A Military Flair

Capt. Leanne Karoles of the Canadian Army brings a military flair to AQHA showing with Remember Im Awesome.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Capt. Leanne Karoles and Remember Im Awesome

Capt. Leanne Karoles of Kingston, Ontario, and Remember Im Awesome competed at the 2015 Nutrena East AQHA Level 1 Championship Show. (Credit: Journal)

Editor’s Note: Each month, the Journal brings you another member of the AQHA family who loves to compete and spend time with their American Quarter Horse. This month, we’d like to introduce you to Capt. Leanne Karoles, a logistics officer in the Canadian Army, whom we met at the 2015 Nutrena East AQHA Level 1 Championship Show.


Capt. Leanne Karoles
Hometown: Kingston, Ontario
Occupation: Logistics officer (supply) in the Canadian Army
Her equine obsessions: showmanship, trail and hunter under saddle
Her partner in crime: Remember Im Awesome aka “Lacy”

When Capt. Leanne Karoles bred her mare, HF Sweet Te, she needed a horse to ride – temporarily! – while her new Lazy Loper filly grew up.

“So (Remember Im Awesome) came at a good price, and she’s very pretty and talented,” Leanne says. “I said OK, no problem. I won’t fall in love with her. We’ll just have her for two years and that’s it.”

Love came anyway.

“This mare has far exceeded any expectation I ever dreamed of,” Leanne says. “She has brought me so far in leaps and bounds that I just can’t fathom selling her. If it wasn’t for her and for my coach, Andrew Dewar, I wouldn’t be here at the (2015 Nutrena East AQHA Level 1 Championship Show in October 2015.)”

Just arriving at the Nutrena East was an effort. As a captain in the Canadian Army, Leanne had to request leave time – “It’s always service before self,” she says – and then drive 13 hours to Lexington, Virginia. The experience was worthwhile, Leanne says, when she heard her name called as she rode down the center line her first class, hunter under saddle.

“I heard the other exhibitors’ names being called, and when I trotted in, I sat so tall in my saddle, and my head was up, and I was so proud,” she said. “That was the whole highlight of that class was just going through that center, and it was amazing.”

Remember Im Awesome is a 2008 sorrel mare by CC Remember Me and out of Naturally Awesome by An Awesome Mister. She was bred by Mark Snowden of Port Dover, Ontario.

Leanne is planning – service permitting – to be at the 2016 Nutrena East in Raleigh, North Carolina, with Lacy.

I bought a little grade chestnut Quarter Horse when I was 14 or 15. His name was “Tito.” I actually named him after the ruler of Bosnia in the ‘80s. I heard his name on CBC radio, which my mom was listening to, and the announcers were saying Tito was really ruling with an iron fist and I said, “Yeah, well, my horse rules the pasture with an iron fist.”

I was doing well in open shows on my first registered Quarter Horse, and then I tried to do a Quarter Horse show, and it was a disaster. I used a double bridle, his mane was really long, everything you’re not supposed to do. A trainer by the name of Simone Posh in Edmonton, Alberta, said, “Would you like some help?” I said, “I’m sorry, I can’t afford you.” She said, “Oh, no, I’ll do it for free.” Off with the mane, single bridle, borrowed her saddle, it was all good.

I was in grade 12, doing a typing class on a metal IBM typewriter. Two young officers from 418 air reserve squadron in Edmonton were looking for clerks to join the reserves. Duty hours were Wednesday nights and Sundays. They said, “We’ll pay you well, and there are opportunities to go to Germany for six months.” Whoa! Sign me up. I joined April 1, 1987.

I’ve always enjoyed my time in the military. Everything has its good and bad, but I enjoy being in the military. My chain of command and my military peers have been really strong supporters for me to come to the show. I’m very grateful and lucky.

I used to hate showmanship but now that I have a horse that can do it, I really, really enjoy it. What I like about showmanship is it’s a lot like military drill. You do each maneuver separately, so you do the first maneuver, pause-2-3, then your next maneuver, pause-2-3. My showmanship coach, Pat Chamberlain, used to say, “You’re making your moves like you’re doing military drill.” And I said, “Well, 20-plus years, what are you going to do?” My moves are much softer now, but we still incorporate the idea of doing the first maneuver then pause-2-3.

For a horse that wasn’t supposed to hang around too long, Lacy will be hanging around indefinitely.