Trail Legend: Kat Man Shine

Trail Legend: Kat Man Shine

The world champion found his shine in trail.

Kat Man Shine built a friendship along with his trail accomplishments. (Journal photo)

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By Alexis Shanes for The American Quarter Horse Journal

Horses tend to bring people together, and Kat Man Shine was no exception.

In 2007, Teresa Kohman of Syracuse, Kansas, bought “Shine” from Joanne Garnett of Lincoln, Nebraska, and the transaction was the start of a years-long friendship.

Although talented, the 1992 sorrel gelding by Kat Man Zip out of Zippos Brickette by Zippos Sunny, bred by Tom and Deb Crabtree of Franktown, Colorado, was known to spook and run off with people, Teresa says.

Fortunately, Joanne, who spent countless hours building Shine’s confidence in scary situations — sometimes bribing him with peppermints — was willing to help.

“[Teresa] called me at 1 a.m. when she was at Tulsa,” Joanne says. “She was trying to practice trail and she couldn’t get [Shine] through it. She asked me if I would get up to come help her.”

From that point on, the two were “best friends,” Joanne says.

“[Joanne] kind of took me under her wing,” Teresa says. “Back then, I was a novice. I was overwhelmed.”

Teresa and Joanne were just two of the 16 riders Shine carried to wins during his 18-year show career. He garnered 1,187.5 points in open trail alone, along with 320.5 open western riding points.

All told, the gelding earned more than $15,000 at AQHA World Shows and more than $13,500 in National Snaffle Bit Association competition. He had double superiors in both amateur and youth trail, as well as superiors in open trail and western riding, amateur horsemanship, and youth western riding and western pleasure, and he was AQHA’s high-point open trail horse in 2010 and was reserve in 2011.

Despite his idiosyncrasies, including his aversion to bright-colored trail poles, Shine’s try in the show pen was undeniable, Joanne says.

“He was a big, long horse, but he could get through [any obstacle], no matter how small it was,” she says. “I always found I could count on him.”

The gelding’s personality challenged Teresa’s riding ability, but as she progressed, her mount also improved, she says.

“I could put him in the worst spots, and somehow, he would plus it, because he’d make it look like it was great,” Teresa says. “It was just effortless.”

Still strong at age 18, Shine won senior trail at the 2010 AQHA World Championship Show with Bruce Vickery aboard. The duo marked a 239, setting a record that was unchallenged until 2014.

 The win was a surprise to Teresa, who says she never imagined she would own or ride a world champion Quarter Horse.

“When he won the world show in the open, I really did not expect it,” she says. “I don’t think I really realized what he had done until later, like a year later.”

The gold trophy brought Shine’s story full circle: When the gelding made his World Show debut in 1997, he finished fourth in junior trail, also with Bruce aboard.

Joanne piloted Shine to a reserve world championship in amateur western riding at the 2006 World Show shortly before she sold him.

“It was just huge,” Joanne says. “Nobody thought I could get him shown [at the World Show] because he was always so scared of that pen.”

With Teresa, Shine was reserve in trail at the 2011 Adequan Select World Championship Show. He also earned top-10 trail finishes at the AQHYA World Championship Show in 2002 and 2004. In 2011, at his final World Show appearance, Shine was eighth in senior western riding with AQHA Professional Horseman Bradley Ost.

Teresa continued showing Shine until July 2012. When she learned the gelding had severe arthritis, she took him to her Kansas home for retirement.

“He had a little routine every day,” Teresa says. “He’d go out and he’d buck around. We live on a dairy, and he’d chase the dairy cows away.”

The duo finished fourth in year-end amateur trail standings with only six months of showing, a testament to the gelding’s talent and longevity, she adds.

Shine died in August 2016, but he etched his name in trail horse history.

“He was a lot of fun to have around,” Teresa says. “I miss him every day.”