With so many factors that can impact a horse’s quest for a world championship—growth patterns, general health and preparation, not to mention competition vying for the title—it’s easy to see what makes the goal such a tough one to attain. Despite the odds stacked against him, Intensions turned dreams into reality at the 2014World Show.The 2010 red roan overo’s win in Aged Stallions with Tim Finkenbinder represented his fifth consecutive Open halter world championship, successfully sweeping each age division in APHA halter competition—trainer Kelley Deignan-Stone says that hasn’t ever happened before, and while staff still needs to confirm that, it’s a feat that definitely hasn’t been accomplished in the last 15 years.
“The horse’s breeder—Mark Voegele—Tim Finkenbinder and I had a vision right after he won his first world championship unanimously: could we take him unanimously through each of the age divisions of a horse’s career?” said Kelley, who has fit and trained the stallion throughout his career. “We talked about it seriously, but also with some laughter because you know how almost impossible that is.”
Kelley’s been part of Intensions’ story since the colt was born—she and assistant trainer Jennifer Sovocool helped foal the strapping colt, so they have a special affinity for “Rolly.”
“We’ve been part of his incredible journey from day one, and I don’t know if I’ve ever felt more blessed to be part of a horse’s career than this one,” Kelley said. “There are those few rare horses in your lifetime that make all the hard work and dedication and passion worthwhile—those are heart horses for me, and he is certainly among that elite group.”
Mark, too, has adored the horse like a son, Kelley says. Infatuated with My Intention (QH), Mark originally tried to purchase the stallion from Jim and Georgia Snow. When that wasn’t possible, he decided to breed his good Paint mare Barlinkislebeastar to My Intention; Rolly was the resulting foal. After Rolly’s Aged Stallions win, Mark was almost beyond words.
“He’s been amazing his whole career,” he said. “To go one year, let alone five years, is amazing.”
Tim showed the stallion to each of his Open wins, starting with Rolly’s unanimous weanling world championship in 2010. With the exception of a single judge’s fourth-place ranking as a yearling, Rolley has earned first places across the board as a weanling, yearling, 2-year-old, 3-year-old and aged horse.
“He’s what we always look for in a horse. He’s got that balance and structural correctness with a high degree of muscling. He’s been special since he was born,” Tim said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal—for me, too. I’ve won a lot of worlds, but this one is probably the most special to me. Mark and I have been longtime friends, so to have that relationship not only with the horse, but with Mark the breeder and Kelly the trainer is really special.”
Less than a month ago, Billy and Suzonne Franks of Cisco, Texas, purchased Rolly. Taking full advantage of his new purchase, Billy showed the stallion to an Amateur Aged Stallions world championship earlier in the show.
“It was pretty exciting, but at the same time very humbling to know somebody else did all the work. I just had the privilege of walking in and having the fun part,” Billy said about his first Amateur title. “When we found out that he was going to be available—it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up; he’s such a phenomenal horse. He’s made history, and it will be years—or maybe never—that his record will be broke. He’s going to be really fun.”
Aside from his stellar show record and exceptional conformation, Rolly also has a quiet disposition—a trait that sets him apart from many other breeding stallions.
“He’s got to be the kindest-minded horse you’d ever be around. You can go in when he’s laying down and taking a nap and take a currycomb or brush and sit right in the middle of him and scrub on his neck and kiss his face,” Kelley said. “It’s really an honor to be around this horse because he’s such a great individual. Phenotypically, he’s what we’re all breeding for, but then his mind is so quiet. I don’t know how long it will take as a breeder and a trainer to find another one like him.”
The decision to sell their special stallion was a tough one for Mark and Kelley, but they knew the Franks would be able to take Rolly to the next level as a top breeding stallion; he joins a stellar Three Nails stallion lineup that includes Coercion, The Home Run Kid (QH), Cali Baba (QH) and Show Stoppah (QH). From Kelly and Mark to the Three Nails team, the hopes for the next phase of Intensions’ career remains the same.
“Our hopes and dreams are that he becomes a historic sire, just like he has been a show horse, and that he goes on to sire world champion offspring,” Billy said. “I want him to become a historic figure, not only in the show ring but in the breeding barn as well.”