Congratulations Snipper

snipper_128We’re delighted to announce that our foundation stallion, Snippers Heirogance has become one of only a handful of horses in the UK to win the prestigious AQHA Champion award!  He’s also the ONLY stallion currently at stud in the UK who has won this award!

The AQHA Champion Award is in recognition of American Quarter Horses that show true versatility.  In brief they have to earn a register of merit in halter (10 points) plus another 5 points in halter totalling 15 points.  They also have to earn two grand championships.  In addition they have to earn a performance register of merit, plus another 5 points in performance classes (15 points in total) and those points have to be in three different categories.

In 1998 Snipper was 2 points off his AQHA Champion Award, however, AQHA at that time amalgamated several categories, which in effect meant although he had more than enough points, he now only had the points in two categories.

Snipper has effectively been retired from competition for a number of years now, although he has been busy demonstrating at the CLA Game Fair and other places where we promote the Quarter Horse to a larger audience.  However in 2009 when AQHA introduced the Performance Halter Class (the horse has to have won a Performance Register of Merit in order to compete in this class) he came out to compete in Performance Halter Stallions – winning both his classes.

In 2012, AQHA introduced the Ranch Horse Pleasure class, a new category!   David and Sarah watched with interest the first Ranch Horse Pleasure classes to be held in the UK at the June Fenland Show.  David definitely had a gleam in his eye.  He recalls  “I watched those first classes and realised what fun they were and also what great classes they were for a well trained, sound and versatile horse, I also realised that I had in the barn a horse that would love the new Ranch horse pleasure class… and a horse I’d love to compete on in that class.. namely the 24 year old Snipper!”

When asked whether the fact that the class was a new category and therefore if Snipper did well in the class it would perhaps mean he’d achieve his AQHA Award David smiles and shakes his head “You can never guarantee anything, I mean we almost got the award a few years back, I just like to concentrate on what I’m doing, and then if the performance is good and you achieve other things, then that’s a bonus!”

Snipper then made his Ranch Horse debut at the August Fenland show, promptly winning the class (out of 15).  Did David then think about the AQHA Champion Award?   David smiles “No, I was just really pleased that the old boy came out and had a blast, it was a bonus that he won and earned so many points first go.  The strange thing was, that people saw me riding around on him, but didn’t realise it was Snipper.. they thought it was one of his offspring as there were quite a few competing at that show.  Once people realised that the Old Boy was out there and it was actually him, it was wonderful to see people crowding the sides of the arena watching him – and a bit daunting too!”

David explains “After competing in the class in 2012 various shows, we calculated that Snipper had earned enough points for the Award, then we were worried that because he’s 24, there may be some rule that said that points had to be earned after a certain date, and because he’s earned his AQHA Points since his three year old year, we spent quite a bit of time looking at the AQHA rule book!    In the end we did call up AQHA and just check, and they confirmed that although they hadn’t processed all the results yet, in theory he would win the award, however, we would have to wait and see!   We’ve been checking Snippers record on the AQHA website quite frequently, and this week it’s been confirmed.  He’s an AQHA Champion!”

David smiles before continuing “When you consider AQHA now declare a horse dead at 25 unless otherwise notified by the owner, it just goes to show what a legend he is.  He’s never sick or sorry, he has a great temperament whatever you do with him.   Both Sarah and I, and the girls (as they still ride him, and learned to ride on him) are indebted to Snippers Heirogance, he’s probably done more for the Quarter Horse in this country than any other horse, he’s promoted the breed over here now at County Shows and Exhibitions for nearly 20 years.  We’re really proud of him and his achievements.”

When asked “What next?”  David laughed and said “I keep saying he’s retired, in fact I’ve been saying that for about 10 years, but he’s sound, he’s still ridden, and he’s like a horse half his age, from a breeding point of view, he’s still very fertile and he loves his outings.  I don’t know.. we’ll see what happens, but he’s a member of the family and always will be very special to us all”.

Congratulations Snipper… you are officially a Sovereign Legend.