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

November 16, 2013

Freestyle Horsemanship

Three AQHA Professional Horsemen wowed the crowd with their creative freestyle horsemanship patterns at the 2013 AQHA World Show.

By Alexis Bennett
The American Quarter Horse Journal

AQHA Professional Horseman Lainie DeBoer

AQHA Professional Horseman Lainie DeBoer


Three AQHA Professional Horsemen entertained a packed Jim Norick arena with their creative horseback antics November 16, at the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show.

All three put their own spin on the freestyle horsemanship pattern to create a fun showcase the talents of American Quarter Horses and their riders.

The rules? There aren’t many. Riders have free choice of pattern, music, costume, riding style (western or English) and, of course, horse.

AQHA Professional Horseman Lainie DeBoer strided out with 2001 gelding PS Rusty Bay Doc to “Girl On Fire” by Alicia Keyes. The song was fitting, as Lainie has definitely been on fire at this year's show. She and the amateurs in her barn have claimed world title after world title, as well as the Farnam All-Around Amateur title, at this year’s show. She’s certainly talented, but who knew that she could ride bridleless and jump hands-free?

Lainie and her horse were ready for battle with their Spartan-esq armor and fighting regalia, complete with crested helmet. They jumped over the AQHA banner completely hands-free, gracefully changed leads and spun, bridleless with only a tack rein.

Next, AQHA Professional Horseman Ryan Cottingim and black gelding Tall Dark N Choclate proved they were b-b-b-bad, bad to the bone when they sauntered out with riding leathers and chains. The pair changed leads to the beat of George Thorogood’s “Bad To The Bone” all the way down the arena and back as the crowd cheered loudly.

And AQHA Professional Horseman Karen Graham acted out a skit on horseback about "Little Johnny's" lack of enthusiasm to learn how to ride his horse. While his “mom,” (AQHA Professional Horseman Leslie Lange), clad in curlers and a bathrobe, gabbed nearby on the phone, "Little Johnny” sped around the arena on horseback. Even the spectacular antics – the sliding stops, lead changes and impressive spins – didn’t catch mom’s attention. Karen's freestyle routine was executed to Dire Strait’s “Walk of Life.”

The horsemen gladly volunteered to take part in the freestyle horsemanship event to raise money for the AQHA Professional Horsemen's Crisis Fund.

The fund is an aid program that helps horsemen and trainers in times of crisis and need.

Besides three judges – AQHA President Johne Dobbs, AQHA Executive Committee Member Sandy Arledge and singer/songwriter Denny Strickland – the crowd also cast its vote by dropping money into the bucket of their favorite competitor.

This year, there were two winners. One winner for the most money collected (more than $1,000), and the other based on the judges' scores.

Karen Graham was the people's choice, collecting the most money of any performer. She will have a $500 check donated to the crisis fund in her name. Lainie volunteered to match the $500 donation.

Lainie was the winner based on the judges' cumulative scores.