by Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Karey Franz of Steelville, Missouri, was supposed to be elk hunting. She hadn’t gotten qualified for the 2011 AQHA World Championship Show and her husband, Jess, planned a hunting trip.
But then she received her AQHA Amateur Invitational Program letter in the mail. New for 2011, it invites the highest point-earning exhibitor in each class from each state who just missed qualifying, to come and compete.
“I was supposed to be there with him,” Karey says. “But my horse (Nuchex N Diamonds) was going so well, we decided to go ahead and come here, and he went elk hunting.”
Good thing she did – she and “Checkers” came out of the prelims with the top score, qualifying for the November 11 finals.
In the morning rein work, the two scored a 216.
“I’m not very good at reining, but we made it through,” Karey says. “We had a few bobbles and could have been better, but good enough.”
When she rode in second to last in the go in the evening cow work, the score to beat was Betty Lou Valdez and MH Bold Intentions’ 223.5, giving them a combined score of a 433. But Karey felt “pretty good.”
“We had a good run in the prelims, which kind of worries me, because … you don’t know if you can duplicate it. But he was wanting to be good.
They rode out with a 219.5, giving them a 435.5: “He’s tired. I was just glad to get through it.”
The 2004 palomino gelding by Nu Chex To Cash was bred by Karey’s father, William Cottrell, and Karey has had him all his life. She still owns his dam, Zans Lady Diamond by Zans Diamond Sun.
“His full sister was my first cow horse,” Karey says. “He’s pretty special to me. My dad passed away a few years ago…. It’s a dream come true; it’s what I’ve been working for my whole life.
She continues: “This is what the hours in the arena, the hours out in the pasture (are all about). I’ve known this horse since he was a baby; I foaled him out. To (win a world championship) on a horse that I know everything about is pretty cool.”
Karey thanks trainer Don Murphy of Marietta, Oklahoma, for helping her this year.
“Don Murphy’s helped me tremendously this year getting my showing capability put together this year and just getting everything put together. We’re getting better; we’re not at our best right now. I’m excited at the next years to come.”
The two are headed to the National Reined Cow Horse Association Celebration of Champions on January 28 – February 5, 2012, and they’ll “just keep going.” They are already qualified for the 2012 World Show, so they’ll be back for that.
As for Jess, “he came out of the mountains” to get Karey’s World Show finals news.
“He’s in cell phone range; he’s gotten pictures,” she says.
“Him I want to thank because he supports me tremendously,” Karey says, and adds, “My mom, she’s here with me tonight, and I (wouldn’t be) where I’m at without her…. I have great support and that’s what it takes.”
Karey Franz wins a world championship with Nuchex N Diamonds. (Journal photo)