2011 Youth World
by Holly ClanahanThe American Quarter Horse Journal
For Classy Chico, winning the pole bending championship at the 2011 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show was just a matter of staying true to his roots.
“Chico” comes from racetrack royalty – sired by American Quarter Horse Hall of Famer Chicks Beduino and out of a daughter of Superior racehorse Pine’s Easter Jet. Chico himself raced 13 times, entering the winner's circle once and earning a speed index of 104. For his rider, Danielle Tharp, winning the world championship was a matter of keeping her mind clear. “I just kind of tried to get away from everything and tried to have fun with my brother and sister while being here, going to ride go-carts and hanging out,” she told the Journal. “I had to get my mind off it so I don’t think too much and then mess up.”Danielle’s siblings, Cassandra and Danny, do their part with the distractions. And grandparents Sonny and Vickie Noble are huge supporters. In fact, Sonny helps Danielle train her barrel and pole horses. And dad Danny also was on hand to cheer Danielle on at her first Ford Youth World . Since the 16-year-old hadn’t scored any top-10 world show placings before, she was eligible for AQHA’s new Intermediate awards and won the Intermediate championship.“I can’t wait to come back next year,” Danielle said. “It feels really good. I didn’t think I could do it, but I proved myself wrong.” And when she comes back, it’s a sure bet she’ll bring her best friend. “Me and him just kind of clicked, and we are doing really good,” she said.
The 17-year-old gelding is a “hard horse to ride. … Like on my end pole, I almost fell off. He turns really sharp, and he pivots, so it’s kind of hard to stay on and ride. And he’s got an attitude. But we both have an attitude.” Danielle is a junior at Beebe (Arkansas) High School, and she is already planning a career path. “I’m planning on being a teacher,” she said. “That way, in the summers, I can go ride my horses.”
Danielle Tharp of Beebe, Arkansas, and Classy Chico won the youth world championship in pole bending at the 2011 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show. (Journal)