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Like a Fine Wine: How Suddenly A Good Bar Just Gets Better with Age

Ever wonder how older horses keep winning? Find out how the Searles crew keeps 19 year-old legend Suddenly A Good Bar showing (and winning) at the highest levels year-after-year.

At the AQHA World Show, exhibitors can see their name and their horse’s name across the big screen, along with the horse’s sire and dam, the horse’s breeder, and the horse’s age.

It’s rare to find a horse in this arena born before 2010, let alone early 2000s. To accomplish such a feat, it is crucial to the horse’s health and longevity to provide proper maintenance, supplement regimen, and work schedule. Suddenly A Good Bar is a prime example of proper care, as he is still showing and winning at the top shows to this day.

Suddenly A Good Bar, also known as “Roanie” has been an integral part of Deanna and Jim Searles’ program for seven years. Deanna claims Roanie has taught them a lot about finished trail horses.

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“Sometimes, you just stay out of their way. He’s like driving a sports car with very fine power steering. So, teaching young horses trail, we work a lot on steering,” she says.

Searles remembers watching him with Lyn McArthur in California and seeing how consistent he was. That’s when she advised current owner Kathy Tobin to buy him from Charlene Lane and Jeff Mellott. And the rest, as the saying goes, is history. Or in this case, history in the making.

The now 19-year-old gelding is no stranger to the show pen; winning multiple world championships and earning over 1,000 amateur points. Roanie has belonged to Kathy Tobin through all of his years with the Searles.

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Kathy says, among his various accomplishments, the duo’s highest achievement was winning the year-end 2019 Amateur Trail in the Nation. “It was before the Select Highpoint trophy was established…winning against all the young amateurs was my most memorable moment,” says Tobin.

According to Kathy, despite his age, he is still the “Energizer Bunny” and needs to be longed or galloped before he shows. Deanna adds that she feels he has been able to continue showing this long due to his love for trail. “As long as Roanie still enjoys what he’s doing and stays sound of body and mind, we will keep showing him, although he won’t travel as far as the younger ones.”

Tobin credits Suddenly A Good Bar’s longevity to the Searles’ great care. “Jim and Deanna treat all of their horses to supplements, acupuncture, chiropractors and the TheraPlate, as well as lots of turnout time so they can have their own time to run and just be a horse.” Kathy adds that the Searles have several older horses still going in their program.

Deanna agrees, his supplement regimen has prolonged his career. She says, “He’s kept on SmartPak, Summit Joint Performance, and 100x Osteo Max and Gut.”

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Searles adds that they keep him in shape, making sure he is worked in some form every day, without being overworked. “It’s okay that they aren’t peaked at every show. Reward them when they do it right.”

Maintenance is crucial to keeping a horse going. Every horse is different and some need more attention than others. Roanie and many other horses his age, have benefited from this routine or one similar, and hopefully, we will continue to see him in the show pen for many years to come.

About the Author: GoHorseShow Intern Violet Shetler is a junior at Penncrest Cyber Academy. She was born and raised in Saegertown, Pennsylvania. She plans to attend Southern Methodist University in the future to study journalism. Along with academics, competing with her horses is very important to her. She has been riding her entire life.
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