Mary Brown of Kelseyville, California, and Zippos Petite Prince win the 2013 western riding youth world championship.
by Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse Journal
With a 236, Mary Hannah Brown of Kelseyville, California, and Zippos Petite Prince came awful close to some Jim Norick Arena western riding record-setting scores. Although it didn’t beat the record 241 (set by Ali Papendick and Harley De Zip at the 2008 Ford Youth World) it was good enough to win the 2013 youth world championship in the class on August 3.
It was the pair’s first world championship together and as individuals – although the two came close at last year’s Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show, where they set the highest score in the prelims and ended up with the reserve in the finals.
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“I was pretty nervous (coming into the class today) because we had a little bit of a rough ride last year,” Mary told The American Quarter Horse Journal. “But he could not have been any better once I got in there. We won the prelims and then in the finals, he spooked a little at something. He was much better this year.
“We are more of a team now; last year, was my first year with him,” she added. “I read him better for when he feels really good or when I feel like it’s not going so well.”
A 2000 gelding by Petite Lord and out of Zippo King Bars by Zippo Pine Bar, Zippos Petite Prince, aka “Winston,” has been knocking at the door of a western riding world championship at an AQHA world show for several years now. He has several times made the finals and finished in the top 10.
Owned by Carol Thomsen of Nicolaus, California, Mary has leased the gelding for two years now. She rides and trains with her aunt, AQHA Professional Horseman Nancy Ann Alto-Renfro of Finley, California.
“I started going to school (at Baylor University in Waco, Texas) last year, so I didn’t get to ride him as much … I just got to take him to the shows,” she said. “But I’ve still felt a lot better this year as compared to last year because I know him better, and we are much more of a team.”
Mary is studying communications – although she might switch to nursing – at Baylor where she is also on the school’s National Collegiate Equestrian Association varsity equestrian team.
“I love (NCEA competition) so much,” she says. “It’s definitely a challenge, and it’s much different than this riding. I love it; I couldn’t be happier there.
“You definitely aren’t on this type of horse,” she adds, pointing to the Ford Youth World horses warming up for horsemanship prelims in the Superbarn makeup pen. “(NCEA competition horses) are challenging horses and you have to actually ride them every step. If you mess up, they are going to mess up; they don’t cut you a break at all.”
She’s looking forward to heading back to her team competition, although she hopes to get to show AQHYA a little more, too. Regardless, she says, “I’ll come back as a strong amateur.”
She loves the western riding class: “I like how it flows, and when it’s done pretty, it’s nice and easy to get a pretty pattern and the lead changes. Especially on (Winston), it’s hard not to like it because he’s so good at it.”
In addition to her aunt and mother, Mary says she has a lot of people back home rooting her on, and Winston’s owner, Carol, is one of them.
“I just couldn’t be happier with him, especially after last year,” she added. “To come back and be much stronger, he gave it the best he could and I am so happy with him.”