by Larri Jo StarkeyThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Laurel Champlin of Gardnerville, Nevada, loves hunter-style American Quarter Horses.
In September, she earned a gold trophy at the Adequan Select World Championship Show in hunt seat equitation with Skys Blue Eyes. So she was understandably excited to see her up-and-coming horse, Look N Hott, win a gold trophy for her November 18 at the AQHA World Championship Show in junior hunter under saddle.
With AQHA Professional Horseman Beth Case of Pilot Point, Texas, in the irons, Look N Hott cruised to a victory lap around the Jim Norick Arena at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City.
Beth and Laurel stopped celebrating long enough to share an exclusive interview with the Journal.
Congratulations! Tell us about your horse.Laurel: Well, we got him in July of this year, and Beth started training him. Beth: I have to thank Miles for helping me with him in the beginning, and he rode him a lot while I was at Select World, too. I started riding (the horse) myself just at the Reichert (Celebration in September).
Was he tough to get going?Beth: A little bit. We just had different ideas of what we wanted to do with each other.Laurel: He’s a typical 4-year-old. Beth: He’s come around and he’s great now. Laurel: In the beginning, they do the 3-year-old futurities and they get through all that, then all of a sudden as a 4-year-old, they realize they have to continue hard work, and they don’t want to work anymore. And it was hot (at Highpoint Performance Horses in Pilot Point, Texas), and he has trouble in the heat, and he got a little stressed out in the heat. We had Miles get on him and ride him for a while, Miles McClain. He’s a wonderful rider for Beth. And then Beth broke her foot, so she couldn’t really ride anyway.Beth: I rode the whole time with a broken foot anyway. Laurel: She showed him at the Congress with only one foot, one stirrup, and still won.
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You’re still injured today.Beth: It should be getting better. I’m not supposed to walk on it until next Tuesday, but it doesn’t hurt, but I’m not supposed to. That’s why I'm kinda being a baby about it.Laurel: Under doctor’s orders ...Beth: I can walk on it with that metal walking boot thing, just not this (English boot).Laurel: But she rides beautifully, with or without it.
Laurel, you’ve had a lot of success on the horse as well.Laurel: Yes, at the Congress, I’d just ridden him a couple of times, and then I showed him. I won the limited hunter under saddle futurity and the Select hunter under saddle. My daughter, Cassidy, she won the 12-14 hunter under saddle, and Beth won the junior hunter under saddle there, so this is a double whammy. We’ve had the shows of a lifetime. I’m thrilled. Over 30 years, and to have Beth ride him is just the icing on the cake.
It sounds like he’s becoming a part of the family almost.Laurel: Mine usually do.
What do you call him?Laurel: "JJ." We kept his name. Alisa Bernhard, her mother raised him, Susan Bernhard, and they raised him, and I like to keep names on them.
What’s next?Beth: I don’t know what’s next. We’re going to teach him the eq for Laurel, because she loves to do that. Charlie might try driving him. (Turning to Laurel) He was actually really good the other day in the arena with the carts. He was scared of them at first, but he was very good when I rode him with the cart next to him. We’ll probably go to Arizona.Laurel: Yeah, Sun Circuit. Nothing for a while. He needs a little break and rest.Beth: We’ll work on his lead change. He has one, it just needs a lot of work. It’ll be good.Laurel: I’m in it for the long haul, so we’ll go slow. We might try jumping him in another year, but I want to give him a whole year with Beth and let her really get him just so solid in lead changes and everything else, and give him the time that he really needs to get solid. Then we’ll work on something else. But I want him to stay sound and happy. That’s our main goal. And that’s the main goal at Highpoint is to make sure they get what they need.
AQHA Professional Horseman Beth Case pats Look N Hott as he is named world champion in junior hunter under saddle. (Journal photo)