APHA’s ranch horse classes have exploded in popularity, and with the creation of four separate classes within the ranch horse division, APHA is excited to honor those Paints that demonstrate excellence and versatility across the board with the inaugural High-Point Ranch Horse awards.
To be eligible for the high-point awards, exhibitors had to earn at least 1 point in each of APHA’s four ranch horse events: ranch trail, ranch pleasure, ranch reining and ranch cow work. Open points were based on the horse, while Amateur, Novice Amateur and Youth points were based on each horse-and rider-combination. Each high-point award winner will be awarded a ranch horse trophy saddle provided by Elite Custom Saddles.
2015 champions are:
Open & Amateur High-Point Ranch Horse Champion: Jacki Jo Parks & Smart Lil Smokin Gun
This duo proved to be double trouble, taking home wins in both the Open and Amateur divisions. The 2007 brown tobiano mare by Color Me Smart and out of Dualin Breeze has come a long way from the green-broke 3-year-old Jacki Jo originally bought.
“I saw her at a sorting event, and I don’t know what attracted me to her; we just looked each other in the eye, and I knew I had to have her,” The horsewoman from Azle, Texas, said. “I took her home, and she bucked me off repeatedly for about three weeks. It took us a little while to click.”
After putting their tempestuous start behind them, Jacki Jo and “Pistol” have excelled in numerous classes, including a reserve world championship in the Ranch Trail Sweepstakes at the 2015 APHA World Championship Show.
Novice Amateur High-Point Ranch Horse Champion: Renate Lynn Finley & Gunner Hold Your Fire
This horsewoman from Burleson, Texas, clinched the No. 1 spot in the Novice Amateur division aboard her 1999 sorrel overo mare by Colonels Smokingun and out of Hold That Spot. “Lacy” came to Renate as an experienced reiner, but together they’ve branched out to compete in the three other ranch horse events.
“She has been wonderful for me to learn on. Lacy’s a great teacher, and she’s very consistent,” Renate said. “She’s taken to the new events like she’s always competed in them. She enjoys it. I’ve noticed in our show photos, she always has one ear pointed forward paying attention and one ear back listening to me.
“The ranch horse classes are a ball. I’ve enjoyed not only the classes, but the people showing as well. From the Youth all the way up to the adults, everybody seems to have a good time.”
Youth High-Point Ranch Horse Champion: Wyatt Hawthorne & Ima Little Flicker
Wyatt, who is from Tolar, Texas, earned the Youth high-point award aboard the 2001 bay tobiano gelding by Doc O Flicker and out of Dyna Bar Gay; owned by Wyatt’s grandfather, Earnest Wilson “Flicker” picked up several other APHA Year-End Awards in the Open division.
“Flicker is a very talented horse, and I am blessed to get to ride him,” Wyatt said. “My papa, Earnest, got me started in the ranch horse classes. For me, the ranch horse classes have more of a ‘cowboy’ feel to them. They are what I see my papa doing on his ranch, so that is what I want to be doing and I really enjoy it.”
Thinking about getting ranchy with your Paint? Check out the February Inside Look Paint Horse Journal, the industry’s only magazine focused solely on Paints and their people.
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The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded in 1962. APHA creates and maintains programs that increase the value of American Paint Horses and enriches members’ experiences with their horses.