Region One: August 18

Laurie Hughes and Plumb Dry Tequila claim the AQHA Trail Challenge buckle at the 2013 AQHA Region One Championship.

By Tara Matsler
The American Quarter Horse Journal
August 19, 2013

Laurie Hughes and Plumb Dry Tequila compete in the AQHA Trail Challenge in Monroe Washington

Laurie Hughes and Plumb Dry Tequila complete a 180-degree turn on a teeter-totter during the AQHA Trail Challenge in Monroe, Washington. The next step in the maneuver will be to back off the teeter-totter. For their performance, Laurie and "Baylee" won the high-point American Quarter Horse buckle, sponsored by Gunnar Otness, at the August 17 Trail Challenge. (Journal photo) Scroll down for more photos.

He is the quintessential American Quarter Horse. Bred and built to do it all, Plumb Dry Tequila is best summed up by the words “versatile” and “willing.”

On August 17, the 2013 AQHA Region One Championship hosted an AQHA Trail Challenge, preceded by a clinic with AQHA Professional Horseman Mark Bolender. Plumb Dry Tequila and owner Laurie Hughes drove a few miles down the road from their hometown of Snohomish to Monroe, Washington, for the clinic and Trail Challenge.

“Occasionally there is a (competitive trail) clinic in the area, so we’ve gone to a couple clinics,” Laurie told the Journal. “But I haven’t really done too much competing (at Trail Challenges).”

So Laurie and “Baylee” bellied up for their first Trail Challenge, putting in a top-notch performance, which earned them the high-point American Quarter Horse buckle.  

By the Dry Doc son Plumb Dry and out of Quincys Hobby by Repeat A Hobby, Plumb Dry Tequila was bred by Victor Child of Jamestown, California.

“I got him when he was 11; he’s 21 now,” Laurie says. “We did reining and some cow horse, and he’s so broke that we’ve done everything. We’ve even done jousting. We never really did barrel racing and play-days, but he’ll just do everything; sorting, cows.”

Now the duo has added another event to their repertoire: cowboy mounted shooting.

Laurie and Baylee were on hand Saturday evening for the Region One Championship’s cowboy mounted shooting demonstration put on by the Western Washington Cowboy Mounted Shooters.

“Mounted shooting horses have to be athletic. They have to listen; they have to be able to really listen to you,” she explains. “Because Baylee was a reiner, he has such a great handle. He’s just willing to go out there and he’s got a good mind.”

In all honesty, Laurie finds that a lot of those qualities translate over to competitive trail.

“A good mind does (translate) and the trust and the fact that you can move all of his body parts around,” she says. “Being broke and having a good mind – those are the most important things right there.”

An AQHA Trail Challenge, sponsored by B&W Hitch, is a judged course that tests a horse and rider’s ability to work as a team and navigate through natural obstacles they might experience on a trail. The purpose of a Trail Challenge is to enhance the horsemanship skills riders need while encouraging education, safety and fun on the trail. Be sure to visit www.aqha.com/riding to learn more about AQHA Trail Challenges and to find one near you.

The 21-year-old gelding isn’t built for just one type or event, Laurie says, but thanks to his Foundation bloodlines, which trace back to Doc Bar, King Fritz and Lightning Bar, Baylee is built to do everything and anything. And to keep him going in his golden years, Laurie puts Baylee’s needs first.

“He’s not standing around all the time. I try to turn him out every day and ride him at least three times a week,” she explains. “He gets seen; he has his lameness exam every year. The (veterinarian) says he’s in really good shape. She said to keep doing what I’m doing.”
Laurie is a firm believer that it’s never too late to try something new. In fact, she was 40 when she got her first horse.

“I got a horse that I hoped to make a reiner, and he just really didn’t want to do it. Then I ended up with Baylee and he really is just so broke; he’ll do everything. He’s the confidence builder.”

Thanks to Baylee, Laurie has the confidence to step into any new event and knows that she’s competing with a trustworthy partner. It’s plain to see that replacing Baylee is a tall order, and that’s why Laurie is in no rush.

But what exactly is she looking for in a younger mount? Well, you can bet “versatile” and “willing” are at the top of that list.

The AQHA Region One Championship was August 14-18 at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe, Washington. Visit www.region1experience.com for the show schedule and more information.

Journal Region One Championship Coverage:

  • August 14: Age is just a number for Carol Arkell and Mity Chex, competing at the AQHA Region One Championship in Monroe, Washington.
  • August 15: Stealing the show in ranch pleasure, Sally Sutherland proves there’s a first time for everything at the AQHA Region One Championship.
  • August 16:With more entries than last year’s event, the AQHA Region One Championship sports many returning competitors, including Canadian Tina Maynard.
  • August 17: The Rehms keep speed in the family when they’re running their homebreds at the AQHA Region One Championship.
  • August 18: Laurie Hughes and Plumb Dry Tequila claim the AQHA Trail Challenge buckle at the 2013 AQHA Region One Championship.
  • August 21: Congratulate the 2013 AQHA Region One Championship all-around winners, and meet a family from British Columbia who does it all.