It's Good To Be Back

Ed Merrell, 77, is back to showing halter horses after a 40-year absence.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

Ed Merrell, 77, won the amateur halter champion of champions with Leslie Woolley's homebred Kisses To The Crowd. (Journal photo)

Forty years after leaving the American Quarter Horse industry, Ed Merrell is back. The former AQHA director from Langley, British Columbia, showed his 2-year-old gelding, Heza Alluring Agent, to the win in amateur 2-year-old geldings at the 2018 AQHA West Level 1 Championships. Then, he borrowed Leslie Woolley’s homebred Kisses To The Crowd to not only win her aged mare class, but to walk away with the amateur halter champion of champions trophy.

All this just nine days after having surgery for Stage 3 bladder cancer.

“I’m not doing this against doctor’s orders,” says Ed, 77, “because I didn’t tell my doctor that I was planning to do this. At my age, I’ve found it’s better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.”

Leslie Woolley showed Heza Alluring Agent in the amateur halter champion of champions class for owner Ed Merrell, as he had qualified two horses to the class. (Journal photo)

Heza Alluring Agent is by Heza Secret Agent and out of Beautiful Beautiful by Unbelieveable, and was bred by Kim Anding of Mansfield, Texas. The sorrel gelding was the open world champion weanling gelding at the 2016 Lucas Oil AQHA World Championship Show. His sire, Heza Secret Agent, was the 2010 open reserve world champion yearling stallion, 2011 open reserve world champion 2-year-old stallion and the 2012 open world champion 3-year-old stallion. Heza Alluring Agent’s dam, Beautiful Beautiful, was the 2013 Select reserve world champion 2-year-old mare and has several top-10 halter placings.

But the mare whom Ed won the amateur halter champion of champions with has a story of her own. The 4-year-old gray diva, who is by Sirprizerized and is out of And So Much More by Emazing, has an open halter Superior and her owner/breeder, Leslie Woolley, is working on getting the mare’s amateur halter Superior.

But there’s more.

“We’ve been riding her for six months,” Leslie brags, “and who would have guessed that after 35 years, that I would have the opportunity to participate in a Level 1 Championships in Rookie hunter under saddle on her? I had a ball. She is such a wonderful horse; she has the mind of an angel. I raised her. It has been a dream come true. I had her great-grandmother, who raised lots and lots of halter world champions and was a riding mare. It’s kind of cool to continue that.”

Kisses To The Crowd is by Sirprizerized, who was the 2010 amateur reserve world champion 3-year-old stallion, and the 2011 open and amateur reserve world champion aged stallion. His 100 foals have earned 3,486.5 points, 10 world championships and seven reserve world championships. The great-granddam that Leslie is referring to is St High Society, the dam of Emazing. St High Society produced 12 foals that earned a total of 1,437.5 points, one world championship and seven reserve world championships.

“I was tickled pink to watch Ed show (Kisses To The Crowd) today,” Leslie says. “It was as much a thrill for me as it was for him.”