PREMIER - June 2021

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Suddenlee n S B A

R e S

W o R l d

C h A m p i o n

multiple AQhA top ten YeAR end AWARd WinneR | multiple All-ARound CiRCuit WinneR

Select All-Around eventS with Joe Whitt

Ad by Natalie Zvanya | Photos by Cody Parmenter, Jeff Kirkbride & RG Photo

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Stone Code

multiple top 10 AQhA WoRld, nSBA WoRld & tom poWeRS WinneR Junior weStern PleASure with BRiAn BAkeR non-Pro & Select with Joe Whitt

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cover story

Made To Ride K

ate Heflin Steele first saw Made To Ride at a show in Raleigh, North Carolina in the summer of 2020. The pretty sorrel mare was loping around the ring with Jamie English and immediately Katie couldn’t take her eyes off of her. A few weeks later at the Big A in Georgia, Katie’s trainers RJ King and Blair Townsend rode the mare and decided she would be the perfect horse for Katie.

Blair says the mare’s cadence and easy-going attitude made her a great choice for Katie.

“Initially Blair and RJ were looking at her for another client,” said Katie. “But after riding her they thought she would be a great non-pro horse. I loved her from the first time I saw her, so my parents and I jumped at the chance to buy her.”

Known around the barn as “Foxy,” Made To Ride is sired by Machine Made and out of Huntin For A Cowboy, a mare that Nancy Ditty showed to a Congress Championship in the 3-Year-Old Non-Pro Western Pleasure.

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“She has so much self-carriage that we were really confident she would make a great non-pro horse that Katie could have a lot of fun showing. Plus she is extremely well-bred and so we knew she would be a terrific broodmare when the time is right.”

Photo by Kirstie Marie Photography

Florida. She was also third in the Novice Amateur Western Pleasure with Katie. “Foxy really came into her own this year as a three-year-old,” said Blair. “She’s become a great show horse. She’s just so easy and really gives you her all in the pen. When I showed her in Ocala, I had just given birth to our son Westyn twelve days earlier, so I literally just got on at the gate and she was absolutely perfect. She’s just a lot of fun to show.”

Foxy proved from the start that she would live up to her pedigree. Jamie English showed her to a Reserve Championship in the 2-Year-Old Open Western Pleasure at the Big A. Following that show RJ and Blair hauled the mare back to their ranch in Texas. At the NSBA World Championship show later that summer, Foxy placed sixth with RJ King in the 2-YearOld Open Western Pleasure, but she really began to shine later that fall. “It really all started to come together in Arizona at the Fall Championship Show,” said Blair. “The mare got a lot stronger and more solid. Katie showed her for the first time out there in a bridle in the Novice Amateur Western Pleasure. For being only two, I think that speaks volumes to just how good minded this horse is.” Katie and Foxy ended the mare’s two-year-old on a high note, winning both the Tom Powers Futurity 2 Year Limited Non-Pro Western Pleasure and the Sale Stakes 2-Year-Old Limited $10,000 and Under Hammer Price Western Pleasure. They were also named the NSBA Year End High Point winners in the 2-Year-Old Limited Non-Pro Western Pleasure. Foxy started off her three-year-old year with bang, winning the 3-Year-Old Limited Open Western Pleasure with RJ and Blair’s assistant trainer Garrett Streit, and the 3-Year-Old Intermediate Open Western Pleasure with Blair at the A Sudden Impulse Futurity in Ocala,

Following Ocala, the team headed north to The Madness in Wilmington, Ohio where Garrett and Foxy once again won the 3-Year-Old Limited Open Western Pleasure—unanimously under all four judges. “This year has been a lot of fun so far,” said Katie. “Having the opportunity to show a horse like Foxy

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done with the horses but while I was away at school my dad bought two Quarter Horses. One of them was a broodmare who we ended up raising a couple of babies out of, one being a Nite Moves filly, Kiss Me Goodnight, that I came back and showed as a two-year-old with RJ.” Her parents, Jud and Gail Heflin, own all of the horses but the broodmares and babies live at Katie and her husband Chad Steele’s house up until they are sent off for training. To create a durable structure for the future, Katie, Chad and her parents decided to enter into a partnership.

[Jud Heflin, Katie Heflin Steele & Gail Heflin]

as well as getting to watch her win with several different riders has been really special.”

From Paints to Quarters

“The horses had always been a family hobby for us,” said Katie. “We finally formalized it last year when we created HS Equine Ventures.” Recently it became even more of a family activity when Katie’s niece Maybel showed in the Leadline for the first time at the March To The Arch.

Katie started riding when she was in seventh grade. However it took several years to convince her parents that her love of horses was real and lasting before they finally agreed to buy her a horse of her own. “I think at first mom and dad thought horses were something I would outgrow pretty quickly,” said Katie. “Eventually they realized that I had no intentions of giving it up, and they bought me a 3-year-old Quarter Horse. Let’s just say that he was definitely not a great match for a novice rider. After that we connected with a local Paint trainer and she helped me find a more suitable horse I could show at APHA shows.” Katie spent her high school and college years showing at the top levels of APHA competition winning World titles with horses like Justified Expense, Showtoppin Sensation, and Artfully Fancy. After graduation Katie focused on chasing her dreams of becoming an attorney and left for law school at Texas Tech. “We sold all of our Paint horses when I went to law school,” said Katie. “We thought we were 8 | PREMIER | JUNE 2021

[Maybel and Katie]

“My brother never had an interest in horses,” said Katie. “But my niece loves them and has started showing in the Leadline now, so I think that my brother and my sisterin-law will be coming to more shows. I love that this has become something the whole family can enjoy together.”

Looking Forward With the summer futurities starting this month and some big payouts slated for later this fall, there is a lot to look forward to. Foxy will continue to show in 3-Year-old Western Pleasure and Novice Amateur events with Katie, Blair and Garrett.

started. Katie, her parents, Blair and RJ have built a winning team based on a mutual respect for one another. “RJ and Blair make a great team,” said Katie. “They are some of the hardest working people I know. My parents and I will always be grateful to RJ for taking a chance on our Nite Moves filly and developing her into a NSBA Reserve World Champion. Both RJ and Blair have a great eye for young prospects and do a terrific job of preparing them for a non-pro.” [Katie, RJ King & Blair Townsend]

[Gail Heflin with “Foxy”]

“Katie really strives to do well and always puts in extra effort,” said Blair. “She comes up every week to practice and wants to learn. It’s really exciting and rewarding to watch her do well in the show pen and see her hard work pay off. We are extremely excited to watch her continue to develop as a team with Foxy along with her two-year-olds later this year.”

“I can’t say enough about this horse,” said Katie. “She’s my unicorn. She is just the sweetest mare. I’m really looking forward to showing her more and I would love to raise some babies out of her in the future.” In addition to Foxy, HS Equine Ventures also has several promising two-year-olds that they are looking forward to showing later this year.

Article Written by Claire Binkowski

Jeanie In A Bottle, a filly by VS Flatline out of Sweet Talkin Jeannie, is expected to be in the show pen this summer at the Tom Powers Futurity or NSBA World Championship Show. “We were immediately drawn to her when we saw her at the NSBA sale last year,” said Blair. She is extremely well bred and such a pretty mover. We are excited to have her in the barn and are looking forward to showing her this year.” As She Rides Away, a filly by VS Goodride out of As Shes Walking Away, is on track to debut at The Championship Show this fall in Ocala, Florida. RJ is particularly fond of “Bailey” since he also showed her sire. “VS Goodride is an incredible horse,” said RJ. “I am very grateful to the Gower family for the opportunity to show ‘Boss’ and for the opportunity to purchase ‘Bailey’ for the Heflin family. She is extremely talented, just like her sire.” As anyone who shows horses will tell you, it takes a team to get a horse to the show pen and be successful, especially when it comes to young futurity horses who are just getting

Photo by Kirstie Marie Photography

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OIL CAN CLASSIC RESULTS 3 Year Old Limited Horse Limited Rider Western Pleasure

KM Game On

(RL Best Of Sudden x SL Miss Alli) Shown by Courtney Laney Owned by Masterson Farms LLC


3 Year Old Open Western Pleasure


(Only In The Moonlite x RR Abbeys Future) Shown by Angie Rigdon Cannizzaro Owned by Scott & Linda Berwick


3 Year Old Non Pro Western Pleasure

Start Ur Engines

(Machine Made x Momma Knows Best) Shown by Hillary Roberts Owned by Capital Quarter Horses LLC


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Maturity Non Pro Western Pleasure

Forever Kool

(Machine Made x Forever N Ever) Shown by Nancy Wilkerson-Ditty Owned by Ditty Up LLC


Maturity Limited Non Pro Western Pleasure

An Absolute Martini

(The Best Martini x Radical Rose Red) Owned and shown by Siena Holyoak


All Age Novice Non Pro Western Pleasure

Made In Madison

(Machine Made x Talkin Hot) Owned and shown by Melanie Parker


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OIL CAN CLASSIC RESULTS 4 & 5 Year Old Open Trail

VS Flat Out Cool

(VS Flatline x Cool Krymsun Lady) Shown by Ashley Dunbar-Clock Owned by Bonnie Sheren


4 & 5 Year Old Non Pro Trail

Been Sleepin

(Too Sleepy To Zip x Whoz Been Good) Shown by Bill Baskin & Susan Blackburn Owned by Juliana Blackburn-Baskin


3 Year Old Limited Horse Limited Rider Hunter Under Saddle

Strawberri Wine

(VS Code Red x Hours Yours And Mine) Shown by Caroline Gunn Owned by Jason Gilliam


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3 Year Old Open Hunter Under Saddle


(Its A Southern Thing x Pretty Assets) Shown by Amber Hanson Pickard Owned by Deeds Family Farm


3 Year Old Non Pro Hunter Under Saddle

Its Game On

(Machine Made x Moonlite In Dixie) Owned and shown by Tali Terlizzi


Maturity Limited Non Pro Hunter Under Saddle

Willy Has Potential

(Good I Will Be x Potential Two) Owned and shown by Michelle Bauer


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Lazy Patrick

(Lazy Loper x Suddenly Some More) Shown by Ashley Dubar-Clock Owned by Gabrielle Lofton


All Age Novice Non Pro Hunter Under Saddle

Ima Impulse Assets

(Allocate Your Assets x Ima Sudden Impulse) Owned and shown by Maggie Molever


Thank You




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Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation

Help all horses reach their full stride... funding the best equine research!

you can text-to-give:

horsehealth to 243725 or visit us at

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Wahoo Baby 56 | PREMIER | JUNE 2021

Wahoo Baby never stepped foot in a show pen, but her influence on hunt seat horses is far-reaching. For a mare who spent the majority of her life living quietly on a farm, Wahoo Baby’s impact on generations of hunt seat horses is incredible. Her twelve offspring and their get have amassed over $700,000 in lifetime earnings. That is quite a feat for any horse, much less a broodmare with no show record of her own.

Love at first sight Back in the 90s, Nancy Sue Ryan and her mother, Nancy McGregor, frequented racehorse auctions in Tulsa, Oklahoma to buy mares. The first day of a sale in 1992, Ryan, and a friend, Jeff Mellott, found two mares they liked. The second day seemed like it would be less successful. “We were just not finding anything,” Ryan said. “But then I walked down the aisle and there was this bay mare, just standing there with her ears up. As soon as I saw her, I knew we had to have her. I can’t tell you why. It was instantaneous. I just had to buy her.” McGregor paid just $900 for the 1985 Thoroughbred Wahoo Baby sired by Hula Chief (TB), out of Jodowa (TB), by Mustard Plaster (TB). The mare had a baby by her side, a 1992 Thoroughbred named Student Of Art by French Cut (TB) that was sold for $1,100 to another buyer. At the time, Wahoo Baby was back in foal to French Cut (TB), and the following year, French Accent (TB) was born. French Accent would go on to race and was then sold as a broodmare. Wahoo Baby was then bred to superstar hunt seat horse Luke At Me—a cross that would rocket the unknown Thoroughbred mare to premier broodmare status. She would spend the rest of her life on Nancy Sue Ryan’s farm.

“No one knew what it was, but there was just something special about her,” Ryan said. “She had a really short pretty head and a beautiful neck. She was just beautiful, and really put together well. She was quiet and she had so much type to her. She wasn’t a big mare, maybe 16.2, but she was a great producer. Wahoo Baby was just a very cool mare.”

Claim to fame Wahoo Baby’s 1992 foal Student Of Art (TB) went on to have a race career and produced a stallion named Student Of Honor (TB). Ryan and McGregor purchased Student Of Art after she was retired, and bred her to Luke At Me, producing the incomparable Luke Here Honey, a 2000 chestnut gelding. Student Of Art was then purchased by another owner and continued to produce great foals.

Luke Here Honey

sired by Luke At Me & (out of a daughter of Wahoo Baby)

“In his era, Luke Here Honey was probably one of the winningest horses at the All-American Quarter Horse Congress,” Ryan said. “He had an extremely successful show career. He won 14 Congress and World Championships, 23 Reserve Championships and earned over 727 points.” Wahoo Baby had two foals by French Cut and one foal—By All Means Baby—who was sired by Artful Investment. All of the other foals out of Wahoo Baby were sired by Luke At Me. Ryan says with one exception, Wahoo Baby produced a foal each year she was with them. Among them were four Congress Champions and one Reserve Congress Champion. “In the Hunter Under Saddle, Wahoo Baby is one of the leading Thoroughbred dams, and that was before embryo transfers,” Ryan said. “When you have a mare that has had ten babies, and so many of them did so well, I think that really sets her apart.”

Stroke Of Luke

sired by Luke At Me & (out of Wahoo Baby)

In 1995 Wahoo Baby produced Luke Whoo. Luke Whoo is the dam of seven money earners including Good Better Best, a 2014 stallion by Good I Will Be. Good Better Best is a Congress and Reserve Congress Champion who is now the cornerstone of Ryan’s breeding program. Stroke Of Luke, a brown stallion, was born in 1996. He had a successful show career, earning over $23,000, according to Robin Glenn Pedigrees. Christi Christensen saw Stroke Of Luke at the AQHA World Show in November 2001 and says she “just fell in love with him.” She asked Ryan if the horse was for sale, and Ryan let her take the stallion for a spin. “The first time I rode him it was a done deal,” said Christensen. “I fell in love with him.”


sired by Luke At Me & (out of Wahoo Baby) 57 | PREMIER | JUNE 2021

Ryan and trainer Vicki Holt helped Christensen with Stroke Of Luke for several years. He was a Reserve Congress Champion as a 3-year-old and won multiple Top 5 placings at the Congress and World Show in Hunter Under Saddle and Equitation. “He was just a great-minded hunt seat stallion that went on to do the all-around,” Christensen said. “He did the Hunter Under Saddle, Equitation, Pleasure Driving, Showmanship and Horsemanship.”


sired by Luke At Me & (out of Wahoo Baby)

Stroke Of Luke meant a lot to Christensen, and that’s due to some of the characteristics he shares with his dam, particularly his personality. “He was very special to me which I think in large part was because he was so good-minded. As a stallion he competed in the all-around events, where most people typically show geldings, without ever acting like a breeding stud,” Christensen said. Stroke of Luke was a good example of the kind of physique the Wahoo Baby and Luke At Me cross produced.

Hoo Ya Lukin At with Andrew Raley

“Wahoo Baby consistently produced big, big-strided, true hunt seat horses,” Christensen said. “Not only did they have a big stride, but they all had that point in the toe. She produced champion after champion so obviously they were great movers, but I think that she also put a great mind on them. Trainability was a big key to their success.” In 1997, Wahoo Baby produced Who Is Luking. In addition to winning a Congress Championship in 2-Year-Old Hunter Under Saddle, Who Is Luking was Top 3 at the Reichert Celebration and won multiple All-Around awards. Im Luking At You, a 2000 brown mare out of Wahoo Baby is a Congress Champion and NSBA Futurity and Maturity winner. During her show career she earned over $27,260 according to Robin Glenn records. Amy Smith purchased Im Luking At You as a broodmare on the recommendation of Ryan.

Fabuluke Me

sired by Fabuluke (son of Wahoo Baby) 58 | PREMIER | JUNE 2021

“Nancy Sue and horses from her program have been instrumental in our own Hunter Under Saddle breeding program,” Smith said.

Im Luking At You produced one foal—Hoo Ya Lukin At. Unfortunately, Im Luking At You died of torsion colic when Hoo Ya Lukin At was just a few months old. “She was a great mare. Super talented and very sweet,” Smith said. “The foal—Hoo Ya Lukin At—is the same way. He has a big personality, is lots of fun, easy to show and a pleasure to have in the barn.” Hoo Ya Lukin At was sold to Andrew Raley in 2018, but still lives at Smith’s barn in Hampstead, North Carolina, under the guidance of MC Show Horses. Andrew and Hoo Ya Lukin At have been successful in Showmanship, Hunter Under Saddle and Equitation. Together they have won several AllAround High Point Novice Amateur titles. “He’s been a great regional and novice show horse for Andrew,” Smith said. Fabuluke is a 2001 brown stallion out of Wahoo Baby. His lifetime earnings total over $22,000. He is a Congress Champion and a multiple World and Reserve World Champion sire. By All Means Baby is a 2003 brown gelding out of Wahoo Baby. He has earned over $10,000 and has won Hunter Under Saddle classes at major events like the Denver National Stock Show & Rodeo and the Arizona Sun Circuit. He also placed Top 3 at the World Show and Congress in Equitation. “By All Means Baby was a very, very successful show horse,” Ryan said. Greatmindsthinkaluke, a 2004 brown stallion out of Wahoo Baby, has earned over $4,000 in competition, and was an NSBA Reserve World Champion and two-time Congress Top 5 winner as well as a World and Congress Champion sire. The Last Wahoo, a 2005 brown mare, was Wahoo Baby’s very last foal. She is the producer of Al Be Seeing Ya who is an AQHA World Show L2 Champion, multiple World and Congress Top 10 winner and earner of over $15,500.

Hoo Ya Lukin At

(out of Wahoo Baby)

Impact To date, Wahoo Baby’s twelve get and their offspring have earned over $700,000 in competition. “She just produced Congress Champion after Congress Champion by Luke At Me,” Christensen said. “Mares that consistently produce winner after winner after winner are few and far between. I can only name five or ten great mares that have been producers like Wahoo Baby was.” In her later years, Wahoo Baby had a bad knee that bothered her. When daily life grew too uncomfortable, she was humanely euthanized in 2006. “She had so many great foals, and so many of her horses went on to be breeding horses and producers,” Ryan said. “It’s amazing how many papers actually have her name on the pedigree, and how many of them have been champions.” “I sat there once and added up all the money her offspring have won and produced,” Ryan said. “It’s truly mind-boggling that a $900 mare could do so much.”

Article Written by Abigail Boatwright

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