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Hylton Quarter Horses Returns to Roots with Renewed Passion

Cecilia Hylton and Hylton Quarter Horses of Nokesville, Virginia, have recently made sweeping changes to their training and breeding program resulting in a rekindled excitement about their involvement in the industry. Cecilia’s daughter, Jamie told us that the rumor that her mother was getting out of the industry was entirely untrue. “She had knee replacement surgery so she has been recovering from that and also wanted to step back and revamp her breeding program,” Jamie reveals. “We are looking forward to my mother getting back in the show ring very soon.”

Hylton’s new resident trainer Lucas Cash echoes Jamie’s sentiments. “My main goal this year is to do well on our homebred prospects at the major futurities,” says Cash. “Cecilia is known for her desire to not push the young horses. With the growing popularity of the three year-old maiden classes including the Hylton Maiden 3 and Over Class, I think her being an advocate for these classes has had a sweeping positive effect on our industry.”

hylton1As Cash mentioned, Cecilia Hylton has a long history of supporting and encouraging the three year-old and older futurity classes.  Today, her focus is close to home at the Virginia Classic where the Hylton family is the title sponsor of The Hylton Maiden Three Year Old and Older Class.  Held this weekend in Lexington, last year it paid out over $87,500 dollars and has $50,000 added to the purse this year.

“Cecilia is an amazing woman and takes the utmost care of her horses,” Cash states. “She has a phenomenal eye and she is very knowledgeable about the industry and we have the same goals of campaigning her homebred prospects while also keeping their welfare a priority.”

After a short break from showing horses, Cecilia’s daughter, Jamie, is making a comeback in the show arena with several horses, including: Gettin Pretty, U Know U Wanna Watch, and To Sleepy to Sparkle. “We always concentrate on having fun,” Jamie says. “It’s not about the winning for us.”

In 2009, Jamie got married and took some time off to enjoy the experience. Around the same time, she decided she needed to make some life changes and lost over 200 pounds with the help of gastric sleeve surgery.

hylton 4“I decided I needed to start taking better care of myself,” Jamie reveals. “I started working out six days a week and eating healthy. I had always struggled with my weight. I knew it wasn’t going to come off overnight but I felt so uncomfortable and I knew it was affecting my health so I had to do something about it.”

Jamie told us that her decision to start showing again was a result of several developments–her mother hiring a new trainer, Lucas Cash, her new found health, and AQHA developing the leveling program. This program gives riders who may have taken a break the opportunity to ease back into showing without having to first show against the top exhibitors.

“I love everything it takes to show,” Jamie says. “The minute details and tedious jobs you have to do to prepare. I love getting up at 4 am to lunge horses and prepare for the day. I also enjoy working with Lucas. He makes showing fun and he is very laid back, but at the same time, takes his job seriously. He never speaks like he is above anyone and tries to explain and teach on the level of the exhibitor.”

hyltonJamie is currently showing To Sleepy To Sparkle (Sparky) in the Amateur Performance Halter Geldings, Gettin Pretty (Pretty) in the Novice Amateur Western Pleasure and U Know U Wanna Watch in the Novice Amateur Horsemanship and Showmanship. A few weeks ago at in the Martinganza in Williamston, North Carolina, she picked several points with Sparky and Pretty in their respective events.

The Hylton’s purchased Gettin Pretty from Taft Dickerson last August. The 2011 chestnut mare is by Getting Impulsive and out of Huntin A Boss Lady. The mare was also a finalist in the Junior Western Pleasure at the 2014 AQHA World Show and placed sixth in the Green Western Pleasure stakes class.

“She is so broke and quiet,” Jamie says. “The more I watched her at the shows the more she seemed to mature and get better and better. We are off to a great start this year. We received our first points at the Virginia Spring Breakout show and my goal is to qualify and show her at the Novice East Championship Show.”

Jamie’s horse, U Know U Wanna Watch (Tonto) was injured last year, but this team is back showing in the Novice Amateur Showmanship and Horsemanship. “Tonto is a little bit ornery but we have a mutual understanding which is helped by peanut butter cracker treats,” Jamie says laughing. “My favorite class is the horsemanship because of the challenge and adrenaline rush I get showing in the class.”

hylton2To Sleepy To Sparkle and Jamie are also coming to their own in the performance halter geldings. “He was a horse we didn’t want to push because it took him awhile to mature,” Jamie states. “I was hesitant about showing in the halter at first but I have really warmed up to the class, and I realize there is a lot more to it than I first thought. We have really started to bond and I have enjoyed showing him in this class.”

Lucas Cash is also showing Sparky in the Open Performance Halter Geldings as well as, Only A Sterling Moon (pictured left) in the Green Western Pleasure. This team was the recent circuit champions in the Green Western Pleasure at the Martinganza.

“This mare really loves her job and she is soft and supple and easy to train,” Cash states. “After her show career, we look forward to her becoming one of our top broodmares.”

hylton3Two of Hylton’s horses, Doya Think Im Flashy (pictured right) and To Sleepy To Sparkle are perfect examples of homebred horses that have been put into jobs they enjoy. To Sleepy To Sparkle is by Too Sleepy To Zip and out of a Hylton mare, Impulse to Sparkle. Last year, Jamie and Sparky placed 9th in the Performance Halter Geldings at the Novice East Championship Show.

Doya Think Im Flashy (Charlie) is actually a test tube baby due to both parents being deceased. Charlie’s sire is the late Flashy Zipper and out of Widow Rider. The bay stallion is currently being campaigned in the Ranch Riding, and Performance Halter Stallions by Will Knabenshue. Charlie was the 2013 High Point Junior Ranch Horse Pleasure Champion.

“He’s one of my favorite horses to ride,” Will states. “He is so good minded and doesn’t act like a stallion at all. He came back from the breeding shed and I got on him and he acted like he had never left. I look forward to seeing his first foal crop in 2016.”

hylton5Their other stallion, Invitation To Flash (pictured left) is a 2004 bay stallion by Invitation Only.  “Forest” won an AQHA World Championship in the Performance Halter Stallions and was also the 2008 AQHA High Point Green Western Pleasure Stallion. “He is great minded and he has been passing this on to his babies,” Jamie states. “He is just like a gelding and you could hop on him in the pasture bareback without a problem.”

Knabenshue, who is the breeding manager for both Charlie and Forest, states that he loves Forest because he is great minded as well as has great conformation. “I believe he compliments the mares he has bred so you get the best qualities of both in his foals. He is also stamping great minds on them.”

Both Invitation to Flash and Doya Think Im Flashy are standing to the public. We wish Hylton Quarter Horses the best of luck in 2015.

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Photos © Holt Photography, KC Montgomery, Don Trout, Larry Williams