Region One: August 14

Cutting, ranch pleasure and reining classes kick off Day 1 of the 2012 AQHA Region One Championship Show in Tacoma, Washington.

By Tara Christiansen
The American Quarter Horse Journal
August 14, 2012

2012 Region One ranch pleasure champion Jeanine Kern and Smooth Chickory, photo by Tara Christiansen

Stealing the show in ranch pleasure was Jeanine Kern and her 12-year-old bay gelding, Smooth Chickory. (Tara Christiansen photo) For more photos from Day 1, watch the Journal slide show below.

Nestled at the foot of Mount Rainier, the rodeo arena at the Tacoma Horseman’s Unit provided a scenic venue August 14 for the AQHA Region One Championship Show’s first event: cutting.

AQHA competitors from the all corners of the Northwest flocked to Tacoma, Washington, for Day 1 of the Region One Championship.

For E’Dallas Cruz, the final cutting class – youth cutting – looked like a sure-shot at a regional championship belt buckle, but the young horsewoman from Puyallup, Washington, was nervous none-the-less.

“I’m always scared before shows,” the 14-year-old admits. But the nerves help, she adds. And it seems that the rush of facing off with a bovine adversary is what keeps E’Dallas coming back to the cutting pen.

Balancing horses with school sports, plus schoolwork, is a daunting task at times, E’Dallas says. However, she always makes time for her horses and especially for one horse in particular. For the last two years, Dallas has paired up with MS Caddy Smoke, an 18-year-old sorrel mare by Senors Lil Brudder and out of the Mr Gun Smoke daughter Missy Cattysmoke.

“I always have time for ‘Catty,’ ” she promises. At least three times a week E’Dallas is out at her grandfather’s barn, which is where Catty calls home.

Thinking on it, E’Dallas thinks it pretty special that she and her grandfather, Tim Shea, share a passion of horse showing.

“We always go out and ride horses – it’s fun,” Dallas shares.

Aside from the fun and games, E’Dallas is a serious competitor, and she was quite impressed with her loot from the youth cutting at Region One.

“(I won) two coffee cups and a really nice buckle,” she reports.

E’Dallas was only one of the first to ride off with Region One Championship booty.

Stealing the show in ranch pleasure, and capturing second place in Novice amateur reining, was Jeanine Kern and her 12-year-old bay gelding, Smooth Chickory.

“It went really well,” Jeanine says of her winning ranch pleasure pattern. “This was actually just the second time we’ve done it, but he’s a reiner and it’s a lot of the same types of maneuvers and it’s just a little less pressure and a lot of different things. It makes him think.”

Perhaps the most challenging maneuver in the Region One ranch pleasure pattern was the trot over four ground poles. “R.C.,” Jeanine’s equine partner, didn’t even bat an eye at those poles, and this didn’t come as a surprise for his owner.

“I work poles anyway to work his stifles and to keep the hocks moving for the reining stops,” the Monroe, Washington, cowgirl shares.

“(I like to do ranch pleasure) to keep him fresh,” Jeanine adds. “It seems to be scheduled before reining classes and it’s been a great prelude to be doing something different before going in the reining show pen.”

Obviously, this new AQHA class is one that has Jeanine hooked.  

“We will keep doing ranch pleasure – we’re having a lot of fun with it,” she says. “I’m going to building this into my repertoire.”

Jeanine wasn’t the only horsewoman to enjoy the refreshing sensation of ranch pleasure. AQHA Professional Horseman Sue Sultze of Bow, Washington, piloted Fletch It through his first ranch pleasure pattern at the Region One Championship.

“I just thought it was fun, and something my horse could do,” Sue says with a smile. “He was good – it was just his first time over those shiny, white poles at that (far) end of the arena; he just learned to go over the poles this week. That was kind of hard for him to do cold-turkey.”

For the working cow horse, owned by Sue’s husband, Tom Pasma, jogging, extending the trot and tackling ground poles hasn’t exactly been his forte. However, Sue – who predominately trains and shows reined cow horses – knows a thing or two about navigating ground poles.

“A lot of people don’t know this, but I’ve trained two world champion trail horses. I have poles, and I know how to do it.”

Now that she has the chance to mix together working-horse movements and trail-pattern elements, Sue thinks that ranch pleasure is a class that she could get hooked on.

“(It’s nice to) just change it up and get them to listen to you and take the pressure off a little bit,” she shares. “I think (Fletch It) was definitely waiting for me to tell him what to do. In fact, I almost felt like I had to ask a little bit more on my lope departs that I normally do because he didn’t know what was coming next.”

Since Day 2 of the Region One Championship starts off with working cow horse classes, that’s where Sue and Fletch It will find themselves next. One could surmise that for once, Fletch It might not be looking for his cow, but those shiny, white poles.  

Stay tuned to www.aqha.com/showing for coverage from the Region One Championship, brought to you by The American Quarter Horse Journal.

Don’t forget to scroll through the Journal slide show below to view cutting, ranch pleasure and reining photos by AQHA Internet Editor Tara Christiansen.