Nearly $25,000 was on the line November 4 for the first slate of Farnam Pleasure Stakes classes, which drew a field of talented English performers.
Up first was the Farnam Non-Pro 3- & 4-Year-Old Hunter Under Saddle Stakes, featuring a purse worth more than $5,000* earmarked especially for older graduates of the Farnam program and their non-professional exhibitors. The evening’s encore performance was the Farnam 2-Year-Old Hunter Under Saddle Stakes with a purse of nearly $18,500* split 65/35 between the class’ Open and Limited division exhibitors.
Farnam Non-Pro 3- & 4-Year-Old Hunter Under Saddle Stakes
Stacey Carleton of Dewey, Oklahoma, knew Its Swing Time was special when the 2013 sorrel overo mare first stepped into the sale ring as part of the 2014 Farnam Breeders’ Trust Select Yearling Sale. Purchasing her from Ann Rosen and High Country Paints LLC, Stacey had fun watching the mare show with Alyse Roberts in the 2015 Farnam 2-Year-Old Hunter Under Saddle Stakes, but the fun really started when she took over “Ruby’s” reins.
“Last year she won money, which helped me pay for getting her down the road this year,” Stacey said. “You always have high expectations, but I’ve never won anything here; I’ve been Top Five and third, but I’ve never won.”
That all changed Friday night when Stacey and Ruby trotted into the Farnam Non-Pro 3- & 4-Year-Old Hunter Under Saddle Stakes. Trainers Wade and Carly Parks had the mare tuned in, and Stacey said Ruby brought her A-game when show time rolled around. The pair was consistent in both directions, showcasing Ruby’s correct, quality gaits and pleasant attitude. When the class concluded, Stacey and Ruby took their spot in the limelight as class champions, capturing a check for $3,024* and other prizes.
Ruby’s personality came shining through in the awards ceremony—after standing patiently for pictures, Ruby decided to take a closer look at her championship rosette, grabbing the ribbon with her teeth and holding it up proudly for the world to see, much to the delight of the John Justin Arena spectators.
“She always wants to know everybody’s business, but once you’re on her, she shows great,” Stacey said. “There were only three in the class, but this win means a lot to me. The Farnam program has given me a chance to grab a little money and help me pay for this expensive hobby. I think it’s a great program.”
Sired by All Time Fancy and out of Luvs To Zip, Ruby was bred by Carol Brown of Kansas City, Kansas.
Farnam 2-Year-Old Hunter Under Saddle Stakes
Loaded with chrome—and matched with a soft trot and flowing canter—Want Me Dont Cha had just about everyone in the John Justin Arena saying, “Yes, please.” It was evident the judges liked the gelding too, and the 2014 chestnut overo was crowned the Farnam 2-Year-Old Hunter Under Saddle Stakes champion with Laura Spell in the irons.
Only about his third time in the show pen, “Justin” handled the bright lights like a veteran.
“He was awesome—better than I could have expected,” Laura said. “I told [my husband] Wade before I went in, ‘I don’t know if I’m ready yet!’ But then we went in and he showed like a million bucks.”
Owned by client Brooke Ketchum of Montrose, Michigan, Justin is by The Gift Of Midas and out of Miss Shadow Page; he was bred by Dan and Jan Mannion of Wilton, California. Laura calls the gelding a total package with personality plus.
“I love him,” Laura said. “He’s got a ton of personality. He has a mind of his own somedays, but it makes him show really well. His ears are always forward, and he’s always happy.
The Farnam win earned Laura and Justin $5,410* check, along with other great prizes. Another Spell Show Horses client, Taylor Kokemiller of Madrid, Iowa, was the night’s biggest winner—at least in terms of paychecks; she cashed in on a $6,473* windfall aboard Wise Men Talk, her 2014 sorrel overo gelding by A Scenic Impulse and out of Dotevita (QH).
Taylor was the only non-pro who tested her skills against the professionals in the Farnam 2-Year-Old Hunter Under Saddle Stakes. For winning the class’ Limited Division—they placed fifth overall—Taylor and Memphis took home the full 35 percent share of the $18,496* total class purse.
“I just wanted to learn how to show the babies,” Taylor said about her motivation to compete in the class this year. “It’s a little different than sitting on a broke horse. It was really cool, especially on a horse that I bought myself.”
For owners like Stacey, Taylor and Brooke, the Farnam Stakes program is a win-win addition to the APHA World Show lineup.
“I think it’s great,” Brooke said. “It’s such a big incentive to put your horse in the Farnam—and not just as a 2-year-old because there’s 3- and 4-year-old classes, too. That’s a great incentive.”
*Unofficial payout amounts
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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 creates and maintains programs that increase the value of American Paint Horses and enriches members’ experiences with their horses.