We Ask the Industry – If You Walked into the Barn with Every Horse You Have Ridden, which One Are You Saddling Up?
GoHorseShow saw this question posed on the Born In the Barn Facebook Page, and we thought it would be fun to ask some of the top trainers and exhibitors in our industry this question: If you walked into a barn with every single horse you have ever ridden, which one are you saddling up and why?
These well-known equestrians had some obvious and not-so-obvious answers. But, can you guess which horse they would choose? Some are all-time favorites because of the riders’ experiences with their beloved equine partner, not necessarily the ones they had the most success with. Some are legendary, while some are known only to the rider. All are special, nonetheless.
Do you have a favorite horse you’d love to ride again? Let us know in our social media comments.
Leonard Berryhill – One morning, I would saddle Good I Will Be, and the next day I would saddle Vital Signs Are Good. Rotating days which one was first. They were both such a joy to ride that I couldn’t separate the two as to which was best. They were both the best in my mind. Both horses were so willing to learn and loved to please. When you showed them the respect that they commanded, they both gave their all without reservation. Both horses loved to work and show and were at their best when ridden fresh. “Lucy” and “Willy” both like doing different things. Kristen (Galyean) would often ride Lucy to the pasture bareback and chase my calves around. It was so much fun to watch this. And I would often gather cattle on Willy, one of his favorite things to do. Both horses were unquestionably two of the most talented horses ever to grace my life, and I thank God that I was fortunate enough to ride two “once-in-a-lifetime” horses.
Jason Martin – It would be a toss-up between Acadamosby Award because he put us on the map and Harley D Zip because he made me the western rider I am today. I guess whatever horse was closer.
Katy Jo Zuidema – Sure Am Hot, and it’s not even close. That horse and I were comrades. I wasn’t even very good at my job yet, and he was special and frankly, showed me how to be a better horse trainer. He would have done anything for me, and I LOVED him. Even saying this, I feel emotional. He was the kindest, most athletic, and most intelligent horse I had the privilege to train, especially considering how little I knew. He changed my life and career and is the ONE for me.
Kathy Tobin – More Radical, “Rodney” and RA Undisputed, “Coci.” I would have to flip a coin to decide who first because I loved them equally, both were great personalities, and were equal in talent. So, I couldn’t choose between them.
Charlie Cole – This is such a hard call. I have thought a lot, and the horse I keep coming back to is Ima Petite Classic, aka Kramer. I think he’s one of the horses I developed the most excellent understanding and bond with. He was a big chicken and was spooked many times. I showed him, but he learned to trust me and showed with tons of expression. He had a great lope with notable changes and was talented over the trail obstacles. Kramer was like sitting on your favorite recliner. I didn’t want to get off him. I miss him and would love to have one more ride on him.
Brian Isbell – No question, Allocate Your Assets. Al is the kindest horse I’ve ever had the privilege of riding. His canter made me giddy every time I rode him. He and I have a friendship that will last a lifetime. A couple of years ago, I went to visit him at Searles Ranch, and when I walked into his stall, he buried his head in my chest and pushed against me, the same way he did the day he left to go live with Kathy Tobin and the Searles at the 2002 Congress. He, indeed, was my once-in-a-lifetime horse.
Jessica Baird – I have been so highly fortunate and had the opportunity to swing a leg over many horses who I’d eagerly jump on again in a heartbeat, but if I had to choose just one, I’d saddle up one of my heart horses, Cool Movin Lady “Beulah.” I’d skip to the significant part, lope right off and change some leads. Why her? Her rhythm was so effortless and always the same, and feeling that kick in the saddle never got old.
Ashley Hadlock – One of the most challenging questions I’ve been asked as I’ve been blessed with some special ones. Growing up, Handee Rap and Zipped N Bar Teddy taught my sister and me lessons while being fortunate to be competitive with national wins. Structurally Correct was my constant steady. Oliver was there for me through school and rose to any challenge when time allowed me to show, taking me to my first Congress at the amateur level with a top 3 finish. He, indeed, was always there. I think who I would ride first is my first horse purchase of my very own, Touched N Moonlite. I needed him as much as he needed me. Regis and I had an extraordinary bond. He kept me on my toes, but I knew he knew when I needed him. He shared this same bond with Ryan Cottingim. After a freak accident at home, Regis wanted to see us all again, standing around him and letting him be the center of attention again. He told us he was ready to go the morning after that afternoon. We all knew the bond he shared with us was unconditional after that. Yes, he took me to my first Congress win and world championships, but what would I do to have one more bareback ride in a halter and tennis shoes!
Angela Fox – When I was a kid, I showed paints. Then, away to college and had to leave my favorite paint mare, Bear Maid (Bambi), back in Tucson. While I was gone, she got very sick. I drove all night from Colorado to see her and be with her, and she passed the next day. I’ve always thought she was waiting for me. She didn’t have a particularly colossal show record, but she was my best friend through many happy and sad times and meant a lot to me. It would be her if I could saddle up any horse I’ve ever ridden.
Alyse Roberts – I would probably say my mom’s mare, Battmans Vital Gal. She’s a bit on the quirky side, but she’s the most fun horse to ride. She is slow, so comfortable, doesn’t spook, you don’t have to longe her…literally a pleasure to ride.
Rebekah Kazakevicius – Huntin My Zipper – He was always so easy. We hardly ever longed at the shows and saddled and went to the show pen. He was always willing and pleasant to be around. He didn’t have any flaws so, to be the first one saddled up is a no-brainer.
Brister Shum – That’s easy. Genuine Sheik, now owned by Allie Paul. I had him for ten years, mostly at home. Dan and Darlene Trein taught him the all-around stuff, but he excelled at showmanship. Our bond was terrific. He could be pretty quirky at times. Not only did he win tons for me, but also for my husband, Steve. When Sheik got nervous, Steve could calm him with his hands. We both loved this talented horse.
Olivia Tordoff – Sterling Version, no questions asked. Sterling changed my life. He taught me more than any other horse. I owe so much to him. Unfortunately, he passed away last year, and I would give anything to get to saddle him one more time. He spooked every day and there was never a dull moment, but boy, was he fun. I miss him every day.
Kelly McDowall – I can think of many great horses, but I probably wouldn’t saddle and ride them. Instead, I would probably take them for a walk and let them eat grass. To name a few, Bruce, Naughty, Chex, Hewey, and Olive Oil. They all did so much for my family and me.
Elizabeth Spike Brewer – That is an easy one for me. I would first saddle up “Stix” or Well Al Be/Well All Be. He is a gelding we raised, and I still remember watching him be born. He was my unicorn because every time I showed him, he gave me 100% and was honest and truly a pleasure. We were unanimous Quarter Horse Congress Champions in Non-pro Limited 3’s, NSBA World & BCF Champions, Premier Sires Champion, and APHA unanimous World Champions last year. It was a storybook year. I am now about ready to retire from showing because I could never have a better year than 2022.
Lauren Stanley – This is a tough one. I’d love to have a chance to ride any of them again with the knowledge I have now. Oh, the things we could do. But, if I had to pick just one, I’d like “Rooster,” Extremely Good Stuff. He was an athlete and a pleaser in and out of the arena. I wish I could ride him one more time to have fun and appreciate the particular horse that he is.
Hilary Timchak – No question, my trail horse “Long John,” Chrome On My Zipper. That’s tough because I’ve been blessed with many excellent horses, but he’s special. Long John can do anything – poles, lead changes, fast, slow, trail ride, or swim in the pond. The only thing I can’t do is hop on bareback in the pasture because I’ll most certainly get bucked off. He’s my all-time favorite horse and the world’s handiest, most fun horse.
Carey Nowacek – I think I would saddle up Michelobs Investor. He was a challenging but talented horse, and I was so young and a novice when I owned him. He would be easy today, and I would appreciate him more.
Do you have a special horse you would love to ride again? Who would be first in line? Let us know on our social media.