Queen Ov Hearts Wins 2023 Pleasure Versatility Challenge

Queen Ov Hearts Wins 2023 Pleasure Versatility Challenge

Queen Ov Hearts and AQHA Professional Horseman Gil Galyean win the 2023 Pleasure Versatility Challenge, presented by Super Sires.

Gil Galyean and Queen Ov Hearts

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By Rachel Griffin

Queen Ov Hearts reigned supreme in the 2023 $50,000 Pleasure Versatility Challenge, presented by Super Sires. AQHA Professional Horseman Gil Galyean of Purcell, Oklahoma, piloted the 2020 bay mare to the win. Queen Ov Hearts is by Machine Made and out of HP Only The Best by RL Best Of Sudden. The mare is owned by Cory Seebach and Candice Hall.

“It’s fantastic to win; I think I’ve shown in the PVC every year, but the best I’ve done before now was third,” Gil said. “It’s a challenge for me – it’s a challenge for everyone – because the horses are only 3 and haven’t shown (lead changes and over poles) before.”  

Horses competing during the Pleasure Versatility Challenge are shown sequentially in three classes in the Jim Norick Arena: a newly revised pattern class, sponsored by Cimarron Trailers, consisting of a blending of simplified trail and western riding maneuvers, which counts 40 percent; a western pleasure class, sponsored by The Equine Chronicle, which counts 40 percent; and a conformation class, sponsored by the World Conformation Horse Association, which counts 20 percent. 

Horses cannot have been shown astride in any western riding, trail or in any similar Pleasure Versatility Challenge event prior to the 2023 Nutrena AQHA World Championship Show official entry deadline of September 15. As of the official entry deadline and thereafter, horses may be shown without restriction at any competition without forfeiting Pleasure Versatility Challenge eligibility. There remains no eligibility restrictions for the western pleasure or conformation classes.

In 2022, Gil and Queen Ov Hearts claimed the world championship in 2-year-old western pleasure. They began adding lead changes to the mare’s repertoire over the summer. 

“We feel like she’s an exceptional pleasure horse, and she took to the lead changes pretty well for the short amount of time she’s had,” Gil said. “I maybe didn’t plus over the poles, but we were safe.” 

Though he credits his whole team for the PVC win, Gil dedicated his victory to the late AQHA Professional Horseman Bruce Walquist, who passed away in May 2023.  

“Bruce always helped me with my lead changes and what little pole work I did,” Gil said. “He was a great friend and always helped me a lot over the years; I want to dedicate this win to his memory.” 

Second place went to Snapp Out Of It and AQHA Professional Horseman Bruce Vickery and third place went to Blue Suede Shoos and AQHA Professional Horsewoman Deanna Searles.

Previous winners were:
2018    KM Flat Out The Best, shown by Deanna Searles
2019    Snap It Send It, shown by Blake Weis
2020    Hot Lopin Lily, shown by Blake Weis
2021    Wellthereyougo shown by Robert King
2022    RV Not For Hire shown by Blake Weis

Blue Ribbon Custom Tack awarded winners with silver show equipment and, as a special incentive, presented a custom work saddle to the contestant finishing in 11th place; Best Luken Valentine and AQHA Professional Horseman Coltin Grey Crystal earned this award. In addition to these class awards, the reserve winner in the western pleasure class received a Chuck Letchworth Bits & Spurs show bit. The overall champion received a custom-made spurs provided by Holly Spagnola Design.