by Tara ChristiansenThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Air Ride Equipped knows what he’s doing out in the hunter under saddle ring, that’s for sure.
On November 19, he didn’t mind showing AQHA Professional Horseman Keith Miller Jr. the ropes out in the Jim Norick Arena at the 2011 AQHA World Championship Show.
“This is actually the first time I’ve ever shown at the World Show, so to win it is just incredible,” beams Keith, a resident of Reidsville, North Carolina.
Even though this is Keith’s first world championship, it’s actually Air Ride Equipped’s second. In 2009, Air Ride Equipped, by Galahad’s Charm (TB) and out of Invaders Charge by Night Invader (TB), won the senior hunter under saddle, and in 2008, he claimed the junior hunter under saddle reserve world championship.
“He’s just a great horse,” Keith says of the 2003 sorrel gelding bred by Dallas and Jill Sande of Scottsdale, Arizona. “He’s just a great mover – he can trot, he can canter. He’s big and typey – he’s just a great horse.
If he had to sum it all up, Keith only has two words to describe having Air Ride Equipped in the barn: life changing.
“We’ve brought customers (to the World Show) and they’ve shown, but I’ve never actually shown anything here until now.
“He felt great,” Keith says. “He was right where I needed him to be, he just trotted great. When I needed more, he gave it to me. It was just incredible.”
In all honesty, Keith thinks that Air Ride Equipped is the perfect name for the smooth-strided gelding.
“It’s cool – to feel a horse that free and able to just lengthen,” Keith says of showing the gelding owned by the Wilhelm Family Trust of Chalfont, Pennsylvania.
“(His owners) couldn’t be here today, but I want to mention them – Michelle and Martin Wilhelm. They’re wonderful people, and they bought him sight unseen just because I said he was a great horse. They’ve trusted in me and believed in him, so I’m so happy for them,” Keith says.
But what’s next for Keith and Air Ride Equipped?
“Lauren (Wilhelm) will keep showing him in the amateur stuff, and I’ll just keep trying to do well at the World Show. I don’t know what else to win!” Keith says with a shrug.
“The only thing he hasn’t won is the (All American Quarter Horse) Congress, so I’d like for him to win that, but we’ll see. Beggars can’t be choosers, right?” Keith laughs.
AQHA Professional Horseman Keith Miller Jr. rode Air Ride Equipped to the senior hunter under saddle world championship at the 2011 AQHA World Show. (Journal photo)