by Larri Jo StarkeyThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Chantz Stewart had a busy week at the Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show in Oklahoma City.
The 17-year-old from Cave Creek, Arizona, is the AQHYA secretary and had officer duties throughout the week. In addition, she competed in five events, showing in reining, cutting, heading, heeling, breakaway roping and working cow horse.
She was a little bit busy, so it’s no wonder that it took her until the last day of the show, August 13, to pick up a world championship trophy of her own.
While she was at it, she decided to pick up another trophy, as well. In working cow horse, Chantz was world champion with Shining Cielo and reserve world champion with Lone Star Chicolena.
“My sorrel horse I got reserve on, I probably would have won it on him, but I drug a lead and kinda got a little frazzled there but went on to try to do the best I could,” she said. “My buckskin mare that I won it on, she ended up doing better than I expected, actually. She’s trying to be a nice mare.”
On a day when the cattle were nice and fresh, Chantz’s cow was frisky as well, pushing Chantz and “Cielo” to run hard and show off their cow-handling abilities.
“That cow gave me a run for my money,” Chantz told the Journal. “(Cielo) can handle it. She’s a good mare; she’s fast enough.”
Chantz was one of several working cow horse competitors who took advantage of a cow horse clinic during the week, put on by National Reined Cow Horse Association luminaries Sam Rose and Todd Crawford. The chance to work cattle at Cary Chambers’ arena in Tuttle, Oklahoma, helped, Chantz said, because Cielo can get stuck on fence turns.
“That helped my buckskin to get around the turns, make sure she was coming through them,” she said. “Every once in a while, she’ll get a little bit tight, but for the most part, she’s good.”
Chantz works regularly with AQHA Professional Horseman Al Dunning, who has her horses in training, but this week she got coaching from Sam. They helped her come up with a mantra that kept her going during the busy week.
“I’m only as good as I can be,” she recited. “There is no other competition except for myself. I can’t let other scores get into my head, just show my horses to the best of my ability.”
After the full week, Chantz had one thought on an appropriate celebration for her first world championship: sleep.
Chantz Stewart and Shining Cielo circle their cow August 13 during the working cow horse finals at the 2011 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show. (Journal photo)