February 13, 2013
A tribute to a horse-showing grande dame.
Even on the icy ground, with fingers numb from the cold, Suzanne Leggett Miller fell in love with the gray mare. The 13-year old from Danville, Virginia, knew she had found the horse to carry her into 14-18 competition.
Maggie’s Starlet had already earned one Youth Supreme Champion title with Michael Greer of Midland, Michigan, in 1974. Several people warned the Millers that the 9-year-old mare might have soured on the show ring. After all, she and Michael had accumulated more than 600 points in three years in everything from pleasure to barrels in earning their Supreme Champion award.
Suzanne’s trainer, Alex Ross, who is now AQHA’s executive director of judges, thought “Maggie” still had plenty left in the tank and had asked Michael to stop by and let Suzanne try the mare.
“She did everything I asked of her,” Suzanna said about that first ride. “I was pretty quiet, so I’m not sure my parents and Alex could tell how excited I was, but I fell in love with her.”
The tale of Peter McCue can be read in the FREE report The Gospel According to Peter. This bay stallion is one that 5.1 million of today’s 5.3 million registered Quarter Horses trace their heritage to, including Maggie’s Starlet.
Suzanne’s parents, Larry and Sue Miller, who stood AQHA Champion Sleepy’s Man at their Cloverdale Farm, bought the mare to help Suzanna enter 14-18 competition.
“She was a great horse for me to learn on,” Suzanne said. “I loved to ride, but I was probably an intermediate rider. She was not a pushbutton horse, but she was so willing.”
The 1996 mare was by a son of Harlan named Edmond Star and out of Chock’s Maggie, and was bred by A.H. Kilpatrick of Bowlegs, Oklahoma. While she made her initial mark in the pleasure pen, she could do just about anything.
“She was an exceptionally good mover,” said AQHA judge and Professional Horseman Ronnie Sharpe, who helped Michael for a time with the mare and judged her in the 1970s. “She was a natural pleasure horse. You didn’t have to mess with her head or anything. She just carried it that way because her neck was hung on her right.”
More than half the time, when Suzanne and Maggie stepped a foot into the pleasure pen, they emerged the winners. But she wasn’t just a youth horse. She won 60 out of 100 open pleasure classes and more than 200 open pleasure points.
“I would have finished
her a lot sooner,” Suzanne said, “except she was a better barrel horse than I was a barrel rider. I can remember hanging off her as we would run out of the barrels and yelling at Alex to catch her.”
In AQHA’s FREE report The Gospel According to Peter, you can learn about Peter McCue’s humble beginings, his race career, his owners and why he was such an instrumental stallion in the early 1900s.
Maggie didn’t produce her first foal until 1978, when the Millers bred her to Sleepy’s Man. In 1983, Suzanna placed third in amateur western pleasure at the World Show on Magnum Sleep, a 1980 gelding by Sleepy’s Man.
Bred to Rugged Lark in 1985, Maggie produced a National Reining Horse Association money earner in Maggie Starlark. Maggie’s last foal was a gelding by Zippo Jack Bar born in 1991. All seven of her foals were performers.
Maggie died in 1992 at age 26, leaving a legacy of long-term excellence.
“I remember showing at the (All American Quarter Horse) Congress, and “Sunny” Jim Orr, who was judging, walked within three feet of Maggie as we trotted into the arena,” Suzanne said. “I never had to touch buying viagra her. I knew I had a great horse.”