Journal at the World

August 26, 2012

It's a Small World

The horse world is a small world, as one Irish competitor at the Adequan Select World will tell you.

By Tara Christiansen
The American Quarter Horse Journal

John Enright of Ireland and Ima Flo Too in the cutting prelims at the 2012 Adequan Select World Championship Show.

Jack Enright and Ima Flo Too in the 2012 Select cutting prelims at the Adequan Select World Championship Show.

About 15 years ago, an Irishman and his British bride hopped a flight across the pond to the Two Bars Seven Ranch outside of Laramie, Wyoming. Ever since then, the couple has been hooked on the western lifestyle.

John “Jack” Enright grew up watching “The Virginian,” a Western set in Medicine Bow, Wyoming. When he and wife Anne packed their bags for a vacation at the Two Bars Seven guest ranch, they knew that Medicine Bow was on their destination list.

“We fell in love with western riding,” Jack recalled. On that first trip to Wyoming, the western state got in the Enrights’ blood. Over the years, they kept coming back to the guest ranch – sometimes once a year, other times twice a year. Finally, eight to nine years ago, the Enrights had enough of the jet-setting, and with horses in tow, they bought a house sight-unseen and changed their address from London to Cheyenne, Wyoming.   

“We got a little barn and an arena there and it's near enough to town – it works pretty (well),” Jack said. Settled in Cheyenne, Jack now works at a juvenile treatment facility – a job that he really enjoys – and Anne works for the Wyoming Livestock Board. In addition to work and horse showing, Jack is also a grand marshal in the Cheyenne Frontier Days parade.

Although he’s dabbled in ranch-horse competitions and team penning, it’s reining and cutting that take up most of Jack’s time nowadays. If he had to pick a favorite, Jack would surely take cutting, namely for its western ties. He does a lot of his own training, but Jack isn’t too proud to get help from several Colorado trainers including Troy Vernon of Wellington, Colorado. And although Anne doesn’t show, she keeps the Enright barn running and enjoys riding with Jack.

Back in 2006, Jack first tried his hand at AQHA competition. While he was on hiatus for a few years, focusing on National Cutting Horse Association events, Jack recently set his mind toward qualifying for the 2012 Adequan Select World Championship Show in both cutting and reining.

With family watching halfway across the world via the free live webcast sponsored by Pfizer, Jack and Ima Flo Too slinked into the herd on August 24 for the cutting prelims.

“We thought we had nice cows picked out, but they were not as nice we'd picked out,” Jack chuckled. “I was hoping to do a little bit better in there.”

But that’s OK, there’s always August 27, when Jack and Ima Flo Too (Stop The Flow-RBS Sugar Badger by Pairadise Badger) will compete in the reining prelims.

“All of my family (was) watching this on the Internet in Ireland. My sister owns a bar, so they're in there drinking. They said that if I did well, they'd celebrate. If I did bad, they'd drink to commiserate. Either way, they are winners,” Jack said with a laugh.
 
This being Jack’s first time at an AQHA world championship show, he was a bit shocked to find just how small the horse show world really is.

“There are thousands of people who show, but it seems to be a pretty small group when you get into it. I travel a lot – Montana, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

“As big of a deal it is, everybody seems to know everybody or you know somebody who knows somebody. It's all connected.”

Now, that’s saying a lot for an Irishman, who has a British bride, a horse with a passport and a ranch in Wyoming.