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November 7-22, 2014, Oklahoma City

Ranch Pleasure

Mozaun McKibben and Lil Ruf Catalyst capture the first ranch pleasure world championship.

Mozaun McKibben and Lil Ruf Catalyst win the first ever ranch pleasure world championship

Lil Ruf Catalyst and Mozaun McKibben capture the first ranch pleasure world championship November 8. (Journal photo)

In a historic event for AQHA, Mozaun McKibben and Lil Ruf Catalyst are heading home with the first world champion title in ranch pleasure from the 2012 AQHA World Championship Show. The class is so new, in fact, that open, amateur and youth riders rode together in a single match.

The class called for extended lopes, extended jogs and transitions back to slow, all of which are important to an effective ranch horse.

The much decorated horse and trainer have won several awards, including the Versatility Ranch Horse world championship in 2011. And now they have set the standard for the future of ranch pleasure.

“It’s exciting,” Mozaun said in his Journal Winning Run interview. “It’s always exciting when you can win. But it was very exciting, I’m just glad to be here.”

Lil Ruf Catalyst, a 2006 black stallion by Lil Ruf Peppy and out of the Taris Catalyst mare, Foxy Catalyst, has been with Mozaun for quite some time. Mozaun co-owns him with Hilary Zimmerman of Whitesboro, Texas.

“We’ve had him since he was a yearling,” he said. “We bought him when he was a yearling. We did the cow horse stuff on him when he was 3, and we started doing Stock Horse of Texas stuff and he was the (AQHA) Versatility (Ranch Horse) world champion.

“He’s won the Ranch Horse association of America world championship 2 or 3 times and won the SHOT world championship 2 or 3 times, so he’s just been a really good one,” he said.

With all of the stallion’s ranch work experience, it was fitting that he set the standard for the ranch pleasure class. But he and Mozaun have still put in a lot of effort to get ready for this class.

“Our show schedule’s been pretty hectic, so we’ve been showing about every weekend,” he said. “And the Versatility, in the ranch horse classes they all have a ranch pleasure, so he’s been getting lots of practice at it.”

Hilary shared in the excitement after the big win.

“It feels great,” she said. “And as I was watching them tonight, I was thinking, ‘Oh, I hope he wins tonight, it won’t be the same, I mean it would be great if he wins next year, but it would be so nice to be the first time that they had the class to win the class.’ So it was really exciting.”

And once the pressure was off, Mozaun explained why he thinks ranch pleasure is a great addition to AQHA.

“I think it’s a great first class to have and a great class to have at the AQHA because it kind of takes our horses back to the natural way that they travel and do things,” he said. “And I really like that in a horse.

“I hope that we can see more of it in the show community,” he said.

But Mozaun didn’t take all the credit after the class. He was excited to have been a part of setting the stage for the future.

“I think it (was a great start for the class),” he said. “It looked like there were several really good runs in there, some good horses out there.”

“And it felt like a big turnout, too,” Hillary said. “I thought that having 66 people for the first time was a great entry.”

“Yeah, (it was) really big for the first time,” Mozaun said.

After the pictures had been taken and the dust began to settle, Mozaun and Hillary had two people to thank for getting Lil Ruf Catalyst to the historic championship. With a smile, they turned to each other and said, “Thank you.”