2011 Youth World
by Larri Jo StarkeyThe American Quarter Horse Journal
It might have been the toughest class of the day.
That’s what the railbird trainers and amateur judges in the stands were saying about the yearling geldings class August 6 at the 2011 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show.
Ashleigh Ballard of Stephenville, Texas, was leading HR Gotta Cool Skip.
“I got him at the end of the school year, and all this summer, I’ve been working with him and training him and grooming him, so we’ve been best buds,” the 17-year-old said of her yearling gelding. “He’s a real eater. He likes to eat a lot. That’s why he’s fat.”
“Skippy” doesn’t care what he gets, as long as it comes in plentiful portions, she said, but the emphasis at AQHA Professional Mike McMillian’s barn, where Skippy is being trained, has been on a conditioning feed and alfalfa.
“He’s used to the heat,” Ashleigh said in her exclusive Journal interview. “He’s great on the road. He’s young, and I didn’t know how he was going to act in the big arena, but he did fine.”
Skippy was bred by Bill and Kathleen Huckabee of Stephenville. He’s by their stallion I Gotta Cool Skip and out of Designer Connection by The Clue Connection.
Ashleigh and Skippy were first on three judges’ cards for Ashleigh’s first AQHYA world championship.
“It feels really good,” she said. “It’s the greatest thing in the world that I’ve felt for a while.
“I want to thank my mom, Amanda, and I want to thank Mike because he trained him and helped me with him all summer. And I want to thank my dad, Gregory, for buying him and Bill and Kathleen for raising him.”
Ashleigh Ballard of Stephenville, Texas, wins the 2011 youth world championship in yearling geldings with HR Gotta Cool Skip.