One of the greatest show horses in AQHA history passed away on Tuesday, August 29th at the age of 33. Widely known in the industry as “Oscar” because he was born on Academy Awards Night in 1990, Acadamosby Award was a 3-time AQHA Superhorse, 38-time AQHA World & Reserve World Champion, 21-time Congress Champion, 4-time Congress All-Around Champion, and 3-time Congress Reserve All-Around Champion. Oscar amassed over 1,800 points in his storied show career and lived out 30 of his 33 years at Highpoint Performance Horses before his recent passing.
“He’s the horse that put Jason and me on the map,” says Charlie Cole, who picked Oscar out for one of his customers, Chelsea Knox, when he was a three-year-old. It took a while to make that happen, but Cole and Martin were finally able to purchase him from trainers Rick Skelly and Karen Oroski’s clients Stanley, Susan, and Nancy Scott in December of ’93. “I think it was the best purchase we ever made. We were young kids when we got him and he gave us so much.”
Acadamosby Award took the show industry’s highest honor of AQHA Superhorse in 1998, 2000, and 2001.
“Probably the defining moment of our career was when Oscar won the Superhorse title for the first time in 1998 because that was our goal when we bought him,” Charlie shares. “It was a huge accomplishment for us because we were not that well-known at that time. Then, he went on to win it three times, which is still unmatched over 20 years later.”
“It is rare for a horse to go out on top, but Oscar was able to do that,” Jason Martin shares. “He won his first World Championship in the Junior Hunter Under Saddle and eleven years later, he won his last in the Senior Hunter Hack. He never said, ‘No’, and he just loved to show. He had an amazing presence, charisma, and eye appeal in the show ring. He was one of the smartest horses we have ever shown. We could teach him something new so fast and he would pick it up immediately.”
Cole admits, “I’ve been lucky to ride great horses, but for some reason, Oscar is my all-time favorite horse. I just adore him. We have been honored to have been his trainers and fully responsible for his care since his retirement at age 14 in 2004.”
Bred by Jamee L. Golan Bornstein of East Troy, Wisconsin, Acadamosby Award was foaled on March 26, 1990. His sire, Mosby was a halter-bred stallion with the great King and Three Bars on his papers, and he was out of Madcap Maddie, a thoroughbred mare, who features foundation Quarter Horse breeding like Poco Bueno.
“He was halter/foundation bred and was kind of a freak because he certainly wasn’t bred to become a hunter,” says Jason, who talks affectionately about his buddy whom he calls one of the happiest horses he’s ever met. “He always had his ears forward. Even as his feet were finally giving out, he still met us every time with those perfect Oscar ears and so much life in his eyes.”
Martin and Cole shared many funny memories about Oscar. “He could escape any stall, turn other horses loose, turn on water faucets, and eat all the food he could find,” Cole shares.
“I remember when we first started teaching him the pleasure driving, the crupper would make him excited (we will leave the specific details to the reader’s imagination), and he would kick at his belly and stop and refuse to go forward because it bothered him,” Martin recalls. “We just had to desensitize him to it and leave the equipment on him for extended periods of time. He finally got used to it.”
Jason continues, “Oscar also used to have terrible gas and farted every time he would go over the fences in the hunter hack and working hunter. The crowd in the stands would laugh, and it would distract from his performance. We finally figured out how to fix that. We gave him charcoal paste orally every time before he showed, and it put a stop to that issue,” Jason says.
Cole remembers that he would stand in the hallway at a horse show and hide when Oscar would jump. “For some reason, it would make me really nervous. I would listen for hits and rails and knew that if I didn’t hear anything except maybe the crowd clapping, he probably had a good go – I could stop stressing and finally breathe again.”
One story both Jason and Charlie vividly remember involves showing Oscar in the pleasure driving. Early in his career, Cole showed him and won the Congress and the AQHA World Show. “I told Jason I was done showing him in the pleasure driving because I had won the two largest events on him,” Cole recalls. “Jason offered to take over and show him in the class. Well, he and Oscar went on to win it at least four more times at the World Show. That probably wasn’t the smartest decision I ever made,” Charlie says laughing.
Charlie adds, ”Oscar also had this thing for twirling things like lead ropes, and he was quite talented at it. He would do it in perfect rhythm. To this day, if I see another horse doing it, I know it has to be a good horse. They have to be smart like Oscar.”
For many years, Oscar shared his pasture and stall with babies, broodmares, and old show buddies like Conclusives Bar Cody. One of his last roommates was his girlfriend and famous barrel-racing broodmare, Rods Last Lady Bug. He is now buried next to her in the horse cemetery at Highpoint in Pilot Point, Texas. Other greats such as Zippo LTD, Conclusives Bar Cody, Show Diva, Majestic Scotch, Not Just Anyhoo, More Radical, and Ima Petite Classic are buried there as well.
“On Tuesday morning, we decided it was time to lay him to rest,” Martin says. “We gave him a bath and some tiny carrots to eat. It was beautiful and sad all at the same time. We’d like to thank Chelsea and Vanessa Knox and their family for the gift of Oscar. Our hearts are heavy with sadness, but he will live on forever in our hearts and memory.”
GoHorseShow would like to send out our heartfelt condolences to Charlie, Jason, and everyone who has been associated with this amazing horse over the course of his illustrious career and retirement. We sincerely apologize if we leave someone out, but some of them include – Everyone at Highpoint, the Knox Family, Nancy Ditty, the late Rick Skelly, Stanley Scott, the late Susan Scott, Karen Oroski, Sandy Wells, Vicky Holt, David Connors, Tracy Baer, Mark Stevens, the late Heidi Cecil, Leslie Lange, Lainie DeBoer, John Lorton, Carrie Von Unlit, Diane Helgeland, and Jamee L. Golan Bornstein.