Trevor Hale astride Survive These Lips at the AQHYA reined cow horse at the World Championship Show in Oklahoma City.
Trevor Hale works Survive These Lips into championship form at the AQHYA reined cow horse World Championship Show in Oklahoma City. Photo by Shane Rux

Youngster in Survive (These Lips)-And-Thrive Mode

Trevor Hale already has a collection of coveted golden globe trophies from the Built Ford Tough American Quarter Horse Youth Association (AQHYA) World Championship Show. But those are all in roping.

His most recent, which he earned Aug. 7, is for the working cow horse. 

“I’ve always thought the event looked like fun, and I’ve liked the horses,” said Hale, 17. “When it was introduced to National High School Rodeo, I decided to give it a try.”

He’s more than given it a try. He has excelled, winning the inaugural World’s Greatest Youth Horseman title at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Celebration of Champions in February and now the AQHYA World Championship at the Oklahoma State Fair Park in Oklahoma City.

Hale rode his own horse — Survive These Lips. The 2008 mare is by CD Survivor and out of Lipschic (by Smart Chic Olena). The duo was the 13th draw in the preliminaries, where they earned a composite score of 437.5, the third-highest of 38 entries.

“The rein and fence work in my prelim run were nice, solid runs that were mistake-free,” he said. “I was looking to do the same in the finals but ask her for a little more.”

Fifteen riders advanced to the finals, and Hale was the first up. He and “Lippy” repeated their first run, earning a 217 in the rein work and a 220.5 in the fence work for the same composite score of 437.5.

“I was really pleased with our reined work because Lippy let me guide her. She never took charge, and that’s something we’ve been working on,” he said. “The cows were fair across the board, and I drew a pretty good one for the fence run.”

Hale found Lippy through La Cygne, Kansas, horseman Brad Lund, whom he considers a mentor, along with Equi-Stat Elite $3 Million Rider Todd Crawford. The mare’s earnings, according to Equi-Stat, exceed $33,000.

“I struggled with Lippy for a while and, with their help, finally figured out what buttons to push,” Hale said. “Cow horse is, by far, the hardest event. You can have an absolutely amazing run one day and then a zero the next. It’s humbling.”

Hale lives on his family’s Hale Ranch in Perryton, Texas, and is a fourth-generation rancher in the Texas Panhandle. The hours he spends in the saddle doing ranch work each day transfers into the arena.

“It’s a great way to live. There’s always something to do, and you’re never bored,” he said. “I also get to spend a lot of time with the animals — especially the cattle and the horses. There’s nowhere I’d rather be.”Hale also will be looking for another prize in roping, which begins Friday.