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Horsetrader Hits the Highway:
AQHA Select World Championship
Days 1-3

The Horsetrader's Cece Campbell and Cynthia Cantleberry head to Amarillo, Texas. Follow us!

By CECE CAMPBELL / Horsetrader staff - September 1st, 2009 - Horsetrader Hits the Highway
Cece, Reprint and Cynthia

Cece, Reprint and Cynthia

California Horsetrader staff member Cece Campbell joins legendary trainer Cynthia Cantleberry of Paso Robles as they take Joan de Regt and “Reprint” to the 2009 Bayer Select World Championship Show Aug. 31-Sept. 6.

Joan fell in love with “Classy Reprint” years ago when the mare was owned by someone else. Joan, who secretly dreamed of owning Reprint, approached Cynthia two years ago about the horse, a successful show mare who at the time was having the pasture life of a successful, retired show horse and broodmare. She thought her chances of taking lessons on Reprint were slim to none.

Graciously, Cynthia, who was training and raising the mare, agreed to let Joan take the horse on a “test ride”. She got along famously with Reprint and asked if she could show her. Cynthia explained that she would have to own the horse in order to show on the Quarter Horse circuit, but agreed to sell Joan the mare if she could have the baby out of her. Cynthia loved the mare and had also raised, trained and shown her mother , Silk Classic, the Reserve World Champion Super Horse. Joan’s daughter, Lauren Wood, helped to make her showing possible by driving her to the shows and helping every step of the way. In their first show together, they were second in the tough Select Amateur Trail class at Rancho Murieta. Joan’s dreams have come true. It wasn’t an easy road, and Joan celebrated her 79th birthday last week. She had a fall from Reprint last year which set them back. At the time, she thought she would not be able to ride again. All the way through, Cynthia and Lauren have been there with love and support to help her reach her dream. She qualified Reprint this year for the Select World and is still grinning like a girl at the Select Show. She rides No. 14 in the order, so she’s all ready!

Cynthia in a pre-dawn fueling

Cynthia in a pre-dawn fueling

Day 2 – Change of Plans

We changed our plans and left at 3:52 a.m. Instead of driving to Alburquerque, we decided to drive the rest of the trip to Amarillo in one day. We loaded horses and dogs and hit the road before sunrise, stopping only at the Little America Hotel and Truck Stop for gas and coffee. When the sun rose, it was brutal, and we drove directly into it.

Cynthia hit New Mexico before noon. We passed more than a few octagon houses and Indian trading stores. The weather stayed under 90 degrees, so the horses trailered beautifully. We hit Tecumcari, N.M., around 3 p.m. and stopped at a lovely rest stop with shelters and picnic tables everywhere. The views were spectacular of the pastures with happy cattle and green grass — it looks like New Mexico has had a lot more rain than California!

The worst part was the never-ending road construction. Through Albuquerque was the worst. Cynthia says the town always has road construction. Tecumcari is about three hours from Amarillo, so we hit the outskirts of Amarillo a little after 6 p.m. and arrived at our destination right off Highway 40. We’re staying at the Happy Tracks Horse Motel. There are six other living-quarters horse trailers (all from California) staying here with horses. We’ll head into the Amarillo fairgrounds to set up tomorrow morning — so can “sleep in” ‘til 6 a.m.!).

Cynthia, Benny and Mike

Cynthia, Benny and Mike

Day 3 – Early start and some Texas shopping

Up at 6 a.m.(4 a.m. California time!), we slowed enough for bagels and yogurt. We walked the dogs, then loaded up Reprint and headed for the Tri State Fairgrounds in Amarillo about 15 minutes away. On the way, we passed the famous Cadillac Ranch and the AQHA Offices and AQHA Heritage Museum (located on Quarter Horse Road). We’ll be visiting both the museum and the offices later on in the week.

The Fairgrounds opened at 8 a.m. for exhibitors, so there was a line of the finest living quarters, buses and horse trailers waiting to check in. Since we’ll be stalling with the California crowd –- including Benny Guitron, Rick Kelley and Sarah Faught — our tack room and dressing room were ready for us. Cynthia has thought of everything. She is well prepared and loved by all. We unload the trailer, bed the stall, hung buckets, unloaded saddles and tack. The AQHA staff was wonderful and had golf carts ready to help us every step of the way.

Our stall's California contingent!

Our stall's California contingent!

About noon, we headed out to scout western stores and get some real food. After several missed turns, we both agreed it was back to Cracker Barrel for lunch. Great home-cooked food and lovely shopping.

Then we headed to Cavender’s Western Store and the Boots and Jeans store (a Shepler’s store). Lovely big stores with amazing boots, jeans, western clothing and jewelry. We arrived back at the Fairgrounds around 3:30 p.m., picked up patterns and numbers. Cynthia is off lunging Reprint and I’m sitting in the Coliseum watching the great horses work. There are reiners, pleasure horses and halter horses all doing their thing. Gives me goosebumps, for sure. The vendors are setting up, so tomorrow should be a blast to check everything out!

» Click here to read about days 4 to 7

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