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November 7-22, 2014, Oklahoma City

Amateur 2-Year-Old Fillies

Giancarla wins her first world championship with Josh Weakly at the lead.

Giancarla and Josh Weakly

Giancarla and Josh Weakly

“We try to buy horses we like and that we think are going to be competitive,” Josh Weakly of Shelbyville, Illinois, told The American Quarter Horse Journal.

And last year, he had spotted Giancarla, a 2011 chestnut mare by Gianni and out of Miss Cool Diva by Cool Scotch, bred by the Nacogdoches Boys Ranch of Nacogdoches, Texas.

“We liked her last year as a yearling,” he said. “And just never had any luck trying to buy her.”

Giancarla was the 2012 open Region Nine champion yearling mare, and then won the Novice youth championship in yearling mares at the Nutrena AQHA East Novice Championship with Brandon Spidle of Nacogdoches, Texas.

Then in early summer, AQHA Professional Horseman Ross Roark called Josh: “He said, ‘They want to sell this mare and I think we need to buy her.’ ”

Ross got the mare qualified for the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show in the open, and then sent her up to Andy Staton to help Josh get her qualified in the amateur.

“She’d been turned out when we got her, but he had her dead ready,” Josh said. “She showed so good for me. She’s real pretty-headed and good-legged and got a lot of muscle. Just a very, very nice mare.”

Josh’s instinct paid off on November 14, when he walked out of the Jim Norick Arena with the world championship in 2-year-old fillies.

“My horse trainers, they do a good job,” he said. “They pick the horses out and get them ready to show. I couldn’t do it without them. My wife (Kaleena) is very supportive – I’m very fortunate.”

Josh has had a great 2013 World Show so far – he led Elusive Premonition (2008, Misters Premonition-An Elusive Miss by Mr Elusive) to the aged mares world championship on November 13; and won the amateur weanling fillies with FG Coco Chanel (Image Of Kid-Shes Totally A Lady by Im Tee Totally Cool).

It’s a family affair for Josh and his wife, Kaleena. While Josh focuses on showing halter, Kaleena shows the all-around events and western pleasure. She made the 2013 amateur trail finals with Hours Yours And Mine, aka “Blondie,” the mare she won the 2011 AQHA all-around high-point award with.

“I love (showing horses),” Josh said. “It’s one of those things where you just have the desire to want to do it. … I’m lucky to get to do it.”

He spoke highly of his fellow competitors in the pen: “There are so many of them that are good friends of ours. We all compete and we have our day. … We all want each other to do good and for the best horse to win. I think everybody who does the horses shares that feeling.”

Josh is positive about the halter horse industry right now, with opportunities such as the World Conformation Horse Association Breeder’s Championship Futurity, the National Halter Championship program, The Big Money Futurity, etc.

“I think there is a lot of interest out there,” he said. “These futurities have made the babies marketable. … We’ve had good numbers here at this competition… I think the halter industry is really good right now.”

He added: “But this is my favorite show of the year … this is our main goal. The prestige of winning at this horse show – this is the best of the best. AQHA does a great job and puts on a great horse show. This is the best facility on the planet – you can’t beat it. Oklahoma City has great eats – that’s a big thing to me!

“It’s just the prestige of it. AQHA has done such a good job of getting us great judges, good times to show the horses. It’s so relaxed and laid back.”

Josh anticipates being especially busy next spring, but for different reasons than a new horse showing season. He and Kaleena are expecting their first child in January.

“When my wife and I got married, we might have been at a stage where we weren’t even going to have kids,” he said with a smile. But watching good friends with their children has changed that. “To have that special relationship with one of your own, it’s exciting (to think about). … We’re really looking forward to it.”

It's your moment; make it last forever! Videos of individual runs and class finals from the AQHA World Championship Show are available for purchase at www.aqha.com/mymoment. Plus, you can watch AQHA World Show video footage 24/7. This new service is optimized for Internet Explorer 10, Safari and most mobile Web browsers.