Top Horse-Show Moments of 2014
Relive 10 of the American Quarter Horse show industry’s landmark moments.
By Tara Matsler | December 31, 2014
Say you compare 2014 to its predecessor, 2013. Where 2013 was marked by wildfires, floods, tornadoes and a historic blizzard, this year was much more tame and, for the most part, kind to American Quarter Horses and their owners.
So while perseverance was the name of the game for 2013, 2014 was all about the American Quarter Horse proving that it is indeed the world’s most popular breed.
In August, American Quarter Horses took center-stage in Normandy, France, during the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014, sweeping the medals in reining, an international crowd-favorite sport. Just a month before that, youth riders from 16 countries flocked to Bryan-College Station, Texas, for the American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup, a bi-annual affair that pitted international riders mounted on unfamiliar horses. To put a feather in the cap of international feats was Lincoln Figueiredo, who became the first South American competitor to win an AQHA amateur world championship.
These are 10 of the most inspiring moments from the 2014 American Quarter Horse show industry.
- Ranch horses won more than ever before thanks to the multitude of Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenges. When the Ranching Heritage Challenges launched in 2013, the program listed only three events. This year’s expanded series of seven challenges scattered across the western United States kicked off January 7 at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo in Texas with $10,000 in added money. The challenge at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo in March offered another $20,000 and other big paydays came in August at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo; September at the Tri-State Fair in Amarillo; September at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity in Reno, Nevada; October at the Northern International Livestock Exposition in Billings, Montana; and November at the Stock Horse of Texas World Show in Abilene, Texas.
- Twothousand Model Te carried the Henard sisters to amateur and youth equitation over fences world championships. The Henard family of Kingsport, Tennessee, better clear off some mantel space for the horde of trophies their 2000 bay gelding brought home in 2014. At the Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show in August, Billie Henard and Twothousand Model Te snatched the equitation over fences and jumping world titles. Then in November, Billie’s older sister, Miller, grabbed gold in amateur equitation over fences at the AQHA World Show. In other words, out of the three equitation over fences world titles awarded in 2014 (youth, amateur and Select), Twohthousand Model Te and the Miller family claimed two. Talk about a talented family!
- American Quarter Horses swept the medals at the World Equestrian Games. Spooks Gotta Whiz, Custom Cash Advance and Yellow Jersey displayed their athletic prowess on the world stage of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy, France. The American Quarter Horse stallions finished gold, silver and bronze and were ridden by Shawn Flarida, Andrea Fappani and Mandy McCutcheon, respectively, all riders representing Team USA.
- The international future of AQHA flocked to Bryan-College Station, Texas, for the American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup and Bank of America Youth Excellence Seminar. Sixteen countries were represented at the Youth World Cup, with Team USA winning gold in a hard-fought battle, narrowly edging out Team Germany (silver) and Team Australia (bronze). Aside from riding competition, which spanned disciplines from hunt seat equitation to cutting, the youth also participated in the Youth Excellence Seminar, a leadership conference, where the first international youth directors were elected – Jim Stors of Luxembourg and Kaelan Marshall of Australia.
- Linda Coakley and Patsys Royal Secret defended their Farnam AQHA Select All-Around Amateur title. While $10,000 checks don’t grow on trees, Coakley and her 2000 brown gelding have put a lot of effort in to make the feat look like old hat. At the 2014 Adequan Select World Championship Show, they scored reserve world championships in showmanship, hunt seat equitation and horsemanship. It’s not about the title or the money, though, Coakley said, it’s about the journey that got them there.
- Lincoln Figueiredo of Brazil became the first South American to win an AQHA amateur world championship. In fact, he won not just one gold trophy at the 2014 AQHA World Championship Show, but two! His first feat came in amateur tie-down roping with Mr Fritz Wood, then the pair returned in amateur heeling for another world championship. Those finishes boosted Figueiredo and his 2008 buckskin stallion to the Farnam Reserve All-Around Amateur title, good for $5,000, plus $500 in Farnam product and a silver bowl.
- Team Wrangler member C.R. Bradley became the first owner-breeder-exhibitor to win the Farnam AQHA Superhorse Award. His Twisters Enola Rey earned the junior tie-down roping world championship and a reserve title in junior heeling to secure the $25,000 Superhorse check, plus $2,000 in Farnam product, a WeatherBeeta blanket and an original Lisa Perry bronze. Bradley, an AQHA Professional Horseman, was part of the team that piloted Play Dual Rey to the 2010 Farnam Superhorse title. The 2010 Superhorse, a son of Dual Rey, convinced Bradley that Dual Rey was a sire of very versatile, talented athletes. And that proved true in Twisters Enola Rey. By Dual Rey and out of famed tie-down roping mare Twisters Enola Gay (aka “Roanie”), Twisters Enola Rey clearly is living proof of a magic cross.
- AQHA was well represented at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Round 5 in Las Vegas was particularly lucrative for several AQHA Professional Horsemen. Charlie Cole and Jason Martin’s Kellies Chick, aka “Skye,” won the Round 5 title with Michele McLeod in 13.66 seconds, the fastest time ran at the 2014 WNFR. The month prior, Skye finished third in senior barrel racing at the AQHA World Show. On the roughstock side of things, Bottle Rocket, a bull owned by Mike Corey and AQHA Professional Horsemen Tom and Leslie Lange’s Corey & Lange Rodeo bucked bull rider Joe Frost to the Round 5 win. When the dust had settled at the Thomas & Mack Center, AQHA members had swept the pro-rodeo timed event world championships: Trevor Brazile, all-around and steer roping; Luke Branquinho, steer wrestling; Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill, team roping; Tuf Cooper, tie-down roping; Fallon Taylor, barrel racing.
- Ima Regal Choice was named the 51st horse in the history of AQHA to become an open Supreme Champion. After making 12 starts on the racetrack, including three first-place finishes, the 2007 sorrel stallion headed to the show pen, where he has earned points in performance halter stallions, team roping-heading and jumping. Open Supreme Champions don’t grow on trees: The title requires a horse to have raced and achieved a speed index of at least 90 twice. The horse must also earn at least 40 points in halter and performance classes at five or more AQHA shows, including two grand champion titles.
- Invitation Only became the new all-time leading sire. Since 1996, American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame stallion Zippo Pine Bar held the No. 1 spot as the all-time leading sire by points earned. But on October 14 that all changed when Invitation Only’s get amassed 77,064 points, edging out Zippo Pine Bar with 77,061.5 points earned by his offspring. Invitation Only gained the No. 2 spot in the all-time leading sire standings in 2011.
There you have it, the 10 most inspiring moments from the American Quarter Horse show industry in 2014.
What should make horse-show enthusiasts all the more enthused is the prospect of what’s on the horizon for 2015 as the American Quarter Horse Association celebrates its 75th anniversary. Join in the festivities March 6-9 at the 2015 AQHA Convention in Fort Worth, Texas. We’ll announce more celebrations throughout the year, so stay tuned to www.aqha.com/showing, your complete source for American Quarter Horse competition, brought to you by The American Quarter Horse Journal.