By Jennifer K. HancockThe American Quarter Horse JournalApril 10, 2013
Hard To Get Playboy, the 2012 AQHA all-around high-point horse, graces the cover of the April 2013 edition of the Journal. BELOW: Watch Freckles Playboy's induction into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame.
Editor's note: The 2012 AQHA all-around winners, as well as the year-end high-point champions, are featured in the April issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal. To celebrate the winners, the digital edition of the Journal is free this month. Read the April digital Journal now.
When you earn more than 100 points in a month, the AQHA all-around award that began as a dream becomes a more realistic goal. And when you have a stallion, actively used in breeding, yet he’ll stand in the middle of the arena with the reins draped over the saddle horn like a gentleman with all kinds of pretty mares and other commotion all around him, you know that you’ve got a special individual that has the temperament and intelligence to carry you all the way to end.
Hard To Get Playboy embodies the characteristics that have made the American Quarter Horse known as the world’s most versatile horse. It’s no wonder that this all-around athlete is also the 2012 all-around high-point horse.
Owned by Corey and Marquette Powell of Abilene, Kansas, “Playboy” is by American Quarter Horse Hall of Famer Freckles Playboy and out of the Smart Little Uno mare Uno Bonita Gal. The Powells purchased the stallion on the advice of AQHA Professional Horseman Jamie Stover, also of Abilene.
About four years ago, Corey met Jamie through his grandparents, Bill and Carole James. The Jameses own 3J Ranch in Abilene, where Corey learned to rope.
“I actually purchased him through a sale,” Corey says. “Jamie Stover, who is my trainer, actually had him since he was a young horse. Jamie told me to buy him when he went through the sale.”
“I got to ride him for a guy that was local and trusted me to ride him,” Jamie says. “Playboy stayed at the ranch. Even when he wasn’t in training, he was boarded here. The (former owner) took a new job and moved out of state so he wanted to sell him. We put him in a public auction, and I talked to the Powells about buying him. Corey was looking for a nice horse. He sure has been one of my favorite horses.”
Jamie gives good advice, and he’s a good teacher. Corey has a reserve world championship title to his credit and owns the 2012 all-around high-point horse. Not too bad for someone who has been in the Quarter Horse business about four years.
Corey is a fast learner. In 2011, he and Hard To Get Playboy were the reserve champions at the Bank of America Amateur World Championship Show in amateur heeling. So following on that success, Playboy’s connections decided to pursue the all-around title.
“We went to Denver, and we won the circuit in the heeling,” Jamie says. “We put 31 points on him. I had a pretty good notion that I wanted to show him for high-point last fall. I’ve always wanted to do that and I never had. It’s hard on a horse, because you have to go a lot of miles and go a lot of places. Playboy is getting older.”
The now 12-year-old bay stallion wasn’t showing any signs of slowing down, though, and from Denver, they set their sights on South Dakota.
“At the beginning of the year, Jamie put 100 points on him at in just one month,” Corey remembers.
“We go to Rapid City and I enter him in the heading,” Jamie says. “He’s a little horse, and everybody thought that was wild. I don’t remember what we won, but we won a lot. We had a few dry stretches where he didn’t win as much as I thought he should have and then there were times when he won more than he deserved. It’s a balance throughout the year.”
Bred by Dr. Ernest H. Harper of North Little Rock, Arkansas, Playboy’s genetics say cutter and so does his size. But his heart and attitude are willing to tackle just about any task thrown at him.
“He’s little bitty,” Jamie says. “He’s not very big. He was supposed to be a cutter, but he never went that route. I do cow horse on him, rope off him and show him in some ranch horse competitions.”
While some journeys to the year-end awards are filled with rocky roads, Playboy’s was pretty smooth.
“He took it really good because I probably asked him for more than I should have, especially showing in heading as much as I did,” Jamie says. “I didn’t show him in cow horse a lot. I tried to keep him pretty fresh for the World Show because the cow horse is so tough there. I showed him in heading, heeling and tie-down everywhere we went and sometimes the steers were about as big as he was.
“His heart is big,” Jamie adds. “He has never quit, and he has never really been sore. We are lucky that he has been as sound as he is. For as much as I’ve asked him to do, we’ve never had to lay him off. I didn’t train on him or rope on him at home. If I did anything with him, I’d just lope him down the road. He stayed really good all year that way. He got to rest when he was home.”
Playboy and Jamie’s all-around skills had them representing the American Rope Horse Futurities in the World’s Greatest Horseman Shootout at the Battle in the Saddle in 2012. And Playboy continues to gather awards and prizes with his connections.
He has earned 633.5 points, 433.5 of which have been in heeling, but he also has points in heading, tie-down, cow horse, halter, pole bending and barrel racing. Playboy and Corey have amassed 126 points in amateur heeling.
“This year, I was high-point Nebraska rope horse,” Corey says. “I picked up my saddle this weekend that I won for that, and I ended up second high-point amateur in heeling for the year-end awards.”
Corey describes Playboy as a cross between a gelding and human.
“That’s why everyone likes that horse,” Corey explains. “At the horse shows, we take him out in the ropings to the middle of the arena and throw the reins over the saddle horn and leave him. He won’t bug anyone. He’ll stand there all day long. A lot of the horse show people like him because of his disposition and personality.”
There was a time when he acted differently and was misjudged.
“He’s real personable, but he didn’t have the best start in the world,” Jamie says. “A guy bought him when he was a young horse and rode him himself and did a good job, but the horse wasn’t exposed to other horses until he was about 4 or 5 years old. A lot of people would have thought that he was ‘studdy.’ But I think that he was lonely. He was awful ‘squealy.’ Most people would have misunderstood him because he was so noisy. They would have treated him like a stud, but that’s not his personality. It’s not that he’s a stud – he’s just excited to be around horses and people.
“He finds people that he likes and he gets attached,” Jamie continues. “When I go to load my trailer, if he’s not getting in the trailer, he gets all excited about it. If I haven’t hauled him in a while and you go to load him, he wants to be the first one in. He’s a pretty neat horse.”
And how has Playboy adjusted to being the award winner and not the award chaser?
“He’s not liking it a great deal,” Jamie says of Playboy staying home more this year. “I didn’t take him to Denver, and he was banging on his stall door wanting to go when I left. You can tell that he’s happier when he’s going.”
Hard To Get Playboy isn't the only member of his family tree to do a little bit of bragging. Read the free digital edition of the April Journal to take a closer took at his sire, American Quarter Horse Hall of Famer Freckles Playboy, and dam, Uno Bonita Gal by Smart Little Uno.
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