Wade Parks of Sabina, Ohio, knows what a good Western pleasure ride should feel like, and That Cheatin Cowboy delivered when it mattered most—in the 2018 APHA World Show’s Breeders’ Trust 2-Year-Old Western Pleasure Stakes, where a total purse of $35,085 was on the line.
“The preparation, figuring out how they tick and how to get them ready, is what I enjoy the most [about showing 2-year-olds,]” Wade said. “When they don’t show well, it’s not fun at all. But when they show like ‘Cowboy’ just did, it’s just the coolest feeling; it makes it all worth it.”
Cowboy is a 2016 gray overo gelding by How Bout This Cowboy (QH) and out of Whos Cheating Who (QH). He was bred by Linda and Scott Berwick of Clarence Creek, Ontario, Canada, and is owned by Melinda Clark of Albion, Illinois. A keen eye for raw talent, Wade picked Cowboy out of the crowds of prospects at the 2017 All American Quarter Horse Congress Super Sale.
“I really don’t know [what stuck out about him,]” Wade said. “He had a really soft way of going. He’s gray and pretty, too, which of course always gets you.”
The Breeders’ Trust Western Pleasure Stakes was Cowboy’s second trip around a show pen, and his first time truly showing off his talent, Wade says.
“I showed him once before and had a little trouble, so this is the first really good ride I’ve had on him; he was maybe just a little too green before,” he said. “But this time he really proved what he’s worth. He was everything he needed to be—he listened, never bobbled, and he was just right there for me. He’s paying for himself really quickly!”
Wade’s wife and training partner, Carly, was also planning to saddle up for the Breeders’ Trust 2-Year-Old Western Pleasure Stakes, but plans changed at the last minute when Wade scoped out the competition. Instead of Carly competing, the couple enlisted up-and-comer Austin Gooding of Fennville, Michigan, to ride Make It Rain into the bright lights of the John Justin Arena.
“I realized nobody else had entered the Limited division—and Carly wasn’t eligible for it, either—so we had about 8,000 reasons to put Austin on him,” Wade laughed.
Austin was up for the catch ride, and he first swung a leg over “Dallas” at midnight the night before their debut. Though their prep time was limited, Austin put Dallas through the paces like he was a seasoned show horse well beyond 2 years of age.
“I’ve ridden with Wade a lot before, and I knew our programs would fit. Wade did a great job getting Dallas ready, so he was super easy to show out there,” Austin said. “He felt great last night for me—really quiet and good-minded—and then he showed just like he schooled. He loped both ways really well, and I didn’t have to touch him much or help him out.”
Make It Rain is a 2016 black overo stallion by Lazy Loper (QH) and out of Onesensationalcowgirl; he was bred and is owned by Anita Veldman of South Bend, Indiana. In addition to winning the Limited Division and more than $8,700, Austin and Dallas also placed fourth overall, snagging another check worth $2,631.
Unofficial results follow:
1st THAT CHEATIN COWBOY shown by Wade Parks earning $$10,526
2nd BEST IN BOOTS shown by Jeffrey Gibbs earning $7,894
3rd GGR ON THE ROKS shown by Troy Lehn earning $5,263
4th MAKE IT RAIN shown by Austin Gooding earning $2,631
5th WILLIWANNA KISS THIS shown by Scott Suggs
1st MAKE IT RAIN shown by Austin Gooding earning $8,771
New for 2018, all Breeders’ Trust-enrolled horses—Regular Registry and Solid Paint-Bred—are eligible to compete in the Breeders’ Trust Pleasure Stakes classes at the APHA World Championship Show. Horses are enrolled into the Breeders’ Trust Pleasure Stakes as yearlings and then pay an entry fee during their 2-year-old year; read more about the program here. This year marks the highest combined purse ever offered in the Breeders’ Trust Pleasure Stakes, worth more than $65,750 over four classes.
[Reprinting all of part of this story is permitted, so long as credit is given to the Paint Horse Journal and a link provide 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. APHA promotes, preserves and provides meaningful experiences with Paint Horses.