July 2011

Velvet in Region One

July 22, 2011

Showmanship and halter exhibitors crowd the ring July 21 for the Region One Championship in Langley, British Columbia.

By Larri Jo Starkey

Jessica Burton shows to Gary Reynolds and Allen Mitchels at the Region One Championship in Langley, British Columbia.

Showing in velvet in July? Sure, why not, especially if you're in beautiful British Columbia, where the weather is fine and the people are friendly.

On July 21, the second day of the Region One Championship, the day began with halter and showmanship at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley. World Conformation Horse Association classes mixed in among the AQHA classes.

Later in the afternoon, National Snaffle Bit Association classes Read the rest of this entry »

Shank Style

July 22, 2011

Here’s some professional advice on lead shank use and look.

By Christine Hamilton in The American Quarter Horse Journal

horse with lead shank

The release of pressure is very important when using a lead shank on a horse. Journal photo.

Whether you’re in the show ring or the breeding shed, there is a rhyme and reason to the way a lead shank, or “stud” shank, is used. The Journal asked AQHA Professional Horsewoman Kathy Smallwood for her advice on this invaluable, yet often misused, piece of tack.

Too Much
“The hardest thing to teach someone is a good hold on a shank,” Kathy says. “I see people either yanking on the chain too much or holding onto the horse with a constant hold,” she says. “After a while, the horse gets dull to the chain. And if you pick, pick, pick, you’re just going to end up picking a fight, and that’s with any animal, not just a horse. Read the rest of this entry »

2011 Gotland, Sweden

July 21, 2011

Amy Heartfield, AQHA’s international intern, and the Texas Tech University horsemanship clinic team teach riders on the island of Gotland, Sweden.

In Visby

Kelsey Stokes, True Burson, Luke England, Amy Heartfield and Mattie Dunshee just finished up a clinic in Gotland, Sweden. Gotland, an island outside of Sweden, is popular not only for tourists from around the world, but for western riding enthusiasts. Photo by Ask Hyldgaard.

By AQHA International Intern Amy Heartfield

Right after their arrival in Gotland, Sweden, the Texas Tech University horsemanship clinic team got the opportunity to watch a trotting race, as well as a Swedish playday. The playday included classes such as ranch trail, reining and roping, as well as skiing behind horses. After trying their hand at arena skiing, the team settled in to teach their first three-day clinic.

Topics in the clinic covered everything from basic horsemanship to spins and rollbacks. There were approximately 20 people that attended the clinic, and they were interested in many different aspects of western riding. The participants were divided into groups so that they could have more one-on-one instruction. These groups rotated to different arenas to work on what they were most interested in.  One arena had a trail course in it, one had a horsemanship pattern, and one arena worked on reining.

Read the rest of this entry »

Travel Safely

July 21, 2011

Good biosecurity both at home and on the road will help keep your horses healthy.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Pfizer Animal Health

two horses looking over fence

Take the appropriate precautions to protect your horses. Journal photo.

With the summer show season in full swing, many owners are traveling with their American Quarter Horses to events across the country. Keeping horses healthy when traveling presents some challenges, but careful management and simple biosecurity precautions can help protect horses from exposure to disease. Read the rest of this entry »

Life After Youth

July 20, 2011

The 2011 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show is a chance for competitors to showcase years of hard work with their horses, but what many don’t realize is that it’s also the chance to launch their collegiate riding career.

Parris Rice, the 2009 and 2010 Ford Youth World champion in hunt seat equitation, signed with the Baylor University Women's Equestrian Team, which competes in Varsity Equestrian. Journal photo.

You work with your one horse all year, or maybe for many years, and you get one shot to make it all count when you step into the Jim Norick Arena at the Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show.

As you walk around the warm-up pen in the Super Barn, you push out of your mind the fact that your horse has been anticipating a lead change or scotching on his stops. Gone are the worries that you need to make this run count to make your parents proud, to make your trainer pleased and to earn yourself another ride in the finals.

The ability to control your mental game is what can make the difference between a finals qualifying run or a long drive home. This ability is also what gives successful collegiate equestrian riders an edge against their competitors.

Read the rest of this entry »

Cowboys and Aliens

July 20, 2011

How two Western icons went from “Gunsmoke” to this new movie.

By Tom Moates

Buck Taylor, center, with his sons Cooper, left, and Matt, right, during the filming of the opening scene. Photo by Zade Rosenthal/Universal Studios and DreamWorks II Distribution Co. LLC

Editor’s Note: “Cowboys and Aliens” is a big-budget, Quarter Horse-heavy film that opens in theaters July 29. The August issue of America’s Horse magazine – which goes exclusively to AQHA members – takes a great behind-the-scenes look at the horses and horsemen involved. Here, we’ll give you a look at two longtime Hollywood horsemen who were involved in the project, actor Buck Taylor and wrangler Jack Lilley.

The opening scene of “Cowboys and Aliens” stars an actor celebrated for his many Western roles, Buck Taylor, and his two sons, professional stunt men Matt and Cooper Taylor. Many remember Buck from playing Newly O’Brien in more than 100 episodes of “Gunsmoke” and the dozens of movies and other TV shows he has acted in over the past half century. He is also renowned for his talents as an artist and is featured in this year's America's  Horse in Art Show & Sale, which kicks off August 13 at the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum.

“I’ve done a lot of shows with Jack (Lilley),” Buck says. “I’ve known Jack most of my life. In fact, he doubled me on ‘Gunsmoke’ one time doing a roping sequence because I was left-handed, and he was left-handed.

“I was so fortunate to be on ‘Gunsmoke,’ and I rode a Quarter Horse on that show. His name was ‘Ash,’ and Casey Tibbs brought him from South Dakota to California and picked up on him in rodeos, then he became a great movie horse. The horse I rode (in ‘Cowboys and Aliens’), his name was ‘Drifter’ (registered as Hardluck Lynx). They really took care of me and my two sons on the horses. They had over a hundred stunt men in it, all good hands, and the actors rode real well.”

One very important job of the wrangler is to find the right mount for each actor for a foolproof filming experience, Buck explains. The Lilleys are experts with this often very tricky task.

“Every actor will tell you he can ride,” Buck says, “and most every actor can’t. But (Jack and his son Clay) know that, and they don’t embarrass them. They just say, ‘Wait a minute, maybe this horse over here will be better suited for you.’ ”

That savvy comes from a career in the movie business that stretches back 53 years for Jack, and he was recently recognized with his own tile on Santa Clarita, California’s Walk of Western Stars.

And actually, the Lilley family’s history reaches back even farther than that.

“My father started in the ’30s, and he worked in the pictures,” Jack says. “He went into the horse rental end of it, and that is a wrangler. My children, Clay and his brother, Clint, and both their children, they’ve all worked in the business, so that’s four generations of us right there.

“My daddy was an inspector for the American Quarter Horse Association for years – John Lilley. He also was a judge in the Quarter Horse world. I’ve been raised up around the American Quarter Horse Association my whole life. … I’m still an active member. There’s no other horse, disposition-wise (better for movie work), and even my falling horses – you know, they take a shot and fall – they’ve been registered Quarter Horses. They just stand the act better than anything that I ever worked with, and I’ve worked with all kinds of show horses all my life. If I’ve owned one, I’ve owned 30,000 of them, so I think I’m a pretty good judge on disposition in these kinds of horses.”

You could probably count Buck as a pretty good judge of horse flesh, too. He has bred, trained and ridden American Quarter Horses for many years. His wife, Goldie, is an accomplished barrel racer, and the couple often breed their mares with her favorite sport in mind.

“I love my horses,” Buck says. “I rode three colts tonight. My wife likes the Flit Bar-Sugar Bar horses for barrel racing, and we’ve got some with a little Dash For Cash. We’ve got 17 right now, from yearlings on up. My rope horse is 16, she’s a double-bred Doc Bar mare. She’s awesome. Her name is ‘Doc,’ even though she’s a female.”

Besides the obvious Doc Bar connection, the horse got her name from the episode of “Gunsmoke” titled, “Doc Sam,” where a new doctor comes to town, and Doc Sam, to everyone’s surprise, is a female doctor.

The ability to work on horseback certainly draws Buck to movies like “Cowboys and Aliens,” but this time around, there was another perk.

“I’ll tell you what really moved me on the movie (‘Cowboys and Aliens’) – working with Matt and Cooper,” Buck says. “Especially when they’re stunt men and I’m an actor, I don’t get a chance to work with them all that much. I had a son named Adam, who was the first assistant director on ‘Tombstone,’ and he got killed in a motorcycle accident in 1994. Then my dad (“Dub” Taylor, an actor from the early days of Hollywood Westerns) passed away right after that. So, before we did this scene, I looked at Matt and Cooper … before the director said ‘Action,’ I said, ‘Boys, let’s make this good for my dad and Adam.’

“That was thrilling for me. It was the very first time that all three of us were together (on a film).”


Fix My Horse

July 20, 2011

A pro offers some advice on presenting a more polished look in hunter under saddle classes.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

horse and rider

AQHA Professional Horseman Leslie Lange suggests narrowing the hands for hunter under saddle. Journal photo.

This month in The American Quarter Horse Journal, learn the ins and outs of hoof cracks, how to become a horse trainer and more. One of our favorite stories features AQHA Professional Horsewoman Leslie Lange helping a hunter under saddle rider obtain a more polished look. Here is a preview of that story. Read the rest of this entry »

Guess That Horse

July 19, 2011

AQHA’s Guess That Horse Contest, sponsored by The American Quarter Horse Journal, takes place Wednesdays at 1 p.m. CDT!

American Quarter Horse

Who could this American Quarter Horse be?

Welcome to Guess That Horse. Today’s winner receives a one year subscription to  The American Quarter Horse Journal.

When the contest is live, ten hints will be posted, one at a time, every few minutes on this page. Refresh your browser periodically for new hints. Read the rest of this entry »

2011 Region Three All-Arounds

July 19, 2011

AQHA Region Three gives riders of all levels chances at great prizes.

Roper at the 2011 AQHA Region Three Championship.

Roping fun at the 2011 Region Three Championship (bar H Photography)

The competition wrapped up on Sunday, July 17, 2011, at the Region Three Championship in St. Paul, Minnesota.

There were more than 1,800 shown in the regional classes in addition to the approximately 1,200 shown in the double-judged AQHA classes. From rookie to open riders, everyone had a chance at top prizes.

Read the rest of this entry »

Get Them Out the Door

July 19, 2011

Creative approaches help sell weanlings and yearlings even in soft markets.

By Lynda Lane in The American Quarter Horse Journal

Horse being lunged

Kim Behrens prices her horses based on the amount of time and training she has invested in them. Journal photo.

In 2006, Kim Behrens, a successful Quarter Horse breeder, gave some advice on how she markets her American Quarter Horses despite a wavering market. Her goal at that time was to sell the youngsters she raises before they were 2-year-olds.

Applying sound marketing strategies from other areas of business has been one of the keys to Kim’s success. Read the rest of this entry »

Underdeveloped Mare

July 18, 2011

If you're having problems with an underdeveloped horse, Dr. Frank Reilly, a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, suggests several courses of action.


We have a 4-year-old mare who was so underdeveloped that you would think she is a 2-year-old filly. She is now consistently eating very well and also receives natural horse feeds with several vitamins and minerals. However, she is just not putting on the needed weight. We are not sure what else to do, as we are now at more than 10 months of increasing her feed. Our veterinarian was thinking about giving her steroids to improve muscle development. However, after researching online, I learned more about thyroid problems and wondered if this could be the reason for her not gaining weight. She also is very nervous and jumpy and cannot stand still to relax. Are there tests that can be done on thyroid function, or any supplements that can be given?

Read the rest of this entry »

Rock, Roll and Ride at 2011 AQHA Region Three

July 18, 2011

At the show's start, entries were up by 1,000 over the 2010 Region Three Championship.

Headed to show at the 2011 Region Three Championships. (bar H Photography)

The fun continues at the 2011 Region Three Championship in St. Paul, Minnesota, as the English flat and over-fences classes rolled into the arena. The show continues to be a great place to try new AQHA classes, attend free clinics and just have fun showing your horse.

Once again, several new exhibitors came to Region Three, as it has become the “have to attend” AQHA show of the upper Midwest. Once people come, they keep coming back!

Read the rest of this entry »