Journal at the World

September 3, 2011

99 Years of Experience

Ruth Ann Barr and her horse have a combined 99 years of experience.

By Larri Jo Starkey
The American Quarter Horse Journal

Ruth Ann Barr and Johnny Be A Goodbar

Ruth Ann Barr and Johnny Be A Goodbar have 99 years of experience between them. (Journal photo)

It takes a little life experience to compete at the Adequan Select World Championship Show.

For Ruth Ann Barr and Johnny Be A Goodbar, that’s 99 years of combined experience.

Ruth, who hails from Millsap, Texas, is 80. “Hershey” is 19.

Ruth has ridden all her life, but she only began driving five years ago, giving Hershey the edge in experience in the event.

“I never drove until I was at (AQHA Professional Horseman) Kevin (Dukes’s) barn. I just did western pleasure,” Ruth said. “(Kevin) said, ‘Have you ever driven?’ I said, ‘No, but I used to ride with my dad in the old wagon when he took us to school and it was cold and snowy and we couldn’t get there. He always drove the harness horses, and it was fun, but I’ve never driven.’

"‘He said, ‘Come on and drive Hershey.’ Two laps around the pen and I said, ‘He’s mine.'"

That same year, 2007, Ruth and Hershey were fourth at the Adequan Select World in pleasure driving. Ruth lives about 20 minutes from Kevin’s barn and rides at least once a week, western, but her addiction is driving.

“It’s just a thrill,” Ruth said. “You can feel the horse through the reins and it’s so fun to do a park gait. It’s like you’re going through the park with the flowers and the bees, and then I’m in the road gait. It’s Sunday morning and I’ve got my hat on, and I’m going to church, and I crack that horse – I’m late, so I’ve got to get to church on time! That’s how I think of the park gait and the road gait. I had to tell my kids that. They didn’t know what was park gait and road gait. I said that’s what I think about.”

Ruth is a retired travel agent, and she and her husband had a restaurant for a while in Nebraska, open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. Now she’s ready to drive and maybe win, though that’s not her goal.

“There are a lot of good horses (here),” she said. “Anybody could win it now. It’s pretty good. We’re going to go and have fun and if we can both do the best we can, that’s all I ask.”