Ton Of Trouble experienced a homecoming of sorts at the APHA World Championship Show, but his visit to Fort Worth, Texas, was unlike any other horse in attendance.
Though he didn’t step into the John Justin Arena as a World Show competitor, “Dexter” entered as a champion—the latest winner of the APHA’s Superior All-Around Award.
Teaming up with owner Julia DeJonghe and trainer Heather Brower, Dexter, a 2000 sorrel overo gelding by Mr I B Trouble and out of Miss Dee Dexter, racked up the final points for the award throughout the 2014 show season.
Dexter is only the 158th recipient of the award, which requires horses to earn a Superior in halter and a performance event, as well as Registers of Merit in at least four performance categories. Paired with talented riders, Dexter finished out his award by earning 20 halter points and six hunter hack points in 2014.
“Halter was definitely the toughest event, because we sometimes had to show against the younger and specialty halter horses, but Heather did a great job of keeping him in good shape,” Julia said.
Paired with Dexter since January 2011, Julia knew he was her ideal mount at first meeting.
“I knew he was it,” she said. “I fell in love with him.”
Julia wasn’t the only one on hand to celebrate Dexter’s accomplishments—breeder Sharon Lance of Groton, South Dakota, initial trainer Abby DeJong of Spearfish, South Dakota, and several former owners converged on the World Show to meet and honor their horse. Though they’d never met prior to the show, the group quickly bonded over Dexter.
“This experience has been amazing,” Julia said. “It’s been great to come here, meet everyone and celebrate our one-of-a-kind horse together. I’m so happy to share this moment with them.”
For their efforts, Dexter and Julia received a custom Cowboy Bronze crystal trophy and $2,500, courtesy of APHA.
It certainly takes a dedicated team to win the award, and Julia is quick to thank her support group for their endeavors.
“I’ve been very blessed with an amazing horse and trainer,” she said. “Without Heather, Dexter wouldn’t be the horse he is today—she loves him just as much as I do—and I can’t thank her enough for her work.”
[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. APHA creates and maintains programs that increase the value of American Paint Horses and enriches members’ experiences with their horses.