Horse Showing

Super Snacks

October 26, 2011

See what AQHA Superhorses consider the treat of champions.

Movin Artfully

Moving Artfully devours his Superhorse roses. Journal photo.

From America’s Horse

Everybody has a weakness.

Popeye had his spinach.

Elvis had his fried banana-and-peanut butter sandwiches.

Homer Simpson has his doughnuts. (“Mmmmm!”)

And even AQHA Superhorses have their cravings.

The AQHA-Farnam Superhorse award is the equivalent of the most-valuable-player award at the AQHA World Championship Show.

These guys are the best of the best. And in reviewing The American Quarter Horse Journal’s coverage of these top horses, one trend becomes clear: These horses, of course, have an appetite for victory, but they also have some pretty odd hankerings when it comes to their snacks.

1998, 2000 and 2001
Superhorse Acadamosby Award

When “Oscar” and his entourage stepped into the World Show arena in November 2001 to accept a record-breaking third Superhorse title, they were on a high. For the horse, however, it might have been a sugar high.

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Just the day before, when he won world championships in senior hunter hack and senior pleasure driving, Oscar binged on an entire bag of Jolly Ranchers. As trainer Charlie Cole talked about Oscar’s habits – which make him seem more human than horse – the 12-year-old bay gelding stood halterless in the barn aisle, peering at passers-by and sniffing reporters to see whether they had any candy on them.

Oscar, AQHA’s only three-time Superhorse winner and 21-time world champion, is also a bit of a clown. Leave a lead rope where he can get to it, and he’ll twirl it in his mouth like a lariat. Leave a blanket within his reach, and he’ll do the same with it until it’s tied in knots. “He’s a big old ham,” Charlie said.

2003 Superhorse Movin Artfully

Standing in his stall at the AQHA World Show in November 2003, Movin Artfully – better known as “Joey” – begged his owner at the time, Dianna MacDonald, for some apple treats.

She gave him what he wanted, kissed him on his nose and then explained: “He’s my baby.” It’s understandable why she’s so taken with the charming son of Artful Move.

Competing at his first World Show in 2003, he won championships in junior hunter hack and junior pleasure driving. He also placed fourth in junior working hunter and sixth in junior hunter under saddle. “It’s just unbelievable,” Dianna said, leading the 17-hand bay gelding out of the arena after the awards ceremony. While she did a television interview, Joey made a snack out of her rose bouquet.

2005 Superhorse With All Probability

With All Probability’s personality is the best thing about him, said his owner in 2005, Jim Holland of Bucyrus, Kansas.

“He comes and loves on you,” he said. “He’s a big teddy bear.” Or maybe he just wants to check out what’s in your coat pockets.

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Doughnuts, cinnamon rolls and candy are his weaknesses, Jim said. “He loves sweets. When us boys walk by his stall, he knows we won’t give him anything, and he won’t pay any attention to us. But when the girls that have been feeding him doughnuts walk by, he just nickers and puts his nose through the stall.”

So after the bay stallion earned a world championship in senior heading and a reserve championship in senior heeling, as well as the top honor of Superhorse, did Jim relent and let “Ticket” have a dozen Krispy Kremes as a reward?

“He can have all he wants,” Jim said with a laugh. “I might even give him one.”

2006 Superhorse RS Lilly Starlight

In 2006, RS Lilly Starlight was a serious-natured 8-year-old mare bred and raised by Angie and Dr. Kurt Harris, of Harris Equine Hospital in Whitesboro, Texas. She won a world championship in senior heeling, placed fourth in senior tie-down roping and also competed in senior working cow horse and senior heading.

“We don’t give her treats,” Dr. Harris said. (See what happens, kids, when your “dad’s” a doctor? No junk food.) But that’s probably setting a good example for her own kids. “Lilly” has had foals, via embryo transfer, since 2002, and the oldest ones are now competing in reining and working cow horse competitions.

What is your horse’s favorite treat?

AQHA Publications intern Samantha Eckert: “My filly, A Lexus Loper, loves watermelon. We just bust one open and leave it in her stall.”

AQHA Manager of Communications Sarah Davisson: “My horse, ‘Goose,’ love blue slushes, from Dairy Queen, and when we’re at horse shows, he has the blue snow cones.”

America’s Horse editor Holly Clanahan – “I once had a horse who loved pumpkins. (We found this out after Halloween one year.) It was a good way to “recycle” Jack-o-lanterns. (A little bit at a time, of course!)”

AQHA Internet Editor Tara Christiansen: “One horse seemed to think he needed human trail mix – with M&M’s and raisins and nuts … but I tried to keep him out of that.”