by Alexis BennettThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Southwestern Gunman and Whitney Walquist-Vicars
On November 11, Whitney Walquist-Vicars captured her fourth world championship title with her win in performance halter geldings at the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show.
Whitney and her horse, "Gunner," won horsemanship titles in 2010 and 2012, and showmanship in 2009.
The pair seems to be gunning for an all-around world championship title this year to round out their impressive resume.
“I’ve made the equitation, western riding and horsemanship finals with him and we have the showmanship preliminaries tomorrow morning,” Whitney said.
If the two secure a spot in the showmanship finals, the all-around amateur title is definitely within grasp.
“That has been a dream of mine for several years now, so we’re just going to give it our best shot. If it’s meant to be, God will help it happen, and if it’s not, then I will be so grateful for the world that I’ve had anyway.”
Whitney is all smiles when she talks about her gelding.
Southwestern Gunman is out of Ms Southern Border by Sonny South Two. He is by Dress Western a world champion in senior western riding with AQHA points in halter, performance halter stallion, western riding and western pleasure.
“He’s so special to me. My dad and I raised him and he’s out of my very first show mare who I showed in walk-trot and Novice youth western pleasure. I’m so proud of him,” Whitney beamed. “I’m trying not to cry.”
Whitney hurried from hunt seat equitation where she had just made the finals to the stall where she busily prepared for performance halter geldings. The two classes were nearly back-to-back.
“We had to run back to the stalls and take his braids out and re-band him. I had a little pit crew around my horse – brushing him off and drying off the sweat marks. It was crazy, but it was fun.”
Her father, AQHA Professional Horseman Bruce Walquist, is just one of the members of her entourage.
It takes a team with so many events, and luckily her home-raised gelding is a good sport.
“He has been such a good boy this week and we have a few more events to go.”
Whitney’s faith and planning have been essential to surviving such a hectic schedule.
“We try to make a plan of how were going to handle it ahead of time. Everyone was so gracious, jumping in and helping me. I say a prayer every morning that God will help get me through the day and that we’ll make all the right decisions. And today it has worked beautifully.”
Although she has won several AQHA world championship titles, this is her first in halter. This veteran was shocked, her mouth gaping as she accepted her armful of prizes, including the iconic AQHA gold trophy.
“After the first couple judges, I had a first and a second and that’s when I started to get a little excited. I was down on a couple of the other cards, more toward the middle so I wasn’t sure if I would be on the top or not, but they were pulling out reserve and I was holding my breath. When it wasn’t my number I was just elated.”
Today, this team has proven that they’re a force to be reckoned with in every event that they enter. Everyone should be on the look out for the results of the amateur all-around as the final events wrap up throughout the week.
It's your moment; make it last forever! Videos of individual runs and class finals from the AQHA World Championship Show are available for purchase atwww.aqha.com/mymoment. Plus, you can watch AQHA World Show video footage 24/7. This new service is optimized for Internet Explorer 10, Safari and most mobile Web browsers.