Patriot and Nathan Piper of Pilot Point, Texas, were on their A game when they arrived at Oklahoma City for the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) World Championship Show. After having scored a 218 and finishing fourth in the Junior Reining Level 3 preliminary go-round, they upped their ante and swept the Level 3 finals with an awesome 228.
With limited showing during his two-year show career, Patriot (Smart Spook x Dunit A Lil Rug x Lil Ruf Peppy), a 4-year-old stallion bred by Toyon Ranch LLC and owned by Shannon and Hershel Reid, all of Pilot Point, had lifetime earnings of $140,287, when he arrived in OKC.
Piper, whose career earnings are nearing the $1 million mark, had an Equi-Stat earnings record of $829,523 before he arrived at the show.
“He’s been great for me all year, so that always makes you feel good going into the next competition,” Piper said. “I was pretty pleased with him in the first go. I thought, after having two hard runs — I’d shown him at the National Reiners Breeders Classic and the [National Reining Horse Association] Derby this year — that he might want to think on his own a little bit, but he was right there with me the whole time.
“That gave me a lot of confidence going into the finals to go ahead and push him up there and he was great. He never took one step out of place for me. I was very pleased with him.
“He ran in and had a good little stop – I didn’t over push that first stop because I just wanted a good clean maneuver there and he backed up really well for me. He’s just an incredible spinner and, sure enough, he was incredible both directions and shut off right on the money for me. I was feeling pretty good after the spins and I felt we were in a good spot [to win]. He loves to run circles, so I just kicked him on up there and he went off. And he finished strong, too, with some good stops around the end.”
The stallion is pretty strong in every maneuver, Piper said. “But he definitely, I think, has a unique style to his spins. They are very fast, but it’s not only the speed, it’s the style. His natural style [in turning] is pretty incredible.”
The stallion is as easy to get along with outside the show pen as he is in the pen.
“He is a saint,” Piper said. “He is just super to be around. He is not studdy at all, he’s quiet and he comes out and does his job. He’s a very stoic.”
Piper said Patriot is such a neat horse that, Lord willing, there’s a big, long career ahead of him.
“I didn’t want to over-show him as a 4-year-old — I just took him to three major events [NRBC, NRHA Derby and AQHA World Championship Show]. I just want to save him for a long-lasting career and he’s the type of horse, to me, that deserves it.”
Piper, wife Jean and two daughters, Millie, 7, and Etta, 5, all enjoy the horses and reining.
“We all ride and are really blessed,” Piper said.
Winning the AQHA World Championship was a dream come true for the native-born Texas trainer.
“Winning the World title has been a dream of mine ever since I started showing reiners as a youth. I always dreamed of winning the World title, so it [the win] was very special.”