November 6-21, 2015, Oklahoma City
Journal at the World

November 11, 2013

Ranch Pleasure Amateurs

Amateurs are set to take their chance at becoming the first amateur world champion in ranch pleasure.

By Larri Jo Starkey
The American Quarter Horse Journal

Emily Jo Starkey Peak

Emily Peak is one of 79 amateurs who will be vying for the first amateur world championship in ranch pleasure. (Journal photo)

Ranch pleasure is one of the most popular classes AQHA has ever introduced. In fact, 79 amateurs are poised to compete November 12 in the preliminaries for a chance to ride in the November 14 finals for the first amateur world championship in the class at the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show.

Let’s meet a few of the amateurs and talk about their trip to Oklahoma City.

Stapleton, Alabama
Horse: Islehava Mocha Latte
2004 bay roan gelding (HQH Cuttin Snip-Quincey Page Lee by Blueboy Quincy)
Bred by Foothills Ranch and Miles Snider of Roseisle, Manitoba
Emily’s journey to Oklahoma City: “Two hours into my trip, my truck broke down,” Emily said. Emily called a friend, Ronald Sullivan, who brought parts and drove an hour and half to help her get her rig moving.

“Long story short, I was on the side of the road for six hours,” she said.

When she got to Shreveport, Louisiana, Lynn Walker and Allen Jordan insisted on Emily using their truck to haul to Oklahoma City.

“I’m just so blessed to be here,” Emily said. “I said, ‘I can never repay this debt,’ and Lynn said, ‘It’s not about paying it back, it’s about paying it forward.’ ”

Is Emily going to be the first amateur world champion in ranch pleasure?
“My plan is to keep a leg on each side. That’s the only requirement I’m putting on myself.”

Caldwell, Texas
Horse: THC The Whiskey Wood
2005 buckskin stallion (Four Black Bird-JR Hootiewood by MJH Rosewood Ike)
Bred by Charles W. Thompson of Red Springs, North Carolina
John’s journey to Oklahoma City: “I was out of horses for 19 years,” John said. “I moved back home from Colorado to Texas and bought a little place and said, ‘You know what? I think I want another horse.’ So I bought one, and that turned into 22.”

John started showing in reining a year ago, and his trainer, Van Luse, suggested he add ranch pleasure.

“I’ve just enjoyed the heck out of it,” he said. “It’s a fun class. I enjoy the thought that you have to do the speed transitions. It’s a little tricky. Some people say it’s easy, and I challenge them to try it, especially the patterns here in Oklahoma City that aren’t so easy. It’s a good mental break for ‘Whiskey.’ I think everybody should do it.”

Is John going to be the first amateur world champion in ranch pleasure?
“I think I’ve got a good chance. It might as well be me.”

Christiana, Tennessee
Horse: Arrogant Native
1993 palomino gelding (Calts Neat Star-Blonde Native by Sparkling Native (TB))
Bred by Jackie Martin of San Marcos, California; owned by Brittany D. Franks of Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Lydia’s journey to Oklahoma City: Lydia has been a hunter rider in AQHA shows since the 1990s, showing in youth and then amateur classes. Her first AQHA World Show was in 2003, and in March, she started riding in ranch pleasure. She showed in hunters also until some ill health forced her out of the saddle for a while.

“I only started riding again a couple of weeks ago,” Lydia said. “(My horse) is 20. I lease him from a lesson program. He does IEA for reining. He’s in good shape because the kids have been riding him and getting him legged up for me.”

Though Lydia is accustomed to preparing for the World Show, ranch pleasure was different.

“I was thinking, ‘I don’t know what to do!’” she said. “I feel like such a beginner. It’s funny how different it is, but it’s new for everybody, so I’m not the only one.”

Is Lydia going to be the first amateur world champion in ranch pleasure?
“I hope so. We’ll try.”

Grand Junction, Colorado
Horse: Sailon Sweet Josie
2004 sorrel mare (Ruby Sailor Joe-Docs Rockin Ruby by Sugs Scorpio)
Bred by Cheryl B. Livingston of Loma, Colorado
Carol’s journey to Oklahoma City: “When I got into reining 20 years ago, I bred by mare to a top reining stud, Topsail Cody, and we got this great little stud, Ruby Sailor Joe,” Carol said. “We did reined cow horse and a little cutting and another lady wanted to breed to him, so she did. When this foal was born, she said, ‘You need to come and see this foal.’ Then the vet said, ‘You need to see this foal.’ So I went out to see the foal and bought the mare and the foal.”

The bond was almost immediate.

“It’s been a journey from there,” Carol said. “She’s mine and she takes care of me.”

At the first of 2013, trainer Aaron Ralston showed “Josie” in open ranch pleasure and won. That sparked Carol’s interest, and she tried the class, too. She qualified, and she’s at her first World Show.

“It’s a little intimidating, but when you get down to the nitty-gritty, it’s all people with their horses doing our own thing and having fun,” she said.

Is Carol going to be the first amateur world champion in ranch pleasure?
“You bet!”