By CATHY MOUNCE
Register Staff Writer
Gainesville resident Riley Chown and her 11-year-old bay mare Short and Royal partnered up to claim top prize in Working Cow Horse at the American Quarter Horse Youth Association (AQHYA) World Championship held in Oklahoma City on Aug. 10.
Chown comes by her equestrian talent naturally as the only child of Robert and Cheryl Chown, owners of Chown Quarter Horses of Gainesville.
Chown qualified for the finals during the previous two years but missed the elusive title in the finals. That changed this year for the brunette beauty as she and Short and Royal — nicknamed Pebbles — showed the competition what they were made of and brought the championship trophy home to Gainesville.
“It was such a relief to win this year after coming so close the past two years. I didn’t really have time to get nervous because Pebbles had a job to do and I had to stay calm and help her as much as I could,” Chown said.
Riley’s expertise in handling Pebbles and the explosive run they had netted the winning pair a 211 and a 227 in both runs of the competition.
The Working Cow Horse event is based on training that will help a horse reach a maximum level of performance from the working ranch to the competitive arena.
The event consists of mandatory reining work of patterned challenges set by judges as well as working with and controlling a cow. The natural working ability of the horse without excessive reining or spurring is what earns credit in the scores. The greater the difficulty of the run, the higher the score.
“In the reining, Pebbles was really good and I just had to focus on getting her through smoothly.”
She continued, “Working with the cow, I just let Pebbles get in the middle of everything and let her do the work. She is really aggressive and knows what to do so I just let her have it and she did the rest.”
Chown credits her dad with the training of Pebbles and said that she has been a great mare for the family. Although 11-years-old now, Pebbles is not ready to be put out to pasture.
“She is a one of a kind,” Chown continued. “ I just love her because she gives everything she has.”
Growing up on her family’s ranch south of Gainesville, Chown said that she learned early to appreciate her experiences working with horses.
“I was on a horse before I was born,” she said. “My mother was pregnant with me and was still riding.”
“I owe my parents so much for the life I have had here,” she recalled. “If it wasn’t for their support, I wouldn’t have had the success that I have had. They have also given me the confidence to be who I am today.”
Chown has one more year of eligibility to ride in the AQHYA so a repeat with Pebbles might be in the future.
For the family, change will be bitter sweet this year as home schooled graduate Chown will be heading off to Weatherford College next month to study marketing in conjunction with a scholarship to compete on the rodeo team in breakaway and barrel racing.
“I am excited to start this new part of my life but glad that I will only be an hour and a half away,” she said. “I think mom and dad are having a rougher time than me.”
By CATHY MOUNCE
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