May 16, 2014
By Tara MatslerThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Kari Laufenberg will never forget the moment she randomly opened the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show Sale catalog and Cruize Nite’s photo jumped off the page.
The Jim Falls, Wisconsin, native never expected to purchase Cruize Nite. But then again, Kari never expected to ride again.
A little more than a year before the AQHA World Show Sale, Kari had suffered a tractor accident that nearly took her life. Kari fought through the excruciating pain to return to riding. To once again put her foot in the stirrup, swing into the saddle and sit astride a horse were all tasks that had seemed so simple before the accident. But in the aftermath, they were near-impossible tasks for someone who struggled even to walk.
About a year after the accident, Kari was on her way to a riding lesson with her mare, “Windy,” when a soft, quiet voice in her heart repeatedly instructed her to “Take back your joy” and “Trust in the Lord.”
That first time back in the saddle, Kari says, “I could feel a warm tingly feeling slowly starting in my feet and then all at once, whoosh, up my legs and throughout my entire body. … I was immediately overwhelmed with unspeakable joy and the pain was 80 percent better!
“The pain continued to lessen as the day went on. In almost an instant, I had gone from barely being able to walk to feeling better than I had in 10 years! Praise God, I had received my healing!”
Kari continued riding each week to regain her strength, and she felt a desire to show stirring in her heart.
“Throughout this process, my relationship with God had evolved to the point that I did almost nothing without consulting with him first,” Kari explains.
“God has a way of picking out horses for me,” Kari adds. “He led me to my stallion, Kickoff Time, at a previous (National Reined Cow Horse Association) Snaffle Bit Futurity Sale shortly after my mother’s tragic death, and later with a mare and colt (at that sale), as well.
“It is a unique thing he does for me, as I don’t look to buy horses; God shows me which ones to get. He is truly the supplier of my joy!
“So I petitioned God for a horse,” Kari says, explaining how Cruize Nite came to be a Laufenberg-owned horse. “I waited and watched patiently throughout the 2013 show season.”
Kari rides and trains with Lance Scheffel, and Kari was more than happy to hoof it to the 2013 AQHA World Show, where Lance was showing several horses, including Kari’s stallion, Kickoff Time.
“The World Show was such an awesome experience!” she says of her first time at the pinnacle event for American Quarter Horses. “It made my desire to show even stronger.”
When Kari randomly flipped to Cruize Nite’s page in the AQHA World Show Sale catalog, she “quickly closed the book as tears of joy took over because I knew what this meant: ‘Cruize’ was my horse. My prayer had been answered.”
Kari watched Cruize in the sale preview, then showed the gelding to Lance.
A 2006 bay gelding by Smart Chic Olena and out of Miss Double Tuck by Poco King Tuck, Cruize Nite was bred by the W.T. Waggoner Estate of Vernon, Texas, and consigned to the sale by Justin and Amy Waldroop of Hollister, Oklahoma.
“Lance and I discussed what a fair purchase price would be, registered at the sale desk and bought him,” Kari explains.
“Just as easy as that, God had blessed me and filled my future with joyful anticipation and opportunity.”
So far, the duo has already tried their hands in amateur reining, boxing and ranch horse pleasure. But for Kari, ribbons, trophies and points are not where she wants to leave her mark.
“As with all aspects of life, the goal for Cruize Nite and me is to show the love of God through the passion He has placed in my heart.”
And Kari adds, “God blesses me so that I may be a blessing. For me, that’s really what it’s all about.”