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Legendary Team of Heza Radical Zip and Jason Martin to Retire after AQHA World Show

The formidable career of Jason Martin and Heza Radical Zip (Troy) is about to come to a close. Martin has announced that they will retire as a team after the AQHA World Show in November. Their stellar show record includes winning the 2020 Senior Western Riding at the AQHA World Show with a record-breaking score of 245.5. This was the third Senior Western Riding World Championship title for this duo, who also won in 2017 and 2018 and the 16th year in a row for Highpoint Performance Horses to win the Senior Western Riding. The gelding has earned over 2,670 points during his illustrious career.

Bred by Olivia Hoecker, Heza Radical Zip is by Radical Rodder and out of Sonnys Last Zip. The 2005 bay gelding is Radical Rodder’s leading money earner. He has amassed over $90,000 in NSBA earnings, $23,000 in AQHA Incentive Fund earnings, as well as nearly $76,000 at the AQHA World Show.

“After Troy won the Senior Western Riding for the third time at the World Show last year with a record-breaking score, Jason and I talked about what the plan was for Troy going forward,” owner, Bonnie Sheren told us. “We both felt the same way. Troy has given us so much, and there is nothing more we can ask of him in the Senior Western Riding. I told Jason I would support any decision he made. So, we decided that this would be the last year Troy would be shown in Senior Western Riding. It’s exciting for me because now I can start practicing the Western Riding and hopefully show him in the Select next year.”

In 2016, Sheren purchased Heza Radical Zip from Susie Johns, who owned him for almost a decade. During his time with trainers Jim and Deanna Searles, Troy accumulated over 2,000 AQHA points and a long list of accolades that include 2011 Select World Champion Horsemanship, 2012 Select World Reserve Champion Horsemanship, 2012 Congress Senior Western Riding Champion (with Deanna Searles), 2014 Select World Reserve Champion Western Riding, 2015 Select World Champion Trail and 2015 Select World Champion All-Around Amateur.

Bonnie says that Troy has been the horse of a lifetime. “I can’t thank Susie Johns and Jim and Deanna Searles enough for giving me this opportunity, and Jason, for bringing Troy to me. I remember at Del Mar, Jason bringing a horse down the barn aisle for me to try. I asked what horse it was and he said, ‘never mind what horse it is,’ so I just went along and rode him for a little bit. When I found out which horse he was, I couldn’t believe it, but Jason said, ‘you have to buy him,’ so I agreed. I still say to Jason to this day that it was the best money I ever spent!”

Jason still remembers the process of trying to purchase Troy. “I asked if he was for sale at almost every show. I loved everything about him. Susie and Deanna had already won significant titles on him, and the answer was always ‘no.’ Then, the first day of Del Mar, I walked by Deanna and asked if they would sell Troy, and she said ‘maybe.’ I stopped in my tracks, and we tried him that day before they could change their minds.”

Martin adds, “It took me a while to figure out Troy’s buttons and for him to understand mine. Since he was already a champion, I knew I was the one that needed to learn him and not try and change anything. The first year was a bit shaky. There were many times Deanna would tell me I was troping and not loping. I finally learned how to use my legs with him, and he has been a dream ever since.”

Martin says that his favorite thing about Troy is his expression. “He is always so happy to do his job. He is a judge’s horse because he loves his job. He isn’t over bridled or gapping at the bit, and his ears are always happy.”

Jason believes that Troy has many years left. “I want him to finish while he is still on top of his game. Win, lose, or draw. This will be my final World Show on Troy, and I will enjoy every second of my ride. Troy is one of the kindest horses I have ever had the pleasure of showing. Thank you to Susie Johns and Jim and Deanna Searles and Bonnie Sheren for allowing me to be a part of his career.”

GoHorseShow wishes Jason and Troy the best of luck in the Senior Western Riding at the Congress later this week and at the AQHA World Show next month.

CLICK HERE to see more of Jason Martin and Heza Radical Zip in the October issue of GoMag.