by Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Telling My Secretz and Luke Castle
Melinda Clark of Albion, Illinois, was already tickled pink with her 2013 AQHA World Championship Show experience – she led her weanling colt, Telling My Secretz to an amateur reserve world championship on November 15.
But she and her husband, Mike, kept their fingers crossed for the November 22 open class: “Anything can happen,” she told The American Quarter Horse Journal, “but we’ve been pretty fortunate, the judges have liked our little guy.”
They did again. With Luke Castle of Wayne, Oklahoma, at the lead, the five judges gave the little colt three firsts, a second and a third to give him the world championship.
The colt also won at the Iowa Breeder’s Futurity, and the Clarks’ daughter, Casey Relleke, showed him to win the amateur weanling colts at the All American Quarter Horse Congress.
“We made a deal,” Melinda said between she and Casey. “She graduates (with a nursing degree) in December and she couldn’t show (at the World Show) because it was through the week and she’d miss class. So we made a pact: (She’d) show him at the Congress, because it would show on a Sunday … and I showed him last week in the amateur.”
The best thing about the colt for Melinda is his good mind: “(A horse has) got to be something that I’m comfortable with showing. That’s the first thing I asked (her trainer) Andy (Staton of Shelbyville, Illinois) … especially with a stud colt and a weanling … is this something I’m going to be able to show?
“And he has been so much fun, he is a sweetheart and easy to show. I’m just really grateful for that. We’ve had quite a ride.”
Melinda showed halter as a youth and has just been back into showing for about three years. A retired nurse, she works alongside Mike in her father’s John Deere dealership.
“Mike and I had talked about (getting back into halter) for a while before we did,” she said. “I just loved it. I always kept up with the Journal. I just enjoyed the good horses and the people – you make some great friends through all this. I love the Quarter Horse and showing.
As a family, they agreed to “play” again.
“Now we’re hooked again,” she said with a smile. “I just love the Quarter Horses and we get to work with some pretty good people, pretty special people.”
The Clarks bought the colt from his breeder, the Adams family of Patoka, Illiniois: Dick, son Rick and Rick’s son, Trent. The colt is by Telasecret and out of Priceless Te by Sierramus. Melinda saw a photo of the colt that Andy sent her, and she bought him the next day.
Rick said the colt was something special from the day he was born.
“We’ve raised a lot of babies, and he is, hands down, one of the best we’ve ever raised,” Rick said. “We’ve been fortunate enough to raise another world champion, (2008 amateur weanling colts world champion) Say CK … Jeff and Andy Staton had him, also.
“This colt was just amazing – he had a (big) hind leg when he was born and it’s done nothing but get bigger and bigger. And a wonderful-minded colt.
Rick said the colt takes after his good-minded dam, Priceless Te, “as kind a mare as you’ll ever have … her babies are the same.”
Like Say CK, Telling My Secretz was fit by trainer Andy Staton and his dad, Jeff, of Shelbyville, Illinois.
“He was real easy (to fit),” Jeff said. “They’ve got to be just born with it. My son has a really good eye; he’s really good at picking them out. A lot of other people could have won this like us, if they got to that colt.
“Andy told me about the colt – he said you’ve got to see him and when we went to get him, he just blew my mind. He’s the best thing I’ve seen in 20 years.”
A big part of campaigning a weanling through the fall show season is just keeping them healthy and happy – and Rick and Jeff agreed that the colt’s mind was his biggest asset for that.
“His good mind helps him,” Rick said. “He rests a lot. He’s just so mild-mannered. I think that contributes a lot to him being able to keep going.”
Melinda had thanks for the Statons and the Adams both.
“And Luke Castle, he has shown (the colt) every time he’s been out, and I’m just so grateful for him and (his wife) Abby and what they’ve done for us, taking him into the ring,” Melinda said. “And the judges who’ve appreciated him … I’m so grateful for them placing him like they have.
“(Telling My Secretz) gets a break now!” she added. “Time off!”
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.