by Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Incredible. A Certain Vino has never left the AQHA World Championship Show without a western pleasure title.
“Vino” made his first appearance at the AQHA World Championship Show as a 2-year-old in 2005. He had shown promise as the the $250,000 2-Year-Old Western Pleasure Challenge winner at the 2005 Reichert Celebration, and did not disappoint in Oklahoma City, going home with the reserve world championship in 2-year-old snaffle bit western pleasure.
“Vino’s” next World Show appearance was in 2007, and he went home with the junior western pleasure world championship. At every World Show since, he’s won a western pleasure world championship – the junior in 2008, the senior in 2009 and 2010. Of course, he also carried Darcy Reeve to youth western pleasure world championships in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
“Incredible,” says trainer Karen Hornick. That’s what it was like to ride the Reeve family’s talented gelding to the 2011 senior western pleasure world title November 18. For the first time, Vino swept the World Show pleasure – he won the amateur western pleasure world championship November 6 with Darcy.
“He felt very soft and just wanted to do his job,” Karen adds, still breathless from the win. “I’ve been kind of a little on autopilot today,” she laughs.
“That’s ‘cause I got him ready for her!” her husband and fellow trainer, Ty, jokes, giving his wife a hug.
Karen adds that she never takes anything for granted with the big-hearted gelding, taking each show as it comes: “You ask him for everything, and he always steps up and gives his heart. He’s quite a horse.”
What’s the secret to his consistency?
“I think strength, No. 1,” Karen says without hesitating. “And then he likes doing it. And we have a little variety (for him), he gets to do the western riding and the pleasure.”
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Vino lives at Highpoint Performance Horses in Pilot Point, Texas, working on all-around events half the year, and the rest of the year with the Hornicks.
“I think it just keeps him fresh-minded,” Karen continues. “And we don’t burn him up every weekend. We pick and choose the big horse shows (to go to).”
“He’s been a great horse for us,” says Lee Reeve of Garden City, Kansas, Darcy’s father. “We bought (Vino) here at the World Show when he was a 2-year-old… We just take it one year at a time.”
Darcy made her longtime goal of doing well in the western riding with Vino just last week – she rode him to the amateur western riding world championship November 11. Vino still has the senior western riding finals to go on the last day of this year’s World Show, November 19.
“I think Darcy is going to try more horsemanship on him,” Lee continues. “(We’re going to continue on) pretty much the same as we’ve been doing; that’s what he’s good at.”
“He’s a legend,” Ty says, “There’s nothing like him. There never has been, that I can think of, and I’ve been doing it for 40 years.”
“I’ve just never had a horse that gives so much,” Karen adds. “It’s incredible.”
A Certain Vino takes the 2011 senior western pleasure world championship with trainer Karen Hornick riding.(Journal photo)