Acadamosby Award: The 'Oscar' Winner of Show Horses
Acadamosby Award: The 'Oscar' Winner of Show Horses
Where to beigin? Let's see, how about with three Superhorse titles at the AQHA World Championship Show? Or maybe 21 world championships? We're talking here about an American Quarter Horse that even when taking a step down was a reserve Superhorse and scored 16 reserve world championships.
He's like an Academy Award winner, the Oscar champion of show horses.
Speaking of which, to begin with, is how the bay gelding got his name.
Acadamosby Award was born on Academy Awards night in 1990, and he is by Mosby.
"So his barn name is 'Oscar," says AQHA Professional Horseman Charlie Cole. "Oscar is the horse whom we feel put us on the map."
The map pins in Texas. An AQHA judge, Charlie is a member of both the AQHA Show Council and AQHA Show Committee. He and his business partner, AQHA Professional Horseman Jason Martin, have trained horses for more than 25 years, first at Chino Hills, California, and now at their place at Pilot Point, in the horse-heavy country north of Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas.
Bred by Jamee L. Golan Bornstein of East Troy, Wisconsin, Acadamosby Award was foaled March 1, 1990. His sire, Mosby, was a halter stallion by Leon Bars, he by Three Bars (TB) and out of a daughter of King P-234. Acadamosby Award is one of four Register of Merit earners from eight foals out of Madcap Maddie, a Windum (TB) mare who traces on bottom to such foundation Quarter Horse breeding as Poco Bueno, Nowata Star and Jack McCue.
Oscar made the most of that blood. This is a horse who earned 795 points and 21 all-arounds in open competition, including halter, green working hunter, hunter hack, hunter under saddle, working hunter, jumping, barrel racing, pole bending, western riding, western pleasure, trail and pleasure driving. Ridden by Nancy Wilkerson-Ditty, Carrie Von Uhlit, and Vanessa M. and Chelsea P. Knox, Oscar won another 14 all-arounds and brought home another 700 points in youth competition.
“I remember the first time I saw him,” Charlie says. “I had been looking for a few months for a youth horse for Chelsea Knox, who was a 13-year-old student at the time. The first time I saw him was in August 1993 at the Youth World in Fort Worth. I walked into the ring during the first go of the hunter under saddle, I saw him and instantly I knew ohmygod, that’s a great horse! Right then, I knew he was the horse. He was not just beautiful and a really great mover, but he also had so much ring presence and so much expression, pretty much more than any horse I’d ever seen. He just had such a way about him, and I knew he was great. Jason came and watched him and we both agreed he was a special horse – the special horse.”
At the time, Oscar had been trained for hunter under saddle by Karen Oroski and her then-husband Rick Skelly.
"We tried him that night, in the middle of the night with Chelsea, but I didn’t get him bought,” Charlie continues. “Then we watched him show at the Congress and he won there, but we couldn’t get him bought. Then I went to the (AQHA) World Show, where he won everything he was in there, but we still couldn’t get him bought. We knew the price and the price was OK, but we just couldn’t quite get the deal closed. But I loved him. About the middle of December, when I was back home in California, Chelsea’s dad called me and said, ‘Hey, we gotta have a horse by Christmas.’ I said OK, flew out to Wisconsin and didn’t ever ride him – just did a prepurchase (exam), worked out a deal and bought him. And to this day, I think it was the best purchase we have ever made.”
They were on their way.
“When Jason and I got him in December ’93, we started working with him and we knew our goal was to keep him in hunter under saddle but to also add other events,” Charlie says. “He was such a smart and talented horse. Jason started working him on the trail and I started working him on driving. Jason showed him in his first trail class in January and he won the first time he ever showed in trail. And he won the first time I showed him in driving. It really never stopped: He won the first time we showed him in jumping … He was one of those horses that was so smart and so willing. Whatever you wanted to do, he always said, ‘Yes’ and he never said, ‘No.’ Oscar was so trainable. He always gave 110 percent.”
That’s what it takes to be the Superhorse. Acadamosby Award took the show industry’s highest honor in 1998, 2000 and 2001.
“Probably the proudest moment of our entire career was when Oscar won the Superhorse the first time, because that was our goal from Day 1 when we bought him,” Charlie declares. “It was a defining win, a huge accomplishment for us because we were so young and not that well-known at that time. Then to go on and win it three times, which no other horse has repeated, is what Oscar is most known for today.”
Charlie knows the horse better than anyone, except perhaps Jason.
“We have so many great stories about Oscar, we could write a book,” Charlie says. “One of our favorites is one that even I would be skeptical of if it hadn’t happened to me. We had a customer who had a psychic come out to talk to her horse that was kicking the trailer, and Jason and Chelsea decided to have her talk to Oscar.”
“Now this psychic was not told who Oscar was or anything, any detail about him,” he continues. “She talked to Oscar and he told her how happy he was, how he loved his trainers and his owners and, of course, he loved showing. But then Oscar told her the only thing he didn’t understand was why all the other horses got turned out every day and he never did. We kept Oscar in the first stall, where he was the only horse that could see the turnout arena and the other horses always walked by on their way out. We were shocked when she said that. But see, Oscar had bad feet and we had a horrible time keeping shoes on him, so we never turned him out. This was in early October 1998, just before the Congress and World Show, so we told her to tell Oscar that as soon as we got home from the World, we would turn him out as long as he didn’t run and pull his shoes off. We got home from that World Show, where Oscar won his first AQHA Superhorse title, and we started turning him out daily. He never pulled another shoe off and from then on lived in his pasture with a full set of shoes.”
For many years, Oscar shared his pasture with his old hauling mate, Conclusives Bar Cody, who died a couple years ago. But the old horse isn’t done yet.
“He’s still with us to this day,” Charlie says. “We’ve been Oscar’s only trainers since he was 3, and he still has a job. He lives in the pasture and I see him every day. Part of the year, he raises the weanlings after they’ve been weaned. He lives out in the pasture with those babies for six months or so. He loves the babies and takes care of them, kind of teaches them the ropes and how to get along. The other part of the year, he hangs out in the pasture with the broodmares. Once in a while, we ride him, just walk and trot, whatever – Jason’s niece will come and walk around on him. We don’t let him break a sweat. He’s retired, he’s really good, and he’s always been amazing.”
Judges, show people and fans all agree that Acadamosby Award was amazing.
“He had a real presence in the show pen,” Charlie says. “He was a true show horse. Sometimes in the warm-up pen he might look like dreary or weary or he’s not going to win, but when that horse would trot into the arena, he’d just come alive. He just commanded your attention when he entered the show pen. I’ve never seen another horse anything like him.”
But the horseman is quick to note that success in the show pen is only part of what makes Acadamosby Award so special and unique.
“Oscar is the kindest horse I’ve ever been around,” Charlie says. “He’s always been the happiest horse. He’s never pinned his ears. He likes everyone. He’s always had that same happy-go-lucky personality. He can be a little bit untrusting of someone he doesn’t know, a little wary of strangers, but without a doubt he would never harm anyone. He has a heart of gold.”
The horse also put gold (or maybe a little silver, anyway) in his peoples’ pockets.
“Jason and I always say the same thing: We really believe Oscar put us on the map,” Charlie says. “He got our names out there in the public. We showed him for 10 years, and the very first time we showed him and the very last time we showed him, we won on him. People always ask me who is my favorite horse, and I think they always expect me to say that it’s whatever horse we’re doing real well with at the time. But Oscar really is my all-time favorite horse. There’s just something about him that, when I think about him, I get excited – my heart jumps. We owe him a whole lot. I always try to give him a treat when I walk out in the pasture. I give him a peppermint and a pat. He loves that.”