By Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse JournalMay 19, 2013
Aged American Quarter Horse Tripped Out and Kate and Lauren Neily at the 2013 AQHA Region Ten Championship Show. (Journal photo)
The first appearance of the ranch pleasure class at the AQHA Region Ten Championship Show was a hit, with just under 60 entries in all divisions for both the Region Ten and AQHA pointed shows. It’s not surprising for the popular new class to make an appearance here – at the first Region Ten back in 2005, in Perry, Georgia, the show offered a versatility ranch horse competition.
Stories abound in the people you meet at an AQHA show, and the ranch pleasure certainly included a few from sweet sisters sharing a 1988 gelding to a newcomer to AQHA, showing her first reiner.
On Cloud Horse
One all-around AQHA show campaigner has found his forever home. Tripped Out, aka “Cloud,” a 1988 black gelding by Triple Tabu and out of Simones Poco Mist, was bred by Todd Pickard way up in Petrolia, Ontario – but he’ll end his days in Florida with the Neily family.
Specifically, with Greg and Libby Neily’s daughters, Lauren, 13, and Kate, 8. Well, Lauren has now passed on Cloud’s reins to Kate who is showing Novice youth. But the girls have been sharing the old horse for the Region Ten, and his versatility is paying off.
“Trail is my favorite because Cloud is really good in it,” Kate says, shyly. “And I got second in it.” She was disqualified in one class because she did the wrong pattern, but the Region Ten gave her a special medal for her effort, and she’s been carrying it with her since.
“I used to do all-around, but I got into reining and ranch pleasure,” Lauren says. “Cloud can’t do the reining because he’s so old, but I wanted to do the ranch pleasure.”
Lauren and Cloud won the Region Ten championship in youth ranch pleasure.
“It’s sort of hard right now to share a horse,” Lauren adds, smiling. “It’s hard for Kate to see me on him. It’s her horse and she’s very attached to him. She’s done a great job of letting me ride him.” This summer, the Neilys hope to find Lauren a reiner.
Greg and Libby have a 5-acre farm in Sarasota, Florida. Libby rode as a child, and Greg, a dermatologist, had no horse background but has enjoyed taking care of the farm and learning the horse show dad ropes.
Trainer Rachel Rogers trains out of their place and Cloud had been in Rachel’s barn with his former owners, the Oyer family. Grace Oyer had grown up showing the gelding but needed to move on, and the Neilys fell in love with Cloud.
“I have a stuffed animal named Cloud,” Kate says. “And I tell secrets to (the real) Cloud. I hug him and he picks me up.”
She shows off the hugging trick, tugging the big gelding’s head down, wrapping her arms around his neck; the gelding picks his head up with Kate hanging on until her feet swing in the air, and she lets go.
“She does it every day,” Libby says, her hand on her daughter’s shoulder. And then she adds firmly, “He won’t ever leave.”
Trying Something New
It’s Alisha Rapp’s first year to show AQHA, and she’s having a ball.
She’s earned points in horsemanship and ranch pleasure showing in Florida this spring, and her Region Ten experience included winning both the open and amateur ranch pleasure.
“I’m very excited because I got a 223 in the open and that was above average!” she says. “The running joke in our barn is that we just want to be average because that’s a 70. It’s a great feeling to do better.”
From Tampa, Florida, Alisha rides under the coaching of Ted Chancey of Dover, Florida. She showed in hunters as a youth, but not AQHYA.
“When I moved to Tampa, I just wanted to rope,” she explains. “Take a break from the hunters and do something different. It led back to reining and the ranch pleasure and horsemanship and all the western events.
“I started roping with Ted Chancey, he had reiners, and I bought a Quarter Horse reiner.”
Her horse is Kelvins Spark, aka “Merle,” a 2007 gelding by Kelvin Brownburn and out of Sheza Sanalena Pearl by Sanalena Spark; bred by Jan and Judey Seutter of Anthony, Florida.
“Ted found a horse that’s an absolute fit for me, knowing that I wanted to be versatile and not just be a reiner, because I do have a passion for the equitation,” Alicia says. “He found something I could do both with.”
She admits “it’s a challenge” to switch gears from “free-flowing and forward” in reining to “sit up and equitate” in horsemanship or ranch pleasure, “but it pays off.”
“I said, I don’t want to wear my back cinch and my breast collar in the horsemanship, and (Ted) said, No! You are going to wear it all. I thought, ‘I’m already standing out with my long mane!’ But the back cinch and breast collar went into the horsemanship today.”
Alicia continues, “I think the ranch horse pleasure is a great class. It gives your horse something new to do, especially with the reiners because they are so used to just going in and doing those same patterns.
“The classes are huge. In Venice (Florida) a few weeks ago, we had 16; that’s huge for a local show.”
Originally from Jacksonville, Alicia’s family owns Windemere Equestrian Center. She now works in health care, in provider relations for an independent physicians association. She and her husband, Adam Thames, have been married for a year and a half.
“It’s been a great experience this year showing AQHA,” she adds. “I feel like everyone on this (regional and state) circuit is very supportive of each other and that’s good, we’re all here to have fun. That’s why we do this, to have fun. Winning is an added bonus.”
Region Ten includes the Florida Quarter Horse, Georgia Quarter Horse, North Carolina Quarter Horse and South Carolina Quarter Horse associations. Find an AQHA Regional Championship near you this showing season!
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