by Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse Journal
In her first appearance as an amateur exhibitor, Darcy Reeve of Garden Center, Kansas, rode her multiple world champion A Certain Vino to the amateur western pleasure world championship November 6.
The sophomore at Kansas State University says showing as an amateur has its differences from youth competition.
“The numbers are different,” she says. “But the quality of the horses is the same. Once you get into that arena and do your thing … it feels the same.”
Darcy and “Vino” came straight to the 2011 AQHA World Championship Show from the All American Quarter Horse Congress. The two shows’ dates were very close this year.
“We were at the Congress for the past three weeks, had two days off and came here,” she says. “I feel like he’s very prepared just from being at the Congress. (It) might be … a little easier to come here from that, being that prepared, than having (no big show) right before the (Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show).”
The pair had a great Congress: “He won every pleasure class he was in…and was top-10 in the western riding,” Darcy lists.
How do you keep strong as a rider between two big shows like that?
“You just have to remember what’s at stake, and if you’re not at your best riding your horse isn’t going to be at their best.”
Since his first World Show appearance in 2005 – when he won the reserve in 2-year-old snaffle bit western pleasure - Vino has won eight world championships in western pleasure, all divisions combined.
It begs the question – what’s he like to ride?
“It’s unbelievable,” Darcy says. “He likes to win more than anything. He wants to go out and do his best as much as I want to do my best. You can’t let your guard down knowing that something might happen (in a class), get cut off, or something. He’s going to be 110 percent if you are.
And she says he knows when it’s a big show and there’s more on the line.
“He will put his game face on and just go,” Darcy says. “Sometimes, at littler shows, he won’t cheat you, but he knows he can get away with a little more. But he knows when he comes here he has to be on his game.”
For 2012, Darcy wants to focus on the western riding with Vino.
“We were the reserve last year at the (Ford) Youth World, and have placed top-10 at all the major shows lately,” she says. “I really just want to focus on that next year. I’ll probably come back (to the World Show) and do the pleasure, but I’d really like to focus on the western riding.”
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An advertising major in the ag department, Darcy manages to juggle school with showing: “I’ve been in my bed in Manhattan, Kansas, a total of five nights since the Congress started,” she says, “but I make it work.”
She adds: “I just really want to thank my trainers, Ty and Karen Hornick, and Charlie (Cole) and Jason (Martin) at Highpoint (Performance Horses). They really know how to prep (Vino) and prep all my horses. Without them, (we) would be nothing.”
New for the 2011 World Show is the addition of double-approved Southern Belle Invitation classes, for eligible classes, and the amateur western pleasure finals was the first of these. Darcy and Vino also placed first in the Southern Belle standings.
Darcy Reeve of Garden City, Kansas, and A Certain Vino (The American Quarter Horse Journalphoto)