Sarasota, FL - January 10, 2015 - Being named Horse Show By Appointment's Greatest Caballero requires the complete package: strong performances in multiple events including herd work, reining, fence work and steer stopping. Over the past two days at the Horse Show By Appointment (HSBA) Championship Double C Saddlery Finals, there was no question that Jay Holmes and Ima Downtown Cat have got what it takes in all categories.
The pair was consistent in all four phases at Holmes' own Triple J Ranch in Sarasota, Florida, and Friday night Holmes rode away with the 2014 HSBA Greatest Cabellero title.
Winning something such as the title of Greatest Cabellero is nothing new for Ima Downtown Cat. The 7-year-old stallion has multiple AQHA World Championship top placings in Jr. Working Cow Horse to his name, as well as numerous derby wins from around the country. "We've had him since he was a baby. He was raised here [at Triple J Ranch]," said Holmes of Ima Downtown Cat. "He just always tries hard. I thought he ran pretty good this weekend; he always runs well."
For his victory, Holmes took home the lion's share of the prize money for the class, just part of $100,000 in prize money and awards presented throughout the weekend at the 2014 HSBA Championship Double C Saddlery Finals.
"Usually I have to drive 20 hours for something like this, for the prize money that's involved here at this show," Holmes said. "They've done a great job with their show. The weekend shows are really a good format because you can go and show when you want to. If you've got a wedding or something to go to - whatever you've got to go to - you can make an appointment and show. There's not a reason that you can't go show your horse with the way it's set up."
In addition to convenient scheduling, HSBA also offers something for everyone and top of the line prizes to all winners.
Prior to the start of the evening's Greatest Caballero conclusion, HSBA awarded the first of the weekend's major prize money and the first two gorgeous Double C Saddlery saddles to the winner of the 2K Open Bridle and 2K Open Hackmore divisions.
This year, the win in both divisions went to Jorge Puente. In the Open Bridle division, Puente topped the class aboard Im Dun R U, owned by Jay Holmes, and in the Open Hackamore division he rode Lise Blanton's WTR Lenas Dun A Shot to the win.
"The first horse is a horse that Jay trained from the beginning, and he just let me show the horse a few times," Puente explained. "This is the third time that I've shown that horse. She was really nice. She was really good for me, and I'm happy."
Puente continued, "The other horse, I got the chance to ride him about four months ago for the reining part. He's a pretty nice horse with a lot of talent. I liked him. The first two times to qualify, I didn't ride him; I was showing another hors. That horse got sick so I couldn't bring her. So I just got here, and I rode this horse; he was pretty good for me both days."
Puente is an accomplished horseman, but he is new to the working cow horse and reined cow horse arena. The HSBA Finals mark only his third time competing in a working cow horse event; the first two times came in HSBA competitions earlier in 2014 in an effort to qualify for the finals. After this year's final, Puente can't wait to compete with HSBA again next year.
"They have really good payouts, and they have saddles for every class. It's a really nice show to come to. I'm coming next year again for sure," Puente said. "I did reining, but this is the first time that I did working cow. I'm planning to come every year. I really like it."
The HSBA format, and the show's motto of "Fun, Fair and Affordable," make the HSBA events ideal for accomplished riders and newcomers to the reined cow horse community alike. It's also the perfect introductory horse show program for youth getting started in the sport, and that's who took center stage for much of the afternoon on Friday.
Friday's afternoon classes included runs in the Youth Boxing and Little Britches Boxing with youth competition coming to a conclusion on Sunday.
Friday night's line-up also featured the exhilarating and crowd-pleasing "Down the Hairy Fence" competition. The no holds barred fence work competition came down to an exciting showdown between brothers Rick Steed and Trevor Steed of Steed Training.
"Everything's going really well," said Andy Adams, one of two top judges presiding over this weekend's show. "The Bridle Spectacular and open horses have been great. We've sure seen a lot of new people coming into the industry through Horse Show by Appointment, which is awesome."
Adams continued, "They're super accommodating. There's no intimidation for those green guys to come show here. I like to see that. They have great facilities, and the whole deal is really good. I've judged two shows for them, and both of them have been really good shows with good numbers, lots of fun too. There's very little intimidation. You don't have to be a really accomplished great cow horse rider to come here. There's a spot for everybody."
The HSBA Finals competition continues Saturday at Triple J Ranch with herd work for the exciting HSBA Derby beginning at 9 a.m.
To view the HSBA Championship Double C Saddlery Finals' schedule and to learn more about HSBA visit: www.showbyappointment.com/2014-Championship-Finals.html.