by Larri Jo StarkeyThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Paris Firewater and Jennifer Marie Arnold make a hard turn on the second barrel to claim the amateur barrel racing world championship November 11 at the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show in Oklahoma City. (Journal photo)
Jennifer Arnold drove to the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show in Oklahoma City with no expectations.
The Smyrna, Tennessee, resident had won barrel racing at the Palomino Horse Breeders of America World Show earlier this year, and she and her horse, Paris Firewater, were clicking, but Jennifer had never been to the AQHA World Show.
But she and “Lexus” knew what to do when they were presented with a barrel pattern. On her first trip to the World Show, Jennifer is going home a world champion.
“It’s surreal,” Jennifer said. “I’m excited. I almost can’t believe it myself. I didn’t expect to do this well. I knew I would come and do pretty good, but I had no idea this was going to happen.”
Jennifer and Lexus were third coming out of the preliminaries with a time of 16.225. For the finals, they dug even deeper, scorching a 16.008.
“She was fired from the first time I got on her and she’s normally very calm, so I knew she was going to give me a lot of speed,” Jennifer said. “Coming down the alley, it was pretty hard to hold her, but whenever she took off, she went straight to her spot and I could tell she was running hard. She was really getting it.”
Paris Firewater is a 2003 palomino mare by Fire Water Flit and out of Joanetta Doc by Docs Arky Sug. She was bred by Lorye Shea Wells of Lone Grove, Oklahoma. Jennifer, who bought the horse a year ago, says the mare is an automatic barrel horse.
“I concentrate hard on the dirt and where I want to send her to, and she does the rest,” Jennifer said. “You just set her up, and she’s a hard turner.”
Longtime friends Johnna and Travis Dobbs and Chad Crider convinced Jennifer that she should campaign Lexus for the World Show, so she hit two shows, got qualified and headed for Oklahoma City.
“It’s a dream come true,” Jennifer said. “I’ve always dreamed of succeeding in barrel racing, and this is definitely one of my goals.”
To celebrate, Jennifer and her husband, Brad, planned to return home for a fund-raising event for his charity, The Better Life Foundation. She thanked her husband, her friends and the veterans who were honored during a patriotic Veterans Day recognition.
“I want to thank God, because I think me and my husband wore his ear out today,” she said.
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.