By Marguerite “Cricket” Gentry
Quarter Horses are our YourDressage Breed of the Month for April! This breed originated in America, and is known for its athleticism and its ability to excel in everything from horse racing, to western sports, to ranch work, to the dressage arena.
Dressage enthusiasts who ride Quarter Horses have the opportunity to earn special awards through the Adequan®/USDF All-Breeds Awards as The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) is a Participating Organization.
We recently asked our social media followers to share stories of what makes this breed so special to them. Here, a Region 1 rider shares about her magical journey with her American Quarter Horse, Magic.
It was the summer of 2004, and my husband and I were visiting my dad at his summer home in rural Maine. It was in the evening…I was bored…I went to the computer hoping that the internet was up, because sometimes it isn’t in the Maine woods. I was in luck; the internet was available. I had been thinking about getting a new young horse for a while, specifically a Quarter Horse. My good friend, Lynn Palm, had been pushing hard to have AQHA start a program that would award registered American Quarter Horses AQHA points based on their placing at USDF-recognized dressage shows, as long they scored at least 60 points. I wanted to support her efforts and be part of this program.
I typed in “tall, young Quarter Horse gelding for sale” in the browser. Bam….up comes an ad for a “young, slow-legged (QH speak for a pretty mover), dark grey, 2 yr old, QH gelding”. I clicked on the ad, saw my first picture of “Magic”, and said, “Yup, that’s the one. I want him.” He was in Amarillo, TX. The rest, as they say, is history.
So, I e-mailed the owner and found out some more particulars about this stunning young horse. His name was Never Better Magic, and he was an Appendix Registered Quarter Horse. His sire was a Thoroughbred, Never Bend Better, and his dam was a QH mare who also had some racing blood in her pedigree. He was barefoot (which he still is today) and had several months of professional training under his belt. AND he was still available.
I had a friend of a friend go look at him and report back to me her impressions (mostly good), I saw a video and several pictures, I spoke at length with his breeder, Denise Everett (who has since become an awesome friend), I had him vetted and sent the check…never having laid eyes on him in person. Had another friend who happened to be showing in Amarillo haul him back to North Carolina for me. The first time I saw him in person, I loved him as much, if not more, than the first photo online. Our journey was about to begin.
I am a professional paramedic, but an amateur horseman (although I have had at least one horse since I was 12 years old…I am MUCH older now). Magic was 16.1 hh, green broke, almost black, and simply gorgeous (in my eyes). And in his eyes too; he had quite the strong opinion of himself (and still does). I am blessed to live in an area of the country (Southern Pines, NC) with a lot of great riders and trainers, and I have used most of them to figure out how to ride Magic. I have learned more from this one horse than I have from all of the other horses in my life.
We started out with trail rides, eventually dabbling in the hunters (he is a great jumper) and a little eventing (his sire was a very good event horse and Magic was very bold….me…. not so much). But all the while, I knew we were going to end up in the white rectangle. As the years went by, we focused more on dressage and participating in the AQHA dressage program. We advanced up through the levels nicely, winning a few things along the way. Magic was AQHA High Point in the nation at Amateur Second Level, Amateur Third Level, Amateur Fourth Level, and Amateur Prix St George. Currently, we are leading AQHA High Point for Amateur Intermediare 1 for 2020. I have earned my USDF Bronze and Silver Medals, as well as the USDF Master’s Challenge Award at the FEL Level – all thanks to Magic (and some awesome trainers). He has won numerous state awards from our local GMO, North Carolina Dressage and Combined Training Association.
Magic is 19 this year, I will be 65. We are slowing down a bit competitively, but we still plan to show a little this year, some dressage, some western dressage, and add in a few ranch riding classes at AQHA shows. Plus, we have just started exploring working equitation which he loves because he gets to “do obstacle stuff”. We both enjoy trail riding, and he loves doing and learning new tricks. Some of his tricks are he bows, prays, lays down, sits, plays dead, fetches a stuffed toy for me to throw then he brings it back to me, speaks (nickers actually…quietly), toots a horn and LOVES to pick up things and hand them to me. Anything from trash or plastic bags at the showgrounds to towels or his halter and lead rope—but the most useful is when he picks up my whip when I accidently drop it…then he hands it to me. Magic is the epitome of the versatile Quarter Horse. I have loved this breed for years because of their brains, their rideability, their athleticism and their personalities! I am so blessed that the internet was up and running that night in Maine 17 years ago, because this has been the most “magical” horse experience ever!
I really appreciate USDF recognizing so many different breeds and it is my belief that dressage is a great discipline for every breed, and every breed can benefit from dressage.
As YourDressage celebrates this breed all month, check out more wonderful Quarter Horses in our photo gallery.