Chris Hocutt-Senteney wins her first AQHA world championship in her favorite class aboard homebred gelding Bellieve Hes Blazing.
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by Jody ReynoldsThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Christine Hocutt-Senteney of Burbank, California, survived a tricky, lead-change-heavy horsemanship prelims pattern on August 29 that quickly weeded out the majority of a 67-head class during the 2012 Adequan Select World Championship Show.
To her delight, the August 31 finals offered a pattern that was great for showcasing her homebred brown gelding Bellieve Hes Blazing. The pattern featured a large fast circle and a slow small circle.
“I liked the finals pattern better because I like being able to do the fast circles,” Chris said. “The prelims were a little more difficult because you really had to gauge your crossover so you ended up in the middle. It was like half of a western riding pattern.
“The finals pattern was easier to place in the arena, as far as spacing,” she continued. “I liked it better because of the turns in the middle, and I liked doing the fast circle and the break down to the slow. I think it showed a little bit more of being able to shut your horse down, speed it up and do more transitions.”
With graceful circles and precise pivots, Chris and “Blake” bested the horsemanship finals to earn Chris’s first AQHA world championship.
“It feels fantastic,” Chris said after her win. “It’s like a lifetime dream come true. Horsemanship has always been one of my favorite classes, even when I was a little kid showing in 4-H. My horse is kinda good at it, too!”
Chris credits Blake’s natural abilities and the skillful guidance of horse trainer Nancy Renfro of Finley, California.
“He’s an even-keeled, calm horse,” Chris said. “Plus, Nancy is a fantastic horsemanship trainer. The way Nancy takes care of him at home – her little girls ride him in the pastures and the arena. He gets a lot of turn-out time and a lot of treats from the kids at the barn. I think he’s happy because we don’t push him too hard unless it’s time to show.”
Chris will enjoy a little time off while Nancy prepares Blake for the open ranch horse pleasure at the 2012 AQHA World Championship Show in November in Oklahoma City.
When she’s not horseback, Chris works for a horse insurance company and is a self-proclaimed “cat lady.”
She has had a love of horses “Since I was 8 years old and a horse-crazy kid living in the city,” she said. “My dad bought me a horse and said, ‘Maybe she’ll get over it.’ I never did. Thanks, dad! It was a great way to grow up.”
This is Chris’s fourth Adequan Select World, and she looks forward to many more.
“It seems to get better and tougher every year,” she said. “AQHA does a really nice job every year of making it welcoming. The parties have been great, and the help they provide has been great.”