by Jody ReynoldsThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Christine Hocutt-Senteney and Bellieve Hes Blazing
When last year’s horsemanship world champion Christine Hocutt-Senteney rode into the 2013 Adequan Select World Championship Show horsemanship finals arena first in the go August 30, all eyes were on her and her talented brown gelding Bellieve Hes Blazing.
The pattern had no cones and called for numerous tricky maneuvers, including counter canters, extended trots, pivots, loping with speed and two flying lead changes.
What choices would she make? What tracks would she leave? Could she retain her title as best of the horsemanship best?
“I know it’s not always possible, but in the back of my mind, I thought it would be pretty cool to do it two years in a row,” Chris said.
“Blake” didn’t let her down, executing the maneuvers with ease and showcasing his gorgeous extended jog in the pattern and especially during the rail work.
“He’s always consistent,” Chris beamed to the Journal. “When I first saw the pattern, I was concerned about the extended lope on the straight line. He’s a western rider, too, and I thought that could be a little difficult. But we practiced it, and he never even had lead change in his mind, so I thought, ‘We’ve got that.’ I knew the circles would be good, I knew he had a good extended trot, so I knew I could shine in that area. I knew I was going to go first, so we came out last night, mapped out the arena and figured out where I wanted to turn and do all my maneuvers, because I would have no tracks to follow. We came out early this morning and did it again. I was really prepared when I went in there.”
Chris has loved horsemanship since she was a little girl, and she said she loves the new style of horsemanship patterns.
“I’m really liking them because there are so many elements,” she said. “I love the turns. I like doing a bunch of stuff in the pattern. I love the no cones. You make markers on the wall and figure out where you’re going to do everything. It keeps the horses thinking, ‘What’s next?’ "
Despite having an invitation to return this year, as all world champions do, Chris still got Blake qualified to be here by attending about four circuit shows.
She said she loves being at the Adequan Select World because “I love the competitors. They’re really great at the Select. I showed as an amateur, too, and it’s really cut throat. Here, we take it serious and we want to be good, but everyone supports each other and I really like that. It’s fun to have everyone supporting each other.”
Chris credits horse trainer Nancy Renfro for her success with Blake. Blake spends much of his time on Nancy’s ranch in Finley, California, and gets to hang out with Nancy’s kids, doing walk-trot and lead-line classes.
“He really loves little kids,” she smiled. “He’s like a big puppy dog, which is so great because I can show him as an old lady, and Nancy’s kids can ride him around the ranch. He likes dogs and loves little children. I’m a cat person, so we differ in that area!”
When she’s not riding, Chris works for a horse insurance company.
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.