As Open exhibitor Tim Finkenbinder led Shes Stylish to the front of five judges’ lineups, Bob and Joyce Cassata of Double C Acres in Morganton, North Carolina, shared hugs and cheers with their friends and family. Minutes later, the couple danced through the arena alongside their flashy mare. One unanimous world championship is phenomenal, but “Gracie’s” win in 2-Year-Old Mares is her third in 2019—making her the newest horse to claim the prestigious Scarlet Print award at the APHA World Championship Show in Fort Worth, Texas.
“It’s just fantastic [to win the award]; it’s unbelievable,” Bob said. “God is so great, and we are just so proud and thankful.”
The Scarlet Print Award is presented in honor of Scarlet Print, a 1991 overo mare who earned 10 world championships in only four years. She was owned by Michelle Engle of Bakersfield, California, who established the award after the mare retired from the show ring in 1995. To win the award, a mare must win world championships in Youth, Amateur and Open halter classes in the same year; Gracie won Youth 2-Year-Old Mares with Georgia Cook of Cypress, Texas, and her Amateur class with Bob. She is the third horse owned by Double C Acres to achieve this feat, and her 2019 title is the family’s seventh Scarlet Print Award.
Bred by Kelley Deignan-Stone of Sanger, Texas, Gracie is by Hes Stylin and out of Roses N Heir (QH); though the mare’s ownership has changed several times in her young life, Kelley kept finding herself drawn back to Gracie, and she encouraged the Cassatas to purchase the mare.
“[Gracie’s] got a home for good now,” Bob said.
Kelley says the mare’s combination of stellar conformation and feminine features set her up for supreme success.
“There are very few mares who are as strong across their top, as long and correct in their croup, and as strong-hocked as Gracie who also have so much femininity,” Kelley said. “She’s such a feminine, correct mare with all the stuff you want; she’s got the cake and the icing on top.”
Gracie has a quiet mind to boot—the 2-year-old’s Youth handler, the Cassata’s great granddaughter Georgia, is just 7 years old. Though Kelley and partner Adam Wainscott have spent plenty of time preparing Gracie for a pint-sized exhibitor, the horsewoman says Georgia’s dedication is impressive.
“Georgia is not just any 7-year-old; she’s passionate about her horses, and this horse loves ‘her’ kid,” Kelley said. “Adam and I have worked really hard to make sure that Gracie’s mind is right for her child, but it’s also taken a lot of practice and work from Georgia to show this mare.”
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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 promotes, preserves and provides meaningful experiences with Paint Horses.