2011 Youth World
Corey and Cydney Free of Port Allen, Louisiana, receive their world champion neck wreaths August 12 at the Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show. (Journal photo)
by Holly ClanahanThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Cydney Free wrapped her arms around her “little” brother, Corey, (who’s at least a head taller than her) and said, “I love him to death. Sometimes. Unless we argue and fight … which does happen.” Corey laughs and said, “I finally made her happy. Finally! After 16 years!”It just took a world championship in ranch sorting at the 2011 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show. The two siblings, bickering aside, made a good team. Cydney, who’s 19, admitted to the Journal that she does sometimes yell at her little brother when he’s not paying attention, “but I push him hard because I know he can do better than what he does sometimes.”Sixteen-year-old Corey said of his sister, “She’s a good rider, so I like riding with her, but it took a lot of patience to win with her. A lot.”“Thanks, little bro,” came the retort. Their horses are a less contentious subject. Corey rode Skeezixs Streak, a 19-year-old grandson of Smart Little Lena who has an interesting back story. “We’ve had him for a long time, and he’s my mom’s horse,” Corey said. “He had foundered when he was 4 or 5, and he was in a stall for 13 months without going out into the pasture. They said that she would never be able to ride him again, and my mom nursed him back to health, and I just won the world on him, so that’s a pretty cool story.“And I believe this is the last year I’m going to ride him. I think I’m going to pasture him out after this. This is a good one to go out on.”Cydney’s mount was Heza Peppy Fitz, a 14-year-old grandson of Doc Bar who holds two reserve youth world championships, in ranch sorting and team penning. Skeezixs Streak also previously won a reserve youth championship in team penning, and Corey, aboard a different horse, won the AQHYA world championship in ranch sorting in 2010, competing with a different partner, Jennifer Vesbach.That was Jennifer’s last year in youth, and this year is Cydney’s last at the Ford Youth World. So what’s Corey going to do for a partner next year? “I don’t know what I’m going to do,” he said. “I don’t have any more partners. I’ve got to find me a few. I might pick ‘em up off the side of the road or something. That’s going to be tough (to find one as good as his sister).”Cydney promised that she’ll be rooting him on. “I’m going to support my brother all the way. I’m going to help him and come watch him every year,” she said. The siblings from Port Allen, Louisiana, thanked their parents, Robin and Renee Free for the years of strong support. And they also thanked Megan Walsh, and Gary and Micki Rogers, who let them stay at their home in Oklahoma this week and practice.The ranch sorting class at the Ford Youth World saw 65 qualifying teams.