by Tara MatslerThe American Quarter Horse Journal
My Finishing Touch and AQHA Professional Horseman Ted Turner Jr. win 3-year-old geldings at the 2013 AQHA World Show for owner Elyse Nichols. (Journal photo)
My Finishing Touch is a family horse. And his relatives? They’re family, too.
So when the stately bay gelding walked out of the Jim Norick Arena on November 23 at the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show, his handler toting a gold trophy, it was a win for the whole family.
The gelding’s involvement with his owner-breeders, the Nichols family, goes much further back than 2010, the year he was foaled.
In March 1992, Claire Freeze Nichols of Pilot Point, Texas, purchased the 1984 chestnut mare Quite An Impression. A top 10 aged mares finalist at the AQHA World Show, Quite An Impression left a lasting impression on the Nichols’ breeding program.
Quite An Impression’s fourth foal was Tributes Impression, a daughter of Sierras Tribute. While Tributes Impression only earned a halter Register of Merit and a qualification to the AQHA World Show in amateur yearling fillies, she produced My Finishing Touch, by Mr Elusive.
Although Claire is listed as the breeder of My Finishing Touch, his ownership was transferred to her daughter, Elyse, in December 2012.
“He was born at our house, and two weeks after he was weaned, his mother was struck by lightning, so that’s how he got his name, My Finishing Touch,” Elyse told the Journal. “He was her last baby, and she had a lot of good babies for us, but he’s the last one.”
It seems that Tributes Impression certainly saved the best for last.
In 2012, My Finishing Touch and Elyse’s younger sister, Obbie, earned the 2-year-old geldings world title at the Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show. Then the bay gelding went on to earn silver trophies in amateur 2-year-old geldings (with Elyse) and 2-year-old geldings (with AQHA Professional Horseman Buddy Laney).
The gelding they call “Snowball,” thanks to the snowstorm on his foaling date, continued his winning ways in 2013, earning the Select 3-year-old geldings reserve world championship with Claire. At the 2013 AQHA World Show, My Finishing Touch finished fourth in amateur 3-year-old geldings with Elyse before claiming gold in 3-year-old geldings with AQHA Professional Horseman Ted Turner Jr., who has fit and trained the gelding the past two years.
“Today, he looked like the winner to me, but you never know. You really never know,” Elyse said humbly. “There were some really good horses out there; some horses that we’ve shown against for years.”
My Finishing Touch was up against the likes of reigning youth 3-year-old geldings world champion Vincenzo Zini and amateur 3-year-old geldings world champion Indefinable, as well as last year’s amateur and open 2-year-old world champion, Boys N Toys.
The Nicholses’ history with halter horses goes way back.
“My grandfather, Tip Freeze, was a horse addict and my father, Leon Freeze, is 82 and still a horse addict,” said Claire, who is an AQHA 30-year cumulative breeder. “On my father’s 82nd birthday, I took him over to Ted’s 'cause he was wanted to see My Finishing Touch.”
Clearly, to the Freezes and Nicholses, horses are family and family is horses.
“My Finishing Touch’s grandmother and his mother are buried at the house,” Claire explained. “Then his grandfather, Temon, is buried at the house.”
But with Elyse as My Finishing Touch’s official owner, she’s really the one calling the shots.
“He’s not going anywhere,” the young horsewoman said adamantly.
And with a laugh, she added, “We’re not even talking to anybody who wants to buy him.”
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.