by Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse Journal
“We just got him!” says AQHA Professional Horseman Lainie Deboer of Only Royal Blue, the 2006 gray gelding her clients, the Roper family, just bought at the All American Quarter Horse Congress. “I’ve had him three weeks. This is the first time I’ve shown him.”
It’s a big deal because she just rode the gelding to the junior working hunter world championship at the 2011 AQHA World Championship Show.
“I had no idea what to expect; it’s pretty cool,” she continues. “Rebecca Francis of Colorado, she did all the homework and did a beautiful job. All the credit goes to her. I was just the jockey today.”
Lainie called Rebecca earlier in the week to “pick her brain” about how to prepare the gelding they call “Spider.”
“I just keep it consistent,” she continued. “I brought him out and rode him a couple of times a day but not really hard. I didn’t slam him with a lot of work, I just kept him happy. I took him outside and rode him around. I just kept peeling away (his personality) like an onion, instead of (trying to) get it all done at once.
“He was just absolutely perfect. And that’s very rare, that you get a new one and it comes together like that. He’s a great horse; I’m so excited to have him.”
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Lainie had purchased another 4-year-old by Spider's sire earlier in the year, and that’s what made her initially interested in him. Spider is by All American Quarter Horse Congress champion Only Blue Sky and out of show mare Perfectly Riva by Encoriva (TB), also the dam of successful show stallion Best New Artist. Encoriva is an unraced son of Riva Ridge and out of a full sister to the great Thoroughbred racing sire Raise A Native.
“He’s got a really good mind; he’s really cool to deal with,” Lainie says. “He’s kind of a carbon copy of his brother.”
Spider is headed home with the Ropers for a well-earned break before starting up his 2012 show season with Samantha Roper in February.
The reserve world championship in the class went to David Warner of Frankfort, Kentucky, riding Kimberly Johnson’s Chagull, a bay gelding by Artful Investment and out of Minnietta (TB) by Minneapple. Lainie bred and raised him.
“This day has been ridiculous!” she says of the afternoon of hunter finals; immediately after the junior working hunter, Lainie rode Kelsey Hull’s Larks Big Leaguer to the senior working hunter world championship.
Her longtime student, Jessica Johnson, has just completed her last World Show as an amateur – she is turning pro. Jessica will ride “Cole” in the November 14 junior hunter hack as her first ride as a professional.
For right now, Lainie is just going to take a deep breath: "I’m going to enjoy this and then start back up on Monday.”
AQHA Professional Horseman Lainie Deboer and Only Royal Blue win the 2011 junior working hunter world championship.(Journal photo)