by Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Since winning both open and amateur 3-year-old geldings at his first AQHA World Championship Show appearance in 2007, RPL My Te Cheerful, aka “Henry,” has been tough to beat in aged geldings halter classes. His AQHA aged gelding world championships alone include the open in 2008; 2009 youth, Select and open; and 2010 youth, Select, open and amateur.
On November 5, his owner Josh Weakly of Shelbyville, Illinois, led Henry to the 2011 amateur aged geldings world championship. On November 17, AQHA Professional Horseman Ross Roark led the big bay to the title in the open.
“This horse has been so special,” Josh says. “We’ve won just about every horse show we’ve been with him. He’s just a cool, cool horse.”
What’s even more impressive about the gelding’s wins is that the judges typically agree about where he should be on their cards.
“He had five firsts (from the judges) in the amateur,” Josh adds, “and I just looked, he had five firsts in the open.”
Josh admits to being “kind of superstitious” and hesitating to watch when someone else is showing his horse – like Ross today in the open with Henry.
“Of any of (my show horses) I’ve ever been confident about doing good, it’s been him,” he says. “A lot of times I don’t watch (my horses show), and I always have him.”
Josh and his wife, Kaleena, purchased Henry in January of this year from Vern and Rita Habighorst of Blue Ribbon Custom Tack in Phoenix. The horse is in the hunt for year-end high-point honors and Josh plans to aim for that.
“I do have him sold back to Vernon next year,” Josh says. “I think Vern’s grandkids are going to show him next year. There are no plans for Henry to get much time off!”
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Josh is quick to point out that Henry “is a true show horse,” one that genuinely loves to show.
“He takes such good care of himself; he sleeps more than anything,” he says. “I don’t think ol’ Henry’d have it any other way. I’m excited he’s going back to a good home. I think he’s going to stay on the road.”
Josh and Kaleena show horses together – Kaleena qualified for the World Show in six amateur events, most with her mare, Hours Yours And Mine.
“We have shown more this year than we have in the past,” Josh says. “My wife’s leading the all-around in the amateur this year right now, and it’s pretty close so we’re going to have to keep doing that.
“We’ve had a great year. The horses are a big part of our life and we both love it,” Josh says. “We do it together. There’s not too often that I don’t go along, and sometimes I’m flying back and forth to go to the horse show.
“You know, I think this is one of those things that you’ve got to do together, and we have the whole way.”
AQHA Professional Horseman Ross Roark led RPL My Te Cheerful to the 2011 aged geldings world championship. (Journal photo)