by Tara MatslerThe American Quarter Horse Journal
With a time of 21.107 seconds in the finals, Came In A Blazin and Abby Neff won the pole bending world title at the 2013 Adequan Select World Championship Show. (Journal photo)
Abby Neff and her homegrown mare, Came In A Blazin, looked like a world championship pair before they even crossed the electric eye.
With a time of 21.107 seconds in the pole bending finals, the Abby and “Caiman” bested second-place finishers David Renier and Fly Hi Jet (21.491 seconds), plus a whole field of other teams August 31 at the 2013 Adequan Select World Championship Show in Amarillo.
“She took that first turn just the way I wanted her to. I felt she dogged a little bit through the (poles), took the turn back a little bit better than she usually does, so I just goosed her (home),” Abby told the Journal in an exclusive interview.
Hailing from Chillicothe, Missouri, Abby considers herself lucky to call the 5-year-old chestnut mare her own.
By Blazin Jetolena and out of the Dash Ta Fame mare Merri Dashi, who had 15 starts on the track before Abby and her husband, Rick, bought her. The Neffs have raised eight foals out of Merri Dashi, including Scootn Ta Fame by Skips Golden Review, whom Rick rode to the 2008 Select pole bending world championship and 2010 Select pole bending reserve world championship. And Blazin Fame was the full brother to Came In A Blazin that Abby had been competing with, until Rick proposed a trade.
“I took (Blazin Fame) to the AQHA Open World Show in the poles in the junior a couple times and did well,” Abby said, referencing their two top-10 finishes in 2011 and 2012. “(Caiman) was a little smaller, and my husband liked my horse and wanted to run him, so I traded him.”
“It was a good trade,” she added with a smile.
It was obvious to the spectators in the Amarillo National Center that Abby and Caiman have a special bond, one worthy of a world championship.
“I think we’re together real well,” Abby admitted.
A registered nurse at a hospital, Abby is glad that she can share her passion for horses with her husband, who was already an accomplished horseman before they met.
“That’s part of what attracted me to him,” she said. “I guess I grew up on horses. I showed a little western pleasure before I got married, and I continued to show western pleasure after I married, then I moved up into barrel racing, and pole bending after that.”
It's your moment; make it last forever! Videos of individual runs and class finals from the Adequan Select World Championship Show are available for purchase at www.aqha.com/mymoment. Plus, you can watch Adequan Select World video footage 24/7. This new service is optimized for Internet Explorer 10, Safari and most mobile Web browsers.
While the couple has bred quite a few horses of the years, they’ve slowed down just to focus on competition these days.
“We stopped breeding horses, and we’re just kind of sticking with what we have,” Abby said. “Rick is retired, so he rides the horses and keeps them in shape.”
As for Caiman, Abby thinks she and the mare will return to the local barrel racing circuit and will hopefully, one day, make a great horse for their grandkids.
“She tries her heart out,” Abby said of her little chestnut mare. “I just love her.”