Journal at the World

August 30, 2012

He’s Been There, Done That

With nearly 20 counts of AQHA world championship show qualification, Confirmed Legacy writes his own record.

By Tara Christiansen
The American Quarter Horse Journal

Dr. Tommy Thomas

The 2012 Adequan Select World marks Dr. Tommy and Bubba's fifth together. (Journal photo)

For an exhibitor, qualifying for 17 AQHA world championship shows is an incredible feat. But 17 counts of qualification for world shows for one single American Quarter Horse – now that’s impeccable.

Back in 1993, 3-year-old Confirmed Legacy qualified for his first world show. Over the next 19 years, the sorrel gelding went on to rack up countless top-10 finishes, a reserve world championship and a couple of AQHA year-end high-point awards. But that’s just the short list of his accolades. In just trail alone, he has racked up 1,191.5 points.

Confirmed Legacy’s last five world show performances have been with owner Dr. M.A. “Dr. Tommy” Thomas Jr. – as the Super-Select competitor is widely known – had been telling folks that this Adequan Select World, his 10th, just might be Confirmed Legacy’s last; now he’s not too sure.

At the 2012 Adequan Select World Championship Show, the College Station, Texas, horseman pointed Confirmed Legacy into the pen for trail, horsemanship and western riding – doing so makes them contenders for the Farnam Select All-Around Amateur award. Their fifth world show together has certainly been a success – the duo made both the western riding and trail finals and made the semifinals in a deep horsemanship class. It’s not prelims, finals or any other tangible awards that keep Dr. Tommy showing the gelding; it’s Confirmed Legacy’s love of the show pen.

Bred by Dwayne Lewis of Kearney, Nebraska, and by Mr Conclusion and out of the Jessie James Leo mare Miss Jessie Jo, Confirmed Legacy loves living life as a show horse.

“This is all he knows and even at home, if I don’t get him out – and I don’t mean turn out, I mean get him out and ride or go over and have the girls ride – he just becomes obnoxious to have around,” Dr. Tommy says. By girls, Dr. Tommy means the Texas A&M University women’s equestrian team members who borrow “Bubba” – as he’s affectionately called – for home competitions. A team favorite, Bubba even won the Varsity Equestrian (now known as the National Collegiate Equestrian Association) National Championships most valuable horsemanship horse title at the 2010 event.  

In spite of the fact that the team of Dr. Tommy and Bubba has become a fixture in the Select pen, the retired veterinarian says that it’s with former owner Daniel Carlson of Sheffield, Massachusetts, that Bubba really made his mark. With Daniel in the saddle, Bubba was the 2004 reserve world champion in amateur trail, and the team was the 2003 and 2004 AQHA amateur trail year-end high-point winners.

Some might say that Bubba was in the prime of his life when he was with Daniel – being only 14 years old in 2004 – but now 22, the sorrel gelding doesn’t show his age, despite the fact that he’s the oldest horse in all three of his 2012 Adequan Select World classes.

“He’s very accomplished and knows exactly what he’s supposed to do, but every once in a while, he’ll get distracted.” And by distracted, Dr. Tommy means Bubba starts to feel his oats. “He’s chillin’ out at 22, but he can see something or a cow gets loose or something like that and he can be … ”

Well, gone.

But, that hasn’t been the case at the 2012 show.

“He’s been really mellow here; the mellowest he’s ever been for me,” Dr. Tommy says.

Bubba’s youthful physique can certainly be attributed to his caring owner.

“I have veterinary training and groom training and horseman training over the years – I do try to maintain him pretty good,” Dr. Tommy shares. With a doctorate of veterinary medicine from Kansas State University, plus lots of hands-on experience from years of working the California show circuit back in the day, Dr. Tommy knows a thing or two about keeping an aged horse lookin’ fit.

For an older show horse, who loves to show and the only life he knows is to show, Dr. Tommy thinks the best thing an owner can do is listen to the horse – he’ll tell you when it’s time for retirement.

“Bubba is stalled, but then I have a turn out. Not a big pasture or anything, but a big paddock basically. He goes out and grazes a little while and as soon as two or three flies (are on) him, he’s ready to come back in. There again, he likes to go out: He runs around, acts silly, rolls and then he comes in.

“He doesn’t get used hard, he doesn’t get hauled hard anymore; he gets exercise because of the team a couple days a week,” Dr. Tommy adds. “He’s been a show horse his whole life. This is all he knows.”

But when Bubba says it’s time to hang up the bridle, put the saddle away and spend more leisurely days with the grandkids in the central Texas sun, Dr. Tommy is ready to listen. For a horse who has given so many riders the rides of their lives, he certainly deserves the best, in and out of the pen.