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Lending Halter a Hand

Lending Halter a Hand

A pioneering idea from some of Paint halter industry’s proudest—and most benevolent— supporters generates thousands in scholarship money for AjPHA Youth.

By Laura Stevens

Problem, meet solution. An avid breeder, owner and exhibitor of Paint halter horses, Judy Ford was well aware of the declining entry numbers in Youth halter classes. But rather than sit back and dwell on disappointment, the Whitesboro, Texas, horsewoman sprang into action.

With her husband, Tommy, Judy dreamed up a plan to give scholarship money to Youth halter exhibitors. What if every AjPHA world champion halter exhibitor earned a cash prize? And what about reserve world champions? Within a matter of weeks, the Fords and their friends had drummed up hope, optimism and more than $15,000.

It started with a $3,000 idea. At the 2012 AjPHA Youth World Championship Show, the Fords partnered with Larry Morse and Robin Robinett of Morse Paint Horses in Brazil, Indiana, to give $1,000 scholarships to the all-around Youth 14–18, Youth 13 & Under and Novice Youth champions.

“Having grandchildren of my own, I know how much college costs,” Judy said. “My granddaughter has been fortunate enough to get a scholarship from APHA because she showed halter horses as a Youth. You realize how important these scholarships are for these children to try to get a better education, and how expensive it is for the families.”

The generosity was only just beginning. Although they are supporters of all Youth, halter-loving kids hold a special place in the hearts of the Ford and Morse families.

“We were sitting at a horse show and talking about how the Youth halter numbers are really down,” Judy said. “We better see what we can do, because that’s really the backbone of our organization: the kids. So we thought, ‘why don’t we try to raise enough money to do this for the halter kids? We’ll switch over for 2013 and do halter.’ It was myself and Larry Morse, Fred Cole and Bob Cassata—everybody was pretty pumped up about it.”

Enthusiasm high, the group collected pledges totaling $5,000 in a matter of minutes. Then the group upped their goal. Why not raise $15,000, enough to give every Youth halter world champion—in both Regular Registry and Solid Paint-Bred classes— $1,000, and every reserve champion $500? When Judy traveled to the World Wide Paint Horse Congress in July, she was greeted with overwhelming support from the close-knit halter community.

“I thought Congress was the perfect place,” she said. “It took me about an hour and I had the $15,000.”

That goal met, Judy’s next dream is to raise enough to give $1,000 scholarships to the Youth World Show all-around champions in 2013. Coordinating with the Oklahoma Paint Horse Club and Holiday Circuit Show Manager Kevin Hardcastle of Owasso, Oklahoma, Judy hopes to generate $3,000 toward the all-around scholarship fund.

Whether it’s halter horses or riding horses, the Paint community is proving its commitment to Youth and education.

“We’ve got 15 great people willing to do whatever it takes to get those numbers back up,” Judy said. “It’s funny how we can compete out in the show ring, but when times get tough, we all come together.”


Gratitude to the Donors
The generous donors to the 2013 AjPHA Youth World Championship Show halter scholarship program are:

  • Daranne Folino, Plano, Texas
  • Phil and Sue Drawdy, Fort Pierce, Florida
  • Maggie and Sally Griffin, Tomball, Texas
  • RNJ Farms: The Nightingale Family, Galva, Kansas
  • Christensen Show Horses: Jerm and Kelly Christensen, West Point, Utah
  • Rockin W Ranch: Jackie and Dave Weatherman, Berthoud, Colorado
  • Walt and Anne Schobel, Perris, California
  • Stallings Paint Horses: Ronny and Michelle Stallings, Aubrey, Texas
  • Butch and Lisa Maxwell, Independence, Missouri
  • Rancho Poco Loco: Bobbie Atkinson, Henderson, Texas
  • Double C Acres: Bob and Joyce Cassata, Morganton, North Carolina
  • Cole Equine Center: Fred and Vanessa Cole in honor of their late son, Matthew L. Cole, Patoka, Illinois
  • Lazy JN Ranch: Joe and Nancy Berry, Visalia, California
  • MPH: Larry Morse and Robin Robinett, Brazil, Indiana
  • Ford Farms, Tommy and Judy Ford, Whitesboro, Texas