by Larri Jo StarkeyThe American Quarter Horse Journal
AQHA Professional Horseman Ryan Cottingim guides MWS Sevens Are Hot through the trail course November 19 on their way to winning senior trail at the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show. (Journal photo)
Twenty-three horses picked their way through the senior trail finals pattern November 19 at the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show.
But the first one in the pen won.
AQHA Professional Horseman Ryan Cottingim of New Albany, Indiana, guided MWS Sevens Are Hot through a tricky pattern that featured two lope wagon wheels and a trot maze that questioned whether horses could maintain their momentum.
“I was first out,” Ryan said in his exclusive Journal interview. “I was confident with that. I think she was probably better off going first. I went with what I had and didn’t overtrain. I didn’t overwork. She’s comfortable going in first in the pen, and I was confident in her.”
The final obstacle might have been the most challenging, Ryan said, in the Tim Kimura-designed course.
“It was all very challenging,” Ryan said, “and I think everything concluded at the end with a sidepass and back-through, and your momentum took you into that, and it was a lot of energy ramped up to that point. So then you had to really quiet your nerves and settle, and ride through that (last obstacle) calmly and softly to the end.”
MWS Sevens Are Hot is a 2003 gray mare by Hot N Blazing and out of MWS Zipped In Chock by Seven S Flashyzipper. She was bred by Mike and Sandy Walker of Pendleton, Indiana, and has been owned by Sue Sancken of Grayslake, Illinois, since October.
Ryan and the mare scored a 234.5, beating all other exhibitors for the award, including Ryan's business associate, Tommy Sheets.
“I’ve been with Tommy Sheets Show Horses for eight years, and this mare was there as a junior horse when I arrived,” said Ryan, who was claiming his first world championship. “She has been part of my career thus far. It’s a special win with it being on her.”
“Gilda” is an open AQHA Champion with five Superiors. She was reserve world champion in amateur trail in 2011 and in 2012 with former owner Sarah Maggert of Paris, Illinois, whose initial “M” still decorates Gilda’s bridle.
“This (win) means a lot to me,” Ryan said. “I have a lot of great mentors who have helped me along the way: a lot of great horses and a lot of great customers. Without any of them, I couldn’t have done what we were able to achieve tonight.”
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