Patti Hicks and RPH Queso won the High-Point Paint award from the North American Trail Ride Conference—the second consecutive such title for Patti. This year, “Queso,” a 2005 palomino solid mare by Bar Honey Tender (QH) and out of Play Barbie, helped the horsewoman from Lodi, Texas, clinch the premier award.Patti also finished her 5,000-mile mark as a competitive rider in 2013.
Patti and Queso teamed up in 2009 when a family friend could no longer ride and needed to find a new home for the 15-hand mare.
“What she lacks in size, she makes up for in a huge heart,” Patti said. “Whatever I point her at and ask her to do, she will give me 100 percent every time.”
Patti says Queso’s smaller frame compared to many stock-type horses makes her a better distance-riding mount because she can cool and recover more quickly.
RPH Queso completed 1,000 miles of competitive riding by the end of 2013, a milestone Patti says was their big goal for the year. Due to training to become an NATRC Horsemanship Judge, Patti scaled back her competitive pursuits, but she and Queso were named National Champions, and they placed fifth nationally in the Overall Open Lightweight Horse and fifth in the Overall Open Horsemanship. Regionally, they were the No. 2 Open Lightweight Team.
Patti’s time on the road with Queso has helped them form a strong bond, and she says their time spent training, conditioning and competing has made them a resilient team.
“She is a very smart horse, and her personality is one of pure grit,” Patti said. “Queso seems to thrive on the conditioning schedule. The more I ride her, the happier and better she seems to get.”
Patti previously won the High-Point Paint title with RPH Go Special Star, a homebred 2003 buckskin tobiano mare by Snow Dancer and out of Folly Question (QH). “Star” took a break from competition to be bred, and Patti expects her to foal soon.
An NATRC competitor since 2003 on Paint Horses, Patti—who also serves as vice president of Region 4—says she would love to see more Paints on the trail.
“It is a fun sport full of wonderful people and varying challenges,” she said. “The great thing about competitive trail is that you can ride any breed of horse and do well.”
[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 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.