We’ve always said that SQH is the home of Champions. Well now it really is! To add to the multiple grand championships and reserve grand championships SQH bred horses have earned in 2014, we’ve had confirmation from AQHA that Jays Smokin Story has been awarded his Open AQHA Champion Award.
This is a huge deal as there are only a handful of horses who win this award worldwide each year, and with Snipper winning his a couple of years ago (and being the oldest horse in AQHA history to win this award). Jay has followed on in 2014, and we’ve become perhaps the only breeding facility in the world to stand two stallions with the same award. Added to which, both horses have won the award at a later time in life (Jay is 16 and Snipper was 24 when he won his). There are not many stallions who are breeding that still come out and compete to win awards like this at an age when a lot of people wouldn’t expect them to still “be going”!.
At 16 years old, Jay really hasn’t been shown much over the past few years, he had points in reining, halter and hunter under saddle (yes, David wore jodphurs, although it was such a long time ago hardly any of us can remember it!). Part of the reason for this is a freak paddock accident around 3 years ago where Jay came in from turn out in his paddock unable to lift his head fully. Xrays revealed he had broken a vertebrae in his neck, apparently it is a reasonably common injury for steeplechase horses who fall, but we still don’t know how Jay did it! The cure? Well, it was for Jay to be box rested for nearly 10 months. He didn’t come out of his stable, his shoes were removed, his feet were trimmed in the stable, he didn’t step foot outside for all that time. Most horses in these circumstances would get a little tetchy, but not Jay, he remained the same calm horse he always is, a trait he passes on to his offspring. After all these months and more xrays, it was felt that the bone had repaired as much as it could, and David was told to walk him around. Now in most people’s horses lives, this would involve sedation as any horse coming out of a box for the first time in months could be excused a little bit of exuberant behaviour. Not Jay. again, his fabulous temperament came to the fore, David tacked him up, and walked him around the arena, no drama, no issues… Jay has been fine ever since!
Now, we knew David was up to something earlier this year when suddenly Jay was entered into some shows, this resulted in his Open Performance Register of Merit being awarded in June. We still hadn’t twigged to what David was up to (he’s secretive like this!), then at the Fenland August show, with 5 Open AQHA Points in various categories to get David showed Jay in Green Trail, Senior Trail and Ranch Horse Pleasure. Guess what, he got the necessary 5 points required for his AQHA Championship, which is quite a feat in one weekend. Then came the wait to see whether we had added up everything correctly. AQHA rules state
An AQHA Champion title will be awarded in the open division to any stallion, mare or gelding, or in the amateur and youth division to the contestant and his/her horse in their respective division, that earns a total of 35 or more points in AQHA-approved competition or races (for open AQHA champions only), providing that:
- Points have been won in five or more shows and under five or more different judges;
- A minimum of 15 of these points have be earned in halter/performance halter classes, with a minimum of eight points being earned during or after the horse’s 2-year-old year. In open division only, at least two grand championships with five or more horses in the sex division must have been earned under two different judges with at least one of them being earned on or after the horse’s 2-year-old year and/or two performance halter champions, with five or more in the class;
- A minimum of 15 of these points must be earned in performance events with a minimum of five points having been earned in each of at least two categories of performance events.
We did our calculations, and re did them, and then just to be safe, we spoke to AQHA who were pleased to confirm that the AQHA Championship Award is being processed and now David is waiting (reasonably patiently) for the postman to arrive (probably moaning and whingeing) with a very very large parcel which will contain Jays rather large and magnificent AQHA Champion Award trophy.
Jay is probably the leading sire American Quarter Horses who stands in the UK. Although Jay himself was initially bred to be a reiner, (representing Great Britain on Team GB) he has proved himself very versatile in a number of events (remember, David wore jodphurs once or twice!), As well as competing in AQHA events, he’s been one of our popular demonstration horses going to county shows around the UK, in fact around the world, as he flew to Dubai for one demonstration, promoting the American Quarter Horse, and he’s even competed in Unaffiliated Dressage with David and Sarah’s daughter Amy, qualifying for a winter championship. His offspring have also proved to be conformationally correct winnng numerous grand and reserve grand championships, as well as earning points in all around events in all divisions.
David says “Jay is a wonderful horse to be around, nothing phases him and we’re very lucky that Pete Bowling of Oasis Quarter Horses made us aware of him when he was a youngster. Pete thought an awful lot of his sire Master Jay, and when he bought Master Jay, he also bought Jay with us in mind. Pete has always said that Jay was a horse he should have kept… sorry Pete, we’re glad you didn’t!”