In the Past: Lean With Me and Bob Avila

Two-time American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) World champion Lean With Me’s show career had barely begun when he sustained a serious and life-threatening accident that easily could have ended his performance career.

Lean With Me (Smart Little Lena x Chexy Lady x King Fritz) seemingly had everything going his way when trainer Bob Avila rode the 3-year-old stallion to the Open Reserve Championship at the 1993 National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit Futurity. Not long after arriving home, Avila and the stallion were practicing one last time before departing for a show in Canada when the unthinkable happened. During a turnaround maneuver, Avila heard an alarming noise that sounded like a dull “thud” as he felt the stallion’s hindquarters slip and collapse beneath him. The promising young athlete had fractured his pelvis.

Following a thorough examination, the veterinarian attending to Lean With Me did not offer Jon and Norma Sather, of Winfield Farm, the horse’s breeders and owners, much hope that the horse would fully recover from his injury. They were told the fracture could be a career– or even a fatal injury. The stallion was prescribed medication for the pain and complete stall rest for approximately six months.

A number of attributes might have contributed to Lean With Me’s amazing recovery – his excellent physical condition at the time of the accident, his athleticism and certainly his tremendous “heart” and will to live. Miraculously, Avila and Lean With Me were back in the show pen by the following June and qualified for the 1994 AQHA World Championship Show.

Thirteen months following the tragic accident, Avila rode Lean With Me into the winner’s circle at the AQHA World Show to claim the Junior Working Cow Horse World Championship. But the big-hearted stallion wasn’t finished yet. In 1995, Todd Bergen rode the horse to win the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby Level 4 Open and later that year to the AQHA Senior Reining World Championship. The stallion was retired from the show pen with an Equi-Stat record of $49,890.

Lean With Me, at age 27, now enjoys a life of leisure at his home at Winfield Farms in Marietta, Oklahoma. His last foal crop was recorded in 2012. He has sired 132 money-earners who have won a total of $758,772 for average earnings of $5,748. His largest money-earner is Lean With Hollywood, with an Equi-Stat record of $120,219, followed by Command With Me with $74,706, and Lean With Peppy Chex with $47,486.

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