A New World
A New World
By Ranch Horse Journal editor Andrea Caudill
The sorrel mare’s coat was sparkling like diamonds as her trainer, Mike Miller, guided her around the sunny outdoor trail course at the Zoetis AQHA Versatility Ranch Horse World Championships. She loped logs, dragged a dummy and stood quietly as her trainer operated the wire gate.
Competing in Versatility Ranch Horse is fairly new for Miss N My Diamond, but her partnership with Mike is familiar. The 9-year-old mare has been in his barn for the past five years, where he trained her for reined cow horse competition. She added VRH in the past year.
“We call her ‘Macy,’” Mike says. “We rope on her, we start colts off her, we do everything on her. She’s just a really fun horse to ride, and she gives you everything she’s got, all the time. She tries really hard. She’s a strong, powerful mare and a wicked fence horse. I just really like her because she tries so hard, she’s been fun to have in the barn.”
The honest-trying mare competed successfully in reined cow horse with Mike, as well as high school reined cow horse with her previous owner. Jeffrey Simpson of Kirkland, Arizona, bought the mare, and requested adding VRH to her resume. The 9-year-old mare is by Cats Gotta Diamond and out of the Zan Parr Arrow mare Miss Amber Arrow.
“She took to it really good,” Mike remembers. When she was specializing, Macy would get a little hot in the reining, but the opportunity for additional work has helped her quiet down, and helped improve the reining and cow work.
“She’s a really nice mare,” he says. “You can do anything on her.”
Mike is based in Collinston, Utah, where he focuses on training reined cow horses, but he was pleased with the opportunity to train her further.
“This ranch stuff fits right into what we do at home,” he says. “It’s fun, and I get to do more training and ride horses more.”
He is also showing the palomino mare Miss Norma Jean Prom (Ricochets Sue-Miss Lena Play Prom by Little Pistol Badge) for Simpson in the junior division.
His wife, Morgan, is showing their own horse, Always In Hydrive, in the amateur classes. They bought the gelding at the Snaffle Bit Futurity Sale in 2010, and his name – “33” – is a nod to his hip number from that sale.
“We were calling him ‘that 33 colt’ at the sale, and that just kinda stuck,” Mike says with a laugh.
It’s likely that Versatility will be sticking with the Millers, too.
“I grew up working for different farmers and ranchers, helping move cattle, branding and sorting cattle, that sort of thing,” Mike says. “I got put on a horse when I was 2 days old, and my folks always say they couldn’t get me off a horse ever since. I really feel that way – I just love being on a horse. So any horse thing I can do is just more fun for me.”
AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHAnews on Twitter and visit www.aqha.com/news.