By Larri Jo StarkeyThe American Quarter Horse JournalFebruary 17, 2014
Sarah Locker rides The Chex Factor to win the freestyle competition February 14 at the Dixie National Quarter Horse Show in Jackson, Mississippi. (Larri Jo Starkey photo) For more photos from the Dixie National, scroll to the slide show below. Did you take photos? Send in your best ones to Becky Newell at email@example.com for possible inclusion in the Journal.
At the Dixie National Quarter Horse Show, fun is part of the show bill.
From youth dances to exhibitor parties to auctions and a massive trade show, the Dixie offers something for every exhibitor’s taste buds.
And on February 14, part of that fun was a freestyle reining competition that drew a large crowd to the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in Jackson.
Angels, patriots and hobos all took their turn in the National Reining Horse Association-approved event.
When the dirt skidded to a stop, Sarah Locker of Brashear, Texas, was on top with her family’s homebred stallion The Chex Factor, a 2010 sorrel by Nu Chex To Cash and out of Lockyourgun by One Gun.
“At our house, we call that the magic cross because our Snip O Gun mare (by One Gun) and the Nu Chex To Cash cross has produced numerous champions – Big Chex To Cash and so on and so forth,” Sarah said. “He’s really special.”
Sarah rode to a Miranda Lambert song on a horse that just two months ago was competing at the NRHA Futurity.
“I won level 2 of the (non-pro) NRHA Futurity on him, was reserve in level 3 and top five in level 5 on him,” she said. “He was so quiet and so easy to prepare as a 3-year-old, I thought, well, why can’t he be a freestyle horse?”
So Sarah stuck in her earbuds, listened to the song recommended by her mother, Tammye Hutton, a couple of times and planned her routine, then rode to the Valentine’s Day win on “Theo.”
“He got his nickname because my niece at the futurity asked me what my horse’s name was,” Sarah said. “With our family, since Hilldale Farm is a business, we don’t nickname a lot of our horses. So I said, ‘the 3-year-old,’ and to my 3-year-old niece, that sounded like, ‘Theo,’ and it stuck.”
Theo and Sarah competed in reining at the Dixie National, placing well in the AQHA and NRHA classes before sliding to the freestyle win.
“My mom is the freestyle queen,” Sarah said. “She always picks the best routines.”
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