by Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse Journal
AQHA Professional Horseman Jason Smith leads A Zhivago to the 2011 2-year-old stallions world championship. (Journal photo)
Trainer Jason Smith of Whitesboro, Texas, led Terry and Rhonda Tippin’s stallion A Zhivago to the 2-year-old stallions world championship November 17.
The win caps an incredible championship season for the couple from Palm Bay, Florida. Rhonda led the horse to the 2-year-old stallions win at the 2011 Adequan Select World Championship Show and then Terry led him to the amateur stallions grand championship at the All American Quarter Horse Congress.
They then hauled to Oklahoma City for the stallion’s first AQHA World Championship Show appearance. During Bank of America Amateur Week, Terry led the stallion to the amateur 2-year-old stallions world championship, and now the horse wins the class in FedEx Open Week.
“We have been on one glorious ride!” Rhonda says. The Journal caught up with her not long after the win. “It’s a horse show, so you never know. We love him; he’s a great horse … he’s easy to show. But it is five guys’ opinions, so you just sit there and keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best.”
Unfortunately, Terry had to return to Florida for work but he watched online via the Pfizer Webcam in the Norick Arena.
“I was a nervous wreck watching it (in the stands); he was a nervous wreck trying to watch the live feed, he was having trouble,” Rhonda says. “Thank goodness Dewey Smith was on the phone giving him a play-by-play of the whole class.”
A 2009 son of Kid Coolisfied and out of The Coolest Spirit by Coolest, the stallion was bred by Roger and Debbie Graham of Lebanon, Tennessee. The Tippins bought the stallion from Wayne and Judy Jordan of Pilot Point, Texas, during the 2010 Congress, where Judy led him to the amateur stallions grand championship. The Tippins then sent the horse to Jason and Julie Smith.
“We’ve owned quite a few nice horses,” Rhonda says, thinking back on their more than 20 years of raising and showing American Quarter Horses; they’ve been married for 34 years. “We had a stud that we did well with (Dominant Cheers) and his offspring.
“But this horse has been spectacular,” she continues. “He’s been the best of the best. If you are going to change and get another horse, you always look to improve, and each year, I think we have gotten better and better and this guy, what else can you do? He has never let us down.”
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Rhonda expresses thanks to the Jordans for letting them purchase the stallion. And she especially thanks the entire Smith family – Jason, Julie, Cooper and Shyanne.
“They are a wonderful bunch of people; they are our trainers and friends,” Rhonda says. “They do an outstanding job; it’s a family effort. Really and truly, we could not do it without Jason.”
For now, the Tippins are just enjoying the world championship experience. They “haven’t discussed” yet what the plans for A Zhivago are: “We’ve been at the top of our game … what else can you do?”
She adds, “It’s wonderful to show … This is our home away from home. We love coming to the horse shows. The horse people are special people: They pull together; we have a lot of fun; the camaraderie is great … Our horse showing is our vacation throughout the year; we love it.”