Bill Bolinger is not one for sticking to the status quo. The former rough-stock rodeo cowboy from Gainesville, Texas, who once jumped bareback onto his halter horse and rode him out of the arena, has raised and shown Paints since 1988. Bolinger prides himself on the unique relationships he fosters with the animals on his ranch, which includes more than just horses. He has raised bison alongside his Paints for the past 21 years.
The pride of his ranch and heart, however, is “Sweetness,” a 2021 palomino overo mare formally named Call Me Sweetness.
“Sweetness’ mom didn’t give her enough milk, so she’s basically an orphan [because] she has been on supplement her whole life,” Bolinger explained. “She got her name at day two because she has just been the sweetest thing in the world since she was a brand-new baby—a white spectacle.”
Previously, Bolinger showed Sweetness’ sire, Bound And Determined, and he desired to show the nearly all-white filly in halter classes, too. He tried to expand his own education in the world of conformation competition to present Sweetness to the best of his ability.
“I was able to learn and get cues from other people, and some people were kind enough to help us out and share some of their secrets, but for the most part I did [trained her] all myself,” he said. “This is my last horse show, so this is kind of like [Sweetness and her sire’s] last hurrah.”
Bolinger’s been a staple in classes throughout the 2023 APHA/WCHA Halter Million. On September 28, Sweetness earned the bronze champion title in Intermediate 2-Year-Old Mares with Clay Fuller. Bolinger was fourth in the same with his other horse, The Rear View, a 2021 bay roan mare.
“For a farm-raised Kansas kid, to do what I have tried to do, I’m proud,” he said.
[Reprinting all or part of this news release is permitted, so long as credit is given to the Paint Horse Journal and a link provided back to apha.com.]
The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest international equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded in 1962. APHA promotes, preserves and provides meaningful experiences with Paint Horses.