For Haley Smith of Yuma, Colorado, attending the 2023 APHA World Show was more than an opportunity to grow in her horsemanship—it was a chance to carry on her grandfather’s legacy.
Haley’s grandfather, Jim Smith, loved competing with his Paint Rolex Bar None, or “Lex,” in heading, heeling and tie-down roping. Jim purchased the black tobiano stallion as a reining prospect, and the pair competed for decades at shows across the country.
In 2013, Jim lost his battle with pancreatic cancer, and Lex’s reins passed on to Haley.
As the young cowgirl grew, and the now-gelded Lex aged closer towards retirement, Haley began to dream of following in her grandfather’s footsteps and competing with Lex at the APHA World Show.
“I have had a goal to attend the APHA World Show, like my grandpa did, since I was 8,” Haley said. “I learned everything I know about horses and riding from Lex. He has been with me from the beginning and has been incredibly patient with me.
“Every time I see him, I am reminded of my grandfather. I love showing my horse, and I want this opportunity to ride in honor of my grandfather and Lex.”
Haley’s dream came true at the 2023 APHA World Show, and the now 19-year-old gelding brought a second generation of the Smith family to Fort Worth, Texas. This year, Lex and Haley competed in ranch cutting, ranch riding and ranch reining.
“It’s been nerve-wracking but really fun,” said Haley, who has already claimed a Top Five title in the Youth Ranch Cow Work class. “Lex was [my grandfather’s] baby and he loved to show him. Now I get to carry on the legacy.”
—By Julie Papaj
[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 in 1962. APHA promotes, preserves and provides meaningful experiences with Paint Horses.