Gary Lynn Olson of Great Falls, Montana, and Kai Bar Fletch marked a 424.5 to win the working cow horse world championship.
Buy preliminary and finals classes on DVD at Envision! Film and Video
by Tara ChristiansenThe American Quarter Horse Journa
At the 2011 Adequan Select World Championship Show, Gary Lynn Olson thought she and Kai Bar Fletch were set up to win the working cow horse world championship. Following a stellar rein work, that dream slipped right through their grasp when the chestnut gelding fell during the fence work.
Entering the Amarillo National Center on August 26 for the 2012 working cow horse finals, Gary Lynn and “Fletch” marked a 208.5 in the rein work and put their game faces on for the fence work. After a not-so-cooperative cow, followed by another and another, the Great Falls, Montana, horsewoman was questioning whether she had enough horsepower left to get her through a fourth cow. With a score of 216 in the cow work, the duo clinched the gold trophy they’d been chasing for years.
“My life was passing before my eyes,” Gary Lynn recalled, reflecting on cow after cow she was awarded during her finals run. “It was getting frustrating and I was getting very thirsty,” she added, with a laugh.
Gary Lynn and her 12-year-old gelding have had a few brushes with an AQHA world championship in their six years together, including a second-place working cow horse finish at the 2010 Adequan Select World.
“I’m awfully darn glad that he got to win this year after falling down last year,” Gary Lynn told the Journal during her Journal Winning Run interview. “That was so disappointing (last year) because he had such a nice dry work … and fell on the cow (work). I’m glad he got to finally get a good cow and win one.”
Bred by Jeanne Duffy of Kailua, Hawaii, Fletch is by Tanyas Kai Bar and out of the Jae Bar Fletch mare Sheza Jae Bar.
Although her first world championship will always be near and dear, the decorated cowgirl can’t really pick a favorite world championship.
“They all have their own qualities,” Gary Lynn said of her wins. “The first one ever was like awesome and surprising and thrilling after I’d been going for so long and the one on my old, old horse was like – I’m going to start crying thinking about it – so cool because I had had him so long and I just wanted him to win.”
One thing Gary Lynn has gotten herself hooked on is showing two horses, and she says it’s something that helps keep her head in the game.
“I like showing more than one in a class – there’s something about it. It gives me more to think about; if I have a bad run on one, I have this other one to come back and make up for it.”
However, the change from Fletch to her mare, Purple Lights – draw No. 13 in the finals – is certainly a big one.
“They’re totally, totally opposite. The mare I show is so, so sensitive and touchy … Fletch is very, very laid back and quiet,” Gary Lynn shared. “I actually used to show two horses with the same old situation and one was laid back and the other one was laid back. I’ve had practice.”
Another thing she’s had practice at is showing in a wide variety of events. In the 45-plus years she’s been showing, Gary Lynn has competed in everything from working hunter to barrel racing. Years ago, she finally narrowed her focus on working cow horse.
“This was the one class that kind of hooked me finally – it’s just such a challenge.”