Model Quarter Horses

Many people choose to include their horses in special-day photographs, and when you hear about the bond they share, you’ll understand why.

When your horse is an important part of your world, it only makes sense to include him when commemorating all your special moments.

Horse crazy: It’s the term used to describe that pony-loving child, or the adult who never grew out of her riding “phase.” If you’re reading this blog, you probably join us at AQHA in embracing the title.

Horses have a way of digging their way into our hearts to the point that they become a part of who we are. Because of this unique connection, many of us horse-crazy adults cannot imagine commemorating our special days (wedding, graduation, birth announcement, etc.) without including our four-legged partners.

Where most see a majestic photo of man and beast posing together, I find myself wanting to know more about each relationship. So, after perusing these posts made on AQHA’s Facebook page, II gathered some of my favorites and was definitely not disappointed. Find more great “model horse” stories and photos in the June issue of America’s Horse, the exclusive AQHA members magazine. Join AQHA now so you’ll start receiving this great member benefit, as well as other money-saving benefits!

Cyndi Murphy-Lane and Cant Copy This, aka “Frog”

Frog is definitely one in a million. At 4 years old, he developed a severe infection and had to undergo a risky surgery to remove part of his cecum. After the surgery, veterinarians diagnosed Frog with a rare autoimmune disease, gave him a 5 percent chance for survival and said he would never be able to compete again. This stark prognosis was no match for Frog’s undeniable heart.

One year later, Frog won the Penn-Ohio Jr. Horse Barrel Racing Championship and has since won an AQHA Trail Challenge two years in a row.

When Cyndi found the man she was going to marry, she knew her special day had to include Frog. Frog happily accepted the position of “flower pony” for the wedding and was ridden down the aisle by Cyndi’s niece.

Unfortunately, Frog’s disease has recently flared up, resulting in joint inflammation and pain, ending his racing career. Cyndi knows Frog is living on borrowed time, but she will help him fight until the very end and make as many memories as possible along the way.

Jessica Mae Wachs and Terraplaceo Bonanza, aka “Callie”

When Jessica was 6 years old, her grandfather fully embraced and supported her love for horses and began taking her to and from the lesson barn every chance he got. Three years later, he decided it was time for Jessica to have a horse of her own and surprised her with Terraplaceo Bonanza. It was a perfect partnership at first sight.

With the recent passing of her grandfather, Jessica and “Callie’s” relationship has grown stronger than ever. Jessica’s grandfather watched her grow up and helped her become the woman she is today. Jessica dedicates the first ride of the season to his memory and hopes to honor him every time she sits in the saddle.

After 10 years of friendship, therapy, gallops through the fields and countless memories, Callie has become more than just a horse. She is an earthly connection to the man who nurtured Jessica’s love for horses from the start.

Courtlynn Czerwonka and “Powder”

On April 23, 2012, Courlynn and her grandmother were in the market for a gentle pony, but little did they know Courtlynn would fall in love with a Quarter Horse named “Powder” in desperate need of some TLC.

Powder was nothing but skin and bones and extremely cautious of humans. Courtlynn’s grandmother was not sold on him, but Courtlynn begged and begged until Powder became hers.

Dedication, sweat and tears went into rehabilitating Powder and gaining his trust, but it has been more than worth it. Courtlynn wanted her last year as a youth exhibitor to be big, so she worked hard and decided to show at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. As if out of a movie, they won first in halter, reserve champion in showmanship and third in their English class.

Working with an animal that has been previously abused is challenging and not for the faint of heart, but should you choose to rise to the occasion, you will be rewarded with a friend and partner of a lifetime.

Lindsey Rose Leach & Yes Sir Im Zipped, aka “Ponyboy”

At age 15, Lindsey’s family got Yes Sir Im Zipped, who was 2, and they quickly began competing in western pleasure, horsemanship, trail and some versatility classes. Four years later, tragedy struck.

“Ponyboy” suffered partial paralysis on his right side caused by a rare condition called temporohyoid ostetharpathy and had to undergo a risky surgery with no promises that he would ever be able to compete or even be ridden again. His surgery went well, but during recovery he a incurred mild stress founder. Nobody knew if he had the strength to pull through, but Ponyboy fought and made a full recovery.

Lindsey and Ponyboy have become the team to beat in Ohio’s gymkhana games, and the bond they share has become something that cannot be put into words. Ponyboy has helped Lindsey through her parents’ divorce, freshman year of college and her dad’s sudden heart attack. He has given her a mane to soak up the tears and the strength to keep moving forward, always.

Due to Ponyboy’s big heart, Lindsey has used him as a lesson horse. He is excelling at his new job of instilling confidence in the hearts and minds of every kid who sits on his back.