trail at the 2011 Adequan Select World meant the first AQHA world championship trophy for both Steve Gunn and Motion By Pro. Journal photo.