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Kathy Hunt and Skys Moon Pie win their first AQHA Bayer Select World Championship in Pleasure Driving.

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Kathy Hunt and Skys Moon Pie win their first AQHA Bayer Select World Championship in Pleasure Driving.

AMARILLO, Texas — The American Quarter Horse Association’s 2009 Bayer Select World Championship Show continued to draw exhibitors from across the United States as the world’s largest, single-breed horse show open exclusively to amateur exhibitors age 50 and older.

Select exhibitors traveled to the Amarillo National Center to compete Aug. 31-Sept. 6 in 41 classes for champion prize packages that included custom-designed trophies, Montana Silversmiths belt buckles, Tex Tan or WeatherBeeta products, Cripple Creek jackets and prize money.

Entries for the 2009 Bayer Select World Championship Show increased over 2008 numbers with 1,217 for 2009 compared to 1,167 for 2008. Ranch sorting had the largest number of entries with 89 teams slated to compete.

Among the several Californians who came back with memorable experiences was Kathy Hunt of Clovis, Calif. Hunt won her first World title in Pleasure Driving with her Skys Moon Pie, a 2005 gray mare by Skys Blue Boy x Miss Fager’s Tune (TB) by Conquista Fager.

Pleasure driving was not only a large class but also the final one of the 2009 Bayer Select World Championship Show. With 11 in the class, Hunt was probably the most green, having been showing in pleasure driving for only about six months. But then it came down to only two: multiple Select World champion Dr. April Speyer with Signature In Blue, and Hunt with her 4-year-old gray mare, Skys Moon Pie. When Hunt heard it wasn’t her number called out for reserve champion, she broke down in tears.

At only her second Bayer Select World, Hunt had won a championship title–and with a mare she wasn’t sure was going to make it in the show world.

Hunt bought Skys Moon Pie as 2-year-old from the All American Quarter Horse Congress in Ohio. “She had a shaky beginning and I found Kim (Leiter) back in March and she has just made it all happen–she’s a miracle worker,” Hunt said of her trainer, Kimberly Leiter of Somis, Calif.

Skys Moon Pie had a shaky start because she was young and growing. Hunt explained: “She was healthy and all that, but she was just kind of difficult to work with until I found the right person who could work with me.”

Winning her first World championship at the 2009 AQHA Select Show was a complete surprise. “I’m so tingly, I don’t know. I don’t even know my name,” she said shortly afterward. “I’m shocked to even be here. If you told me a few months ago, I would probably never would have believed it, but Kim has just turned it around for me–I was ready to quit. I want to thank my friends, my family, the Quarter Horse Association, everybody who has touched my life, God, of course, and especially Kim. Now I feel like a basketball player,” she laughed.

Hunt had only been showing in pleasure driving for six months and said she chose to compete in the discipline because of “the hats!”

She was qualified to show in two classes at the Bayer Select Show, but decided to only compete in one. “We had some issues with Harpos Dimension, so we decided not to take her on the long haul and instead bring her to the World Show. So I only showed in pleasure driving this year; just the one class. I seemed to have missed qualifying for the trail by half-a-point because I don’t know how to count, even though I’m married to an accountant. And he doesn’t look at my points. He doesn’t want to know anything about it.”

This was her second trip to the AQHA Select Show. “I brought my performance halter mare, Harpos Dimension, last year and we were fifth. I was kind of mad at myself because I kind of believe in that ‘Secret’-type thing and I kept saying all I wanted to do was be top five. So I was fifth. This year, Kim told me to say: ‘You’re going to win it. You’re going to win it.’ And so, Wow! It’s just incredible. I’m so blessed; I am so lucky.”

Hunt’s other horses include: “I have two trail horses. I have a futurity horse coming up next year in the pleasure futurity. I do it all until my bank account runs out, which will probably be in a year or two,” she laughed.

If it hadn’t been for a terrible automobile accident when Hunt was 9, she might not have gotten involved with horses. “I was in the hospital for a year and my dad said he would buy me a horse if I would walk,” she said. “So I went through therapy, and they didn’t think I would ever walk but fooled them–I walked out of the hospital. So he had to buy me a horse. That was like a million years ago though.”

With her love for horses and shows–Hunt started showing Quarter Horses six years ago, she plans to be back at the Bayer Select Show next year. “And we’re going on to the World Show in the Open,” she said. “If I had a kid, he’d be at the AQHYA World Show–I do have a kid but he doesn’t like horses.

At the AQHA World Championship Show from Nov. 6-21 in Oklahoma City, Hunt plans to show in junior pleasure driving. “I have a junior trail horse named Gold Lovers Only. She’ll be showing and Harpos Dimension will be showing in the performance halter mares.”

For complete show results, visit: www.aqha.com/showing/shows/selectshow/results.html

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