November 7-22, 2014, Oklahoma City

Amateur Western Horsemanship

Owner-breeder-exhibitor Stephanie Richardson claims her world championship on a homebred.

Kickin Axe In Levis and Stephanie Richardson

Stephanie Richardson stretches Kickin Axe In Levis into an extended lope November 13 on her way to winning horsemanship on her homebred gelding at the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show. (Journal photo)

Stephanie Richardson of Wilsonville, Oregon, just looked out in her own stable when she wanted a nice horse.

That’s where she saw her favorite mare of all time, Lazy Levis, and decided she wanted another one just like the first one.

“I wanted to duplicate her is what I was trying to do with the breeding program,” Stephanie said November 13 in her exclusive Journal interview.

So she bred Lazy Levis to Sudden Inclination, and the resulting foal, Kickin Axe In Levis, carried her to her first world championship in horsemanship at the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show.

“He was really good (tonight),” she said. “He was on. He was really good for the prelims and he’s been good since he’s been here and we just stayed on track, warming him up like we normally would at home without overworking the pattern. He was a really good boy.”

“Charles” is a 2007 chestnut gelding by Sudden Inclination and out of Lazy Levis by Investment Creditor. Owner-breeder-exhibitor Stephanie has him in full-time training with AQHA Professional Horseman Kristy McCann of Graham, Washington, but she takes him home for rides frequently.

That partnership paid off in the Jim Norick Arena at Oklahoma State Fair Park when their tight pattern and clean rail work put them first on four judges’ cards.

The finals horsemanship pattern, a long, demanding one, asked for both flying and simple lead changes, and extensions of all the gaits.

“My favorite part of the pattern was maybe the (extended lope),” Stephanie said. “I was trying to go fast and stay in position and he was going pretty good. He was dialed in. I think the whole pattern was pretty good. I was really present in the pattern, trying to go through every transition and stay on task and not get stressed with each part of the pattern.”

Stephanie, who had an inkling that the judges might call for the exhibitors to drop their stirrups, prepared for that call.

“Oh, yeah, I took ibuprofen before my ride,” she said. “He’s actually quite bouncy.”

On the rail, Stephanie mentally examined each part of her form, going down through all her body parts to stay straight in the saddle.

“And then you go through the checklist again,” she said.

When Stephanie isn’t showing horses, she’s working with her husband, Randy, in his computer consulting business, even when they’re at horse shows.

“He’s so supportive,” she said. “We travel together, and we work out in the trailer all day and all night and do the horse thing.”

Charles might get extra pats for his world championship performance, but Stephanie is going to have to go right back to work in her trailer office.

“I put a lot of people off today saying I was out of the office,” she said.

She was busy winning a world championship.

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.