October 21, 2011
Halter wins are special for many at the All American Quarter Horse Congress.
By Larri Jo Starkey
In 1978, Lea Ann Koch of Oswego, Illinois, was in her last year of AQHYA competition.
She enlisted the help of a well-known halter trainer to help her win the high-point youth mare title with Snip’s Robin Time.
They traveled a lot of miles in the pickup on the way to shows across the United States and in the midnight hours shared a lot of quiet thoughts.
So when Lea Ann heard that the World Conformation Horse Association had named its yearling non-pro stakes class at the All American Quarter Horse Congress for the late Stretch Bradley, Lea Ann knew she wanted to win it.
“It was my last year in youth,” she said. “That’s why it’s really special (to win).”
On October 17, Lea Ann led Best To Be Me to the top of the yearling mares class and shed a few tears as she embraced Stretch’s son, AQHA Professional Horseman Clark Bradley, who handed her the trophy.
Lea Ann says she learned more than just how to show a horse from Stretch, but the first and most important lesson might have been promptness.
“The first thing he told me is the door to the motor home is locked at 10 o’clock. Don’t be late,” she said. “I tested him once – 9:59. He wasn’t kidding. He was fun. He taught me a lot. We hauled a lot of miles but he was really good.”
Best To Be Me is a homebred chestnut mare by Kid Coolsified and out of Best To Be Silent by Kid Silent. Lea Ann’s father, the late Dr. Howard Koch, found the mare’s dam for Lea Ann.
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Another exhibitor having a good day October 17 in the WCHA classes was Brenda Frankie of Bentleyville, Pennsylvania, who picked up the win in yearling geldings on her birthday with LR Johnny Ringo.
“He’s kind of a handful once in a while, but I think it’s worth it because he’s absolutely gorgeous to look at,” Brenda said.
LR Johnny Ringo is a sorrel gelding by Western Gunslinger and out of Sneakin Out At Night by Dawns Knight. He was bred by Donna King of Crescent City, Florida.
Brenda has been attending Congress since 1974, but this is her first Congress win, she said.
“I couldn’t be happier, and I want to thank WCHA for putting this class on,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for people who have halter horses to be able to come out and show under educated judges and I hope it goes further.”
The first class of the day was the WCHA non-pro yearling stallions class, won by Anne Prince of Palmetto, Florida, leading PF Credibley Supreme to a unanimous first-place finish.
“He’s a unique individual in that he’s not only very balanced but very correct and has a lot of eye appeal. And he looks like a breeding horse. He’s pretty-headed, and very correct,” Anne said. “He’s a show horse. He’s been that way since he was on his mama’s side and he’d stand out in the pen. We have pictures of him out in the field just set up looking like he did in front of the line today. He’s just a show horse.”
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The sorrel stallion is by MH Supremo and out of Ima Credible Miss by Wincredible. He was bred and is owned by Anne’s husband, Chester Prince.
“His mom is a daughter of Wincredible,” Anne said. “She was a reserve world champion multiple times. This is her first foal. We have some younger siblings on the ground out of the same cross that we’re very excited about.”
In the Congress halter Masters classes, a familiar filly ended up at the top of the cards. Friendswithbenefits, owned by Josh Weakly of Shelbyville, Illinois, was led by AQHA Professional Horseman Luke Castle to the top prize. The filly is fitted by Andy and Kendell Staton of Shelbyville.
“She was the winner (in Iowa), and we brought her here,” Kendell said. “She just keeps giving us all she’s got.”
The winner in the colts class was TF Imagine Me First, owned by Kelli Jensen and shown by Steven Jensen of Saginaw, Michigan.
For more photos from the All American Quarter Horse Congress halter classes, see the Journal slide show below. Click on each photo to read about it.
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