angle-left Trail Legend: Zippo LTD

Trail Legend: Zippo LTD

The bay gelding's show career spanned 16 years and 5,735.5 points in all divisions.

Zippo LTD's career spanned 16 years and 5,735.5 points in all divisions. (K.C. Montgomery photo)

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By Larri Jo Starkey for The American Quarter Horse Journal

Zippo LTD’s show career spanned 16 years and 5,735.5 points in all divisions from youth to open, making him the second highest point-earner in AQHA history.

Of those points, 464.5 came in youth trail, putting him eighth on the list of all-time youth trail point-earners.

“I think it’s a testament to everyone throughout his career, every trainer, every owner, that he was able to earn points at that level and keep going at the highest level,” said Julia Cheek of Austin, Texas, his last owner, after Zippo LTD died in June 2017. “I knew he was exceptional when I bought him, but I didn’t think you can ever fully understand how exceptional.”

The 1987 bay gelding was by Zippo Pine Bar and out of Ima Blister Bug by Ladybug’s Charge. He was bred by Ann Myers of Ashland, Ohio.

He earned his youth trail points with Julia and with Andrea Kail of Scottsdale, Arizona, now an AQHA Professional Horsewoman.

“He taught me patience and sportsmanship, more than anything,” Julia said. “I’d never ridden western before I got on his back. He taught me how to be a good competitor, how to go in and show your horse. He taught me so many life lessons and made me feel more valuable than any other teacher I’ve had.”

“LT” wasn’t a packer.

“He had his quirks,” she said. “You had to know what you were doing or he would take advantage of you. Not in a bad way, but he wanted to know that who was riding him was of equal worth to his skill level. I think what’s great about him is he always gave you the benefit of the doubt, and every time he showed, he gave his all. He didn’t have a bad day.”

Julia bought LT in 2000 from Andrea, who was 8 when she began her partnership with LT.

“He was really fun to show,” Andrea said. “It was easy. You either had a good day or a great day.”

LT earned his honors at the highest levels, winning three world championships and 10 reserve world championships. He took Julia from youth to amateur competition, and they were the reserve all-around amateur team in 2005.

He earned his Superior in open and youth trail in 1995, and his Superior in amateur trail in 1996. In all, LT earned 19 Superiors.

He routinely qualified for the AQHA World Championship Show and finished in the top 10. He earned 816.5 points in open trail and was reserve world champion in senior trail in 2001 and 2004.

“He taught me patience and sportsmanship, more than anything,” Julia said. “I’d never ridden western before I got on his back. He taught me how to be a good competitor, how to go in and show your horse. He taught me so many life lessons and made me feel more valuable than any other teacher I’ve had.”

In 2006, the year LT was officially retired, he was a finalist in senior trail.