Cowboy Up!

Jasper Patrick didn't come undone when his reins broke during his go in the boxing prelims.

The American Quarter Horse Journal

For a seasoned equine exhibitor, tack malfunctions are an undesirable yet expected part of showing. But mid-pattern at the AQHYA Built Ford Tough World Championship Show is the last place 12-year-old Jasper Patrick expected to break a rein stop on the bridle he rides in every day.

“I just thought, ‘This is really not happening,’ ” shares Jasper’s mom, Brandy, who was watching from the rail.

Jasper noticed his horse, Doctor J Stik, known fondly as “Bullwinkle,” backing at an angle after the final stop in their boxing pattern. When Jasper attempted to take up the slack in his romal reins, he discovered the issue: a broken button on his rein stop.

Conveniently, Bullwinkle turned his head back toward Jasper, as if to say, “Here, let me help you fix it.” Jasper reached down and made a quick fix to his reins well within the two-minute limit and without ever leaving the saddle.

“He just bent his head around and let him work on it,” says Jason Patrick, Jasper’s dad, of the 6-year-old gelding, who has the very recognizable Mike Major “Stik” brand in his name.

Bullwinkle, bred by AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder and AQHA Professional Horseman Mike Major of Bowie, Texas, is a 2011 sorrel gelding by Love A Little Devil and out of Doctor J Ellen by Doc’s J Jay.

“I reached down … looped the rein through the ring on the bit, and hoped it stayed on for a little while,” Jasper says. “I just was hoping they wouldn't buzz me off or something.”

As soon as she saw Jasper attempting to fix the rein, Brandy knew her son, who regularly dabbles in various crafts, including leather work, could handle the situation.

“He’s very self-sufficient,” she brags.

Then, like a seasoned professional, Jasper waved for his cow and finished his go.

Jasper’s close connection with his mount, developed over three years together, paid off for the proficient young rider. Knowing his rein was not securely attached, Jasper worked his cow without putting any pressure on his patch job.

“We just yelled at him, ‘Don't pull very hard,’ and it was good,” Jason says.

Jasper’s brother, Jayden, cheered him on from the sidelines.

“I was kinda freaked out because … I didn't know what they were gonna do. He was having a great reining run,” Jayden says.

Out of 84 entries in the prelims, Jasper finished seventh and advanced to the finals August 11. He placed fifth in the finals with a 430.

EDITOR"S NOTE: Jasper was featured on the inside back page of AQHA's Winter 2016 Ranch Horse Journal.