show horse walking through an arena

For the Fun of It?

Have you ever heard of the “bait and switch” method? Simply put, it is the tactic of attracting a person (oftentimes a customer) by promising one thing, but then changing the game once they’re hooked. The “switch” can come in the form of pressuring a customer to spend more money than was originally expected or […]
man on horse closing gate

The Value of Experience

“People never learn anything by being told, they have to find out for themselves.” Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho penned those words in his 1998 novel “Veronika Decides to Die,” a bit of psychological fiction that examines the all-too-real concepts of madness, self-destruction and redemption. Remember your youth, when no matter how much your parents pleaded […]
Kelsey Pecsek and QHN employees standing with Smooth As A Cat

Insights & Opinions: Futurity Magic

As I write this, I’m sitting at the Quarter Horse News (QHN) booth in Fort Worth, Texas, during a cattle change for the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Open semifinals. The buzz in the Best of the West trade show seems livelier tonight than it has been in years. I see smiling faces — […]

Intrinsic Value

As a kid, I showed horses on the Michigan Quarter Horse Association circuit. The prizes were ribbons, and for me and my horse, blue ones were few and far between. My family couldn’t afford a horse that could compete at the top levels, so while I could win at open shows, I was thrilled to pick up a ribbon of any color at a breed show.

Insights & Opinions: The Smallest Change

Through the years, my job has presented me a lot of fabulous opportunities when it comes to horses. I’ve gotten to talk to the world’s best horsemen, and I’ve met some of the greatest horses across different disciplines and industries. One of my fondest memories, however, wasn’t work-related at all. It centered around a clinic.

Insights & Opinions: Industry Migration

As this issue (Sept. 15, 2016) was going to press, I received a letter from well-known trainer Bobby Ingersoll. He wanted to address the National Reined Cow Horse Association’s (NRCHA) announcement that its Snaffle Bit Futurity is moving from Reno, Nevada, to Fort Worth, Texas, in 2017.

The decision to change venues is potentially the most controversial issue the cow horse industry has ever faced and certainly the most polarizing in recent years. Horsemen either agree with the move or they don’t, and there are plenty of opinions on either side.


They Deserve Better

graceHeading to a new future • Megan Parks PhotographyOn Tuesday, May 19, at 5:18 p.m., I was sitting in my office when I got a text message. By 5:55 p.m., still sitting in my office, I owned a horse.

After two years of not owning a horse, it wasn’t the way I expected to dive back into horse ownership. For starters, I generally like to figure out what, exactly, I want to do with a horse before I start looking for one. I set a budget, then I start shopping. I’ve driven across the state of Texas to look at horses and spent too much money on pre-purchase exams that ended up being cheap compared to the veterinary problems I would have dealt with had I bought the horse. I’ve passed on horses I should have bought, and bought horses when I should have passed.

But I’ve never bought a horse sight unseen off the Internet. And I’ve never rescued a horse out of the kill pens…until now.

Does Age Matter?

As we were preparing the June 1 issue, I sat down to read Associate Editor Brandyl Brooks’ article on the National Reining Breeders Classic (NRBC). The Level 4 Open finals ended in a tie between Casey Deary, on ARC Gunna Sparkya, and Andrea Fappani, on SG Frozen Enterprize. In reining, tied competitors can both opt out of a run-off and split the championship, but if either person wants a tie-breaker run, the other must comply or forfeit the win. While Casey would have split the title, Andrea called for a run-off. It was a smart call, as Andrea and “Iceman” turned in another solid run and took top honors. What really stuck with me was Casey’s comment afterward. He said, “I voted to not run [ARC Gunna Sparkya] off just because he’s 4, but I know Andrea’s horse is older and so broke...that his horse could probably come in there and do that same thing again.”

While cutting has 3-year-old futurities, 4-year-old derbies, and 5- and 6-year-old classic/challenge events, most reining derbies are for 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds. Deary’s comment about not wanting to run-off his 4-year-old versus Andrea’s 6-year-old made me wonder...does age matter that much?

Take A Break

Recently, I did something I rarely do – I took a vacation. Many times through my 20-plus-year career as a journalist, I’ve managed to take “working vacations,” where I kept working while visiting family in other states. One year, I went to Rillito Park, did a couple of interviews, took pictures and wrote an article while visiting my sister in Tucson, Arizona, during my Christmas “vacation.”

But last week was different. Last week, I took three days off work, boarded a plane and landed in another state with no work plans other than an occasional glance at my email to make sure a headline-grabbing story hadn’t hit the Western performance horse industry in my absence.

Hall of Fame

It happened at the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit Futurity and the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity. It happened at the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Convention. It happened at the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Convention last year, and again at the NCHA Futurity. In each case, the associations paid tribute to the inductees – human and horse – to their respective halls of fame.

I admit, seeing the videos honoring inductees, hearing their stories and reading about them can be awfully inspiring. More than once, I’ve found myself humbled by the lives represented through the stories and pictures.