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All in the family

Bree Hokana adds reining title to Temecula family's successes

From Horsetrader staff reports - April 21st, 2011 - Feature Article, Show & Event News
Bree Hokana (second from right) and "Charlie" are AQHA High Point Youth Reining Champions, adding to the family's legacy of champions featuring her sister Brooke (left) and her mother, trainer and clinician Dana Hokana.

Horsetrader photo

Bree Hokana (second from right) and "Charlie" are AQHA High Point Youth Reining Champions, adding to the family's legacy of champions featuring her sister Brooke (left) and her mother, trainer and clinician Dana Hokana.

TEMECULA – Last year, when Bree Hokana had her goal in hand, it had been a long time coming.

After all, the 2010 American Quarter Horse Association High Point Youth Reining Championship is no quick achievement — it takes a year’s worth of competing across thousands of miles to earn the nation’s highest point total of all riders 18-under in the popular class. She committed to the goal after a monstrous 23-point showing on her SCF The Night Train at the Sun Circuit early last year, but the fire to win the nation may have kindled five years earlier. That’s when she watched her older sister, Brook, accept the same award at the AQHA Youth Banquet.

“My sister has so many titles — I look up to her in that area,” says Bree, at age 17 three years the younger sibling. “I always wanted to do something great like her.”

“It was kind of funny because right before the Sun Circuit in like December we were talking about me going for the nation,” Bree adds. “I knew it’s a lot of work and a long process, and after the Sun Circuit we said it’s such a great start, we might as well go for it!”

Bree studies with sister Brook's tutelage.

Horsetrader photo

Bree studies with sister Brook's tutelage.

Like so much at the Hokana Ranch, Bree’s title stems from team effort.

“We love doing it,” Bree says. “It starts with my mom — I love hearing her old stories about how she first started out, worked hard and had faith this is what she would do later in life. As a little girl she would play, cutting out little horse stalls to play with, and she kept saying she would be a trainer someday and be involved with horses. She grew up and has her dream. That has really stayed with my sister and I,” Bree adds. “Now horses are something we really, really love to do, and I don’t think I could ever give it up. I love the horses, and I love getting to share it with my sister and my mom — I think that’s something really special.”

The girls rely a bit still on mom’s advice in the arena and also when it’s time to find a new horse. They also advise one another. Brook, 20, says she appreciates her younger sister’s patience.

“I’ll get on a horse and I’ll have patience for a while, but if it’s just fighting and fighting, I’ll just kind of lose my temper and need to get off for a while,” smiles Brook. “Bree will stick with something for two hours if she has to. She’s very soft-handed and very, very patient. She’s a lot like my mom when she rides — with a lot of patience and softness. If it takes her four hours to get through a horse, she’ll ride it for four hours.

And while Bree could step in when Brook loses patience and say, “OK, let me get on for a second — I’ll give you a break”, Brook pitches in to help Bree, too, with challenges.

“When the horses are saying, ‘no, I’m not going to do it,’ Bree will kind of say, ‘Brook, will you please get on and help me?’,” says Brook. “We help each other.”

When Bree was searching for a horse before the 2010 season, it was Brook who first rode SCF The Night Train, a.k.a “Charlie”.

“I had just lost my other reiner, and a friend sent a video of Charlie to us,” says Bree. “The day we received the video, Brook just so happened to be on the East Coast visiting a friend close by to the location of Charlie.”

Bree is already qualified for this year’s AQHA Youth World with Charlie, and at the Spring Classic at Showpark in Del Mar last month she qualified her new horse, Reminic N Poco, after coming away from that event with the Youth Reining Circuit Championship.

Whether she pursues another drive toward the 2011 AQHA High Point Youth Reiner again, or even if she pursues later in life a professional training career like her successful mother – those things are undetermined now. But one thing is clear: Bree will continue to pursue excellence with horses, and her family will be be nearby.

“Brook jokes and says she’s going to be so close that she’s going to come over and borrow a cup of sugar every day and be able to see me out her window,” says Bree, who considers her sister her best friend. “I’m not going to be THAT close! But when we’re grown she’ll be driving our horses to the big shows and the futurities in the big truck and trailer – like she does now.”

And her mom will always have a place in her.

“I look up to her a lot and want to be like her someday,” she says. “Her and my sister, combined.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dana Hokana is a Horsetrader columnist whose articles, “Dear Dana…”, appear in print and online each issue. See this issue’s column on Page 34.

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