by Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse Journal
RPL My Te Cheerful and AQHA Professional Horseman Ross Roark
“That’s 16 for him!” Vern Habighorst of Phoenix, said proudly.
The "him" is Vern’s 2004 gelding, RPL My Te Cheerful, aka “Henry.” He had just won the aged geldings world championship November 22 at the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show, led by AQHA Professional Horseman Ross Roark of Monahans, Texas.
It puts the gelding’s world championship trophy count at 16, all divisions combined. Vern won the amateur aged geldings with him November 13.
The American Quarter Horse Journal caught up with Vern and his wife, Rita, along with their trainer, Joe Engle of Whitesboro, Texas, just after the win.
“Really, he looks this good because of Joe,” Vern said.
“He’s incredible,” Joe said. “He’s the greatest Quarter Horse ever. He’s wonderful to be around, he’s very playful, he’s sweet and funny. Vern’s got these treats he gives him, and he’ll hear the paper crinkle and he’ll turn to look around the corner (in the barn).
“He’s a one-of-a-kind individual. Not only is he beautiful but he has great conformation and moves like a pleasure horse.”
Joe works Henry on a three-days-on, one-day-off schedule.
“It’s like an athlete: try to keep blood to muscle and keep him tight, but not overwork him, either,” Joe said. “With a great horse like him, you want to stay out of his way. It’s more of management and proper nutrition.”
“This is the 11th win for us, with him,” Vern said. It’s a great return to world championship form for the horse, who went through colic surgery in the spring.
Vern has shown Henry to amateur world championships, as has Vern and Rita’s son, Jeff’s, wife, Wendy Habighorst. Vern and Rita’s granddaughters, Monica and Kaylee Hamm, have shown Henry to youth titles.
Jeff also showed at this year’s World Show and won the amateur weanling geldings with Coolsified Secret.
Prior to this year’s show, Henry had $17,298 in AQHA World Show earnings. The gelding has won several All American Quarter Horse Congress grand championships, as well. Through October, he had earned 996 AQHA points, all divisions combined.
“We don’t know which (win) has been the most fun,” Rita added. “They’re all fun.”
By Hear The Cheers and out of My Te Telusive by Telusive, Henry was bred by Bobbie Arnold Atkinson of Henderson, Texas.
Henry is headed right now for some serious down-time after his busy World Show; at least a couple of months off.
“He’ll get more hay and more time to be a horse and pull a little weight off of him,” Joe said.
The Journal asked Vern, Rita and Joe to let us “interview” Henry, and here’s what we found out:
His least favorite workout: “He hates to work in the heat,” Joe said. “He does NOT like to get hot. But he loves the fresh air.”
During his free time: “He lies down,” Vern said.
Joe added, “He lies down six or eight times a day; more than a normal horse. Vern and Rita had a camera system on him so I could check him throughout the night. It’s not normal for him if he doesn’t lie down six or so times, for up to an hour.
His favorite food is: “Anything!” Vern said, and Rita added, “He’s not fussy, but he likes to dunk his hay in the water.”
“We clean his water three times a day because he will fill big troughs of water with more hay than water, just about every day!” Joe said.
Where would he go on vacation? “Muscle Beach, or something?” Joe said, and turned to Vern.
“Oh, we’d take him to Hawaii with us,” Vern said, with no hesitation.
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.