CELEBRATIONS

Barnsdall youth chosen to receive American Quarter Horse

Roseanne McKeeJ-C Correspondent
Barnsdall youth chosen to receive American Quarter Horse

Allie Mae Baker, a resident of Barnsdall, was one of six youth from across the United States, chosen by the American Quarter Horse Association, to receive a free registered foal as part of their Young Horse Development Program, which also showcases the stock being bred and raised by AQHA Ranching Heritage members.

“It was quite a surprise to get the call on the Tuesday after Labor Day from the AQHA headquarters and told that we needed to be in Rapid City South Dakota on Saturday, September sixth at noon,” said Allie Baker’s mother, Tina Thennes, during a phone interview Sept. 25.

On Sept. 6, the six recipients, chosen from 30 applicants, gathered at the Rapid City Arena and selected their horses. If two selected the same horse, the final decision was made by a coin toss, Thennes explained.

“These are heritage breeders, which goes back to the bloodlines that quarter horses were founded on,” Thennes said.

Thennes was impressed by the quality of the colts being given, which sell for between three and five thousand dollars.

The commitment of the breeders to the youth giving program also touched her.

“Jim and Jonie Hunt, the breeders, came to us and said ‘if this little horse gets hurt, sick or dies, we’ll provide Allie Mae with another horse at no charge.’”

Speaking about the Hunts, Thennes said, “This is a family that is in its third generation of being involved in breeding quarter horses. The more we learned about it, the more impressed we were.”

Allie Mae named her colt Tuff, after a favorite pro-rodeo performer, Tuff Cooper.

Described by Thennes as a pasture pet with a great pedigree, she said, “Tuff is a little stud colt. He’s red roan. He looks like red with frosting on him. Every day I see Tuff out in the pasture and I’m just amazed. He’s top notch, and all six [horses] were.

“The breeders said their kids were involved in choosing the horses for the recipients. They chose horses that they’d have wanted to compete with. Allie is quite honored.”

In accepting the gift, Allie Mae has agreed to keep a journal for the next year, which will be submitted to AQHA and evaluated in a competition for up to $5,000 in scholarships, Thennes said.

According to the AQHA website, www.aqha.com all participants in the program are required to write a one to two page progress report on their foal each month. The reports should highlight the daily routine care of the horse, nutrition plans, goals for the horse, and training plans.

A perk of the award is that for the next year Allie Mae will appear at several events on behalf of AQHA. Among these, is a photo shoot in one of the quarter horse magazines, Thennes said.

As they do every year, the AHQA chose the recipients, who are between the ages of 12 and 18, based on their experience and commitment to horses.

Allie Mae, who is 12 years old, has been riding since she was a baby.

“When she could hold her head up I’d put her in the saddle with me. When she was three or four, she had a pony to start off on — who was very gentle. After that, it was one horse after another. She has a leopard appaloosa, named Freckles, that she rides when she sings or in parades. He looks like the horse that Pawnee Bill rode. He’s not a quarter horse but he’s special to her. He’s a rescue horse. He’s hardship registered but he has all the distinguished marks,” Thennes said.

“Her riding really took off after we moved to Osage County and she began participating in the Pawhuska, Skiatook and Bartlesville Roundup Clubs. They made us feel quite welcome and more involved.”

Describing Allie Mae’s routine, Thennes said, “Allie probably watches less than 30 minutes of T.V. a week, because she’s very dedicated to her riding and her singing. She’s also very committed to her school work.”

Singing is among Allie Mae’s talents, and she is a regular at local rodeos, where she sings on horseback.

“She has a natural talent. She sang before she spoke. She has been singing publicly since the age of 8. She started formal voice lessons four years ago when she was nine,” Thennes said.

Gaining recognition for her poise and her abilities as a horsewoman, Allie Mae was the Pawhuska Roundup Club’s 2013 Princess and the 2014 101 Wild West Rodeo Princess. She won Miss Congeniality in the Miss Rodeo Oklahoma Princess Contest in 2014.

Allie Mae is also the 2013 Cavalcade Rodeo Junior Barrel Racing champion.

For the barrel racing competitions, “the horse she rides is older and we’re hoping that as this horse comes into age, the other horse will be retired,” Thennes explained. “She goes to Skiatook and rides once a week with a trainer” on her reining horse, which is a quarter horse.

Allie Mae and her family are still absorbing the blessing of having been given Tuff.

Thennes said: “It’s so cool that the American Quarter Horse Association does this, and the breeders. We’re still pinching ourselves that we’ve been chosen.”