by Jody ReynoldsThe American Quarter Horse Journal
For Samantha Roper and Art Of The Deal, it was finally their day. (Journal photo)
Within Art Of The Deal’s first few steps into the amateur hunter hack ring November 7, Samantha Roper thought this could be their night.
“I came in, and right off the gate, he stayed really soft at the trot, so I knew he was in a good frame of mind,” Samantha said. “Then I picked up my canter and got up to the speed I thought I needed to get down the line comfortably.”
She cleared two jumps beautifully.
“I got a little nervous, because I didn’t know if he shook his head or not,” she recalled. “But everyone said it looked good.”
All that was left to do was nail the rail work portion of the class.
“Usually rail work is one of his strengths,” Samantha said of her dad, Tim Roper’s, gelding. “He’s really soft in his face, so he gets his neck and head down really easy for me. I think that’s one of his favorite parts.”
Placing first on four judges cards, Samantha and her huge brown gelding took their first AQHA world championship as a duo.
“This is our first world championship together,” she beamed. “We bought him in the fall of his 5-year-old year, and he’s 10 now. It’s been a bumpy road, but it finally all came together, so that was exciting.”
She’s glad he finally got his big moment.
“He always does something to take him out of being the big winner, the big star,” she laughed. “So I’m glad that finally today he decided it was his turn to win. He’s got great breeding and a very solid training foundation. Everyone who’s ever worked with him has helped him achieve.”
Since 2007, Art Of The Deal has always placed in the top 10 at the World Show in at least one class. In 2007 and 2008, he received reserve world championships.
Samantha tipped her cap to her 37 competitors in the amateur hunter hack.
“They’re really solid competitors,” she said. “It seems like we show together all year. They’re all phenomenal. Honestly, anyone could win on any given day, so I feel really blessed that today was finally my day.”