Merial AQHA Region Two Championships: September 18

This gelding was a boon to Joellen Gonsoir's show career.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Boons Scat Cat and Joellen Gonsoir of Groten, South Dakota (Credit: Journal)

Janet Hansen doesn't have second thoughts about most of her decisions. That proved true this week at the 2015 Merial AQHA Region Two Championships when she watched a gelding she bred take a young lady to wins in reining and ranch riding in the youth division.

"I'm sure glad I didn't put you down," Janet said, rubbing Boons Scat Cat's forehead.

"He was by my favorite stallion and out of my favorite mare," the Fort Pierre, South Dakota, horsewoman said. "He was exactly what I wanted ... a dark brown with a little bit of white on his feet."

But "Rocky," who was by RTR Scat Cat and out of Little Bitta Boon by Boon Bar, was not destined to be Janet's forever horse.

"He got bit on the nose by a rattlesnake when he was a baby," she said. "He didn't like his wound to be doctored, so that's how he got his nickname."

When Rocky turned 3, Janet started showing him in some reining futurities.

"We did pretty well," she said. "Then, he started having some problems with catching his back leg."

So in January of his 4-year-old year, Janet hauled him to a vet near Sturgis, South Dakota.

"He was diagnosed with a torn meniscus, they couldn't do anything for him and didn't think he'd ever be sound again," Janet explained. "So, I was forced to decide whether to put him down or turn him out to see if it would heal."

Not quite a year later, young Joellen Gonsoir was without a horse because her show horse - a horse her family had bred and trained - was unsound. So, Janet offered Rocky to Joellen.

"I told her that I didn't know what Rocky could or couldn't do," Janet said. "But I told her she was welcome to come and get him and try him."

That was six years ago.

"When I first got him, I worked a lot with him on just horsemanship because he was still having problems from his injury," Joellen said. "I didn't want to push him too hard."

But this summer, Joellen, now 19, noticed a change in Rocky. 

"I think that injury has fused," she said. "So we started trying reining, and we've gotten into the ranch riding, which I really like."

The college sophomore is completely smitten with her four-legged partner.

"He's a goofball," she said. "I've got a video of him just nibbling all over on me. He got an injury last year and when we would doctor his leg, he would stand, zipping and unzipping my jacket as I held him. I can't help but love him."

And that's the way it should be.