by Tara ChristiansenThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Lonnie Willen of Burkesville, Kentucky, receives help from his grandson, Lance, with the coveted AQHA world championship trophy. Lonnie and Judys At The Spa won junior pole bending with a total on two of 41.321 seconds. (Journal photo).
Lonnie Willen of Burkesville, Kentucky, isn’t quite ready to celebrate – he and Judys At The Spa need to be on their A-game for their performance in amateur pole bending on November 8.
But that doesn’t mean that the duo can’t relish in their world championship in junior pole bending from November 7 at the 2011 AQHA World Championship Show.
“I’ve got to run her again tomorrow night, but maybe I’ll wait ‘til I get home to celebrate,” Lonnie says with a laugh.
Judys At The Spa, a 2006 chestnut mare by Bulzeye Dan and out of Spa City (TB) by Flying Chevron (TB), turned in her best performance yet for Lonnie. The duo ran for 20.292 seconds in the finals and had a total on two of 41.321 seconds.
“I’ve been feeding her real good and she’s been hyper, and I rode her and rode her and rode her and wore her down,” he says. “She’s working better than when I first brought her here.”
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But does Lonnie plan on changing his game plan for the next finals? Nope.
“I’m just going to ride her like I rode her tonight and maybe it’ll work,” he says.
Judys At The Spa will head back to Kentucky with Lonnie and his wife, Sharon, who owns the mare, but Lonnie is keeping their options open for the future.
“I’ll keep riding her, but if I get a chance, I’ll sell her. I like to start them and sell them if I can,” he explains. “If I don’t sell her, I’ll keep riding her.”
But who knows, Lonnie says there’s a fair chance that we might see his grandson Lance sitting in the saddle. And it’s pretty clear that Lance already has his eye on one of those coveted gold trophies – he even managed to hijack Lonnie’s before they had left the Jim Norick Arena.