by Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse Journal
AQHA Professional Horseman Jay Starnes rides VS Check My Pulse to the 2011 world championship in 2-year-old western pleasure. (Journal photo)
Forty-four horses entered the 2011 AQHA World Championship Show 2-year-old western pleasure prelims November 12. Of the 15 returning to the November 15 finals, two had the same legendary dam, multiple world champion Vital Signs Are Good, aka “Lucy.”
Though not that common, it has happened before that half-siblings (with the same dam) have shown in the same World Show finals. This year, multiple jumping world champion Ferns Ruby had two foals in the jumping finals November 12, Rubys Work Of Art and Navier Stokes.
But half siblings that foaled the same year? This might be a first for that.
Lucy had two foals in 2009, a mare by One Hot Krymsun named VS Check My Pulse, and a stallion by RL Best Of Sudden named My Vital Valentine. When the placings were called, the mare, aka “Reba,” was left last in the arena to pick up the gold trophy, finishing first on four judges' cards. AQHA Professional Horseman Gil Galyean and Suddenly A Cool Lady picked up the reserve.
AQHA Professional Horseman Jay Starnes of Summerton, South Carolina, rode Reba to the win for owner Jane Humes of Fort Dodge, Iowa. The American Quarter Horse Journal caught up with Jay and Jane shortly after the win.
“(Reba) was very, very good,” Jay says. “She did everything I wanted her to do. She’s a great mare and fun to show.” He added that she’s been easy to train all year and “just wanted to do her job from day one.”
Jay won this class in 2005 with Robbie and Joan Schroeder’s I Like Hot Chips, and this win “feels great,” he says, “just like it did last time.”
“As far as my part (goes), all I did was pay the bills and stay out of the way,” Jane says. “(Jay) did it all!”
“(Reba is) just fantastic,” she says. “I got the chance (to buy her) and I took it. I flew out and saw her and rode her and bought her.”
Jane has shown since she was 12, first in 4-H and open shows. As an AQHA amateur, she’s shown several different events from over fences to western riding and trail. She earned the 2003 amateur high-point award in amateur pleasure driving.
“I think when I stopped riding the hunt seat horses,” Jane says, “it was about the time that AQHA started the novice (eligibility) by class, and I thought it would be fun to try those other events I’ve never really shown…. I didn’t want to jump (any longer) so I decided to go a little slower and buy a western pony.”
After the World Show, Reba is headed to Highpoint Performance Horses and the care of Jason Martin and Charlie Cole to get some well-earned downtime and then to gradually learn her lead changes.
“(I want to) see what her abilities are going to be in the western riding and trail,” Jane says. “We’ll show in the 3-year-old futurities and go at her pace, see what else she can do.
Get up-to-date on AQHA showing news at www.aqha.com/showing.
Jane bought Reba in July from breeder Kristen Galyean of Claremore, Oklahoma, but had been thinking about the mare as a prospect since January.
“But this is not the end. This is definitely not the end, this is just the beginning.”
Jay wants to thank everyone who’s helped him in his training career, especially his wife, AQHA Professional Horseman Kristy Starnes: “She’s always there,” he says. “She’s my eyes on the ground, just like I am for her.”
And how is he going to celebrate?
“I think I’m going to go to bed, actually,” he says with a smile. “Go get some dinner and sleep in in the morning … maybe?”