by Allison Armstrong The American Quarter Horse Journal
Ten-year-old Cooper Dobbs of Jonesboro, Arkansas, carried on his family’s long horse-showing traditions on August 4 when he won the youth world championship in 3-year-old geldings. Cooper also placed first in the youth 13 & under division for his class, achieving two wins in the space of little more than an hour.
But at the start of the class, Cooper just hoped he could steady his nerves and those of his horse, JBees Private Jet, aka “Diesel.”
“Setting up the horse and going in, I’m kinda nervous at first,” Cooper admitted. “In the end, I get over it. Diesel did pretty good. He got fidgety at first and then he got used to it. I told him ‘whoa,’ and he calmed down right away.”
By Self Employed and out of Sierras Black Miss by Sierras Black Gold, the big black gelding is owned by Cooper’s father, Travis Dobbs, also of Jonesboro, Arkansas, and trained by AQHA Professional Horseman Ted Turner, Jr., of Aubrey, Texas.
Although Cooper has shown at the Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show twice before, this was his first time at the Ford Youth World with Diesel and Cooper wasn’t sure what to expect.
“When we got on the rail, I thought I might get seventh or sixth,” Cooper said. “And then when it was down to the other boy and me, I was like, ‘I didn’t know I’d make it this far.’ When I heard (the other competitor) got second and I got first, I just couldn’t believe it.”
Since the Dobbs family has been training horses for more than 40 years – his grandmother is AQHA First Vice President Johne Dobbs – Cooper knew he wanted to show American Quarter Horses at an early age.
“When I was 8, that’s when I wanted to show Quarter Horses. Then I just got into it and thought, ‘I’d like to do halter.’ That’s my thing.”
Cooper Dobbs wins 2012 3-year-old geldings with JBees Private Jet. (Journal photo)