Condolences go out to the Habighorst Family on the passing of Henry. Photo © KC Montgomery

The Greatest Halter Horse of All-Time, RPL My Te Cheerful, Passes

GoHorseShow is heartbroken to report the passing of RPL My Te Cheerful, better known to everyone in the industry as “Henry.” He passed away on June 15th due to complications with Colitis X. He was thirteen years old. This bay halter gelding was considered one of the best and most decorated halter horses ever to set foot in the show arena. Henry had an unprecedented 24 AQHA World Championships and numerous Congress Championships in all three halter divisions. At the Congress, Henry won a total of 15 Grand Championships in Youth, Amateur and Open and amassed nearly 1,500 points in the halter events.

RPL My Te Cheerful was by Hear The Cheers and out of My Te Telusive. The sweet gelding was bred by Bobbie Atkinson of Longview, Texas and was owned by Vern Habighorst of Phoenix, Arizona at the time of his death.

Several people in the industry have mentioned legendary horse, RPL My Te Cheerful as their favorite halter horse of all time.

“Henry’s favorite things were oranges and popsicles. He truly was my best friend and taught me so many things over our nine years together,” says Monica Hamm, who showed him to several AQHA Youth World and Congress Championship along with her sister, Kaylee. The Hamm sisters are the granddaughters of Vern and Rita Habighorst. Henry was shown by nearly everyone in the Habighorst family.

Some might be surprised that RPL My Te Cheerful’s first show wasn’t until late into his two-year-old year with Monte Horn. His breeder, Bobbie and Henry Atkinson, felt that the late-blooming son of My Te Telusive needed some time just to grow and be a horse, so he spent many days out to pasture, with some light work here and there with the Atkinson’s farm manager, Michael Ochetto.

“We kept him in the barn, and he’d get a little too big, so we’d push him out of the barn,” says Ochetto. “We did that for quite a bit, until about his coming two-year-old year, and then we sold him. We had him for a couple of years—we knew he was going to be really good. History has actually said how good he really was.”

Horn recalls how easygoing the bay gelding was from the very beginning, even when it came to competing at Congress for his first big show. “That horse would just eat and sleep,” says Horn. “He was a piece of work. He loved just to be a buddy. He was always an extremely kind horse.”

Henry has since been owned by Peter Cofrancesco III, Terry Wilkerson, Amanda Maria Arevalo, Vern Habighorst and Josh and Kaleena Weakly. Habighorst repurchased the great gelding from the Weakly’s after the 2011 show season and had continued to show him.

Past AQHA President, Peter J Cofrancesco, III of Sparta, New Jersey previously owned Henry and says he was, “One of the greatest horses I have ever had the privilege to own and show.” (pictured left)

Hamm fondly remembers, “He was a gentle giant with the kindest soul who loved everyone he met and truly loved to be in the show pen.”

Our condolences go out to everyone who was involved with this great gelding over the years. Rest in peace, Henry!

View the slideshow below of several pictures of Henry through the years.