Doesn’t get any better: As Good as it Gets honored by South Dakota Quarter Horse Association
When Julie Sebring was in her late teens, her father, Neil, purchased a two-year-old American Quarter Horse stud colt. The colt’s name was As Good As It Gets, and to many who knew him or his progeny, he was the epitome of his name.
“He was one of the best minded horses you could ever imagine,” Sebring says. “He was just quiet and kind. We called him Maynard because he was so easy going and laid back, it just kind of fit him.”
Her father owned a small band of mares and she recalls him always having one or two studs standing at their place near Brookings, South Dakota.
“I always enjoyed western pleasure so that’s when he decided to buy Maynard for me to show,” Sebring says.
As Good As It Gets was a horse that made a positive impact on the Quarter Horse breed in the surrounding region and for that reason, he was honored by the South Dakota Quarter Horse Association as the 2019 Influential Horse of the Year. Sebring imagines his impact could have been further spread, but his life was cut short when he developed an infection and, despite being rushed in the middle of the night to Iowa State University, he succumbed to the infection at only eight years old.
He was out of Invest A Lynx, out of The Invester, and by Zippos Mr Good Bar by Zippo Pine Bar and not only was Maynard put together exceptionally well, his temperament made him the perfect amateur show horse, something that he passed on to all of his progeny.
“He was the kind of horse that when you pulled up to a horse show you didn’t have to lunge him for hours, you could warm him up for ten minutes and then go show him and he just did his job every time,” Sebring says. “He never acted like a stud.”
Sebring recalls going into his stall while the stud was laid down, holding his head in her lap and clipping his ears.
“It was just the little things like that, he was so kind and easy,” she says.
Sebring didn’t need a trainer to keep Maynard in show shape, largely due to his natural ability and his laid-back personality.
“I could keep him at home and take him to the show myself and still win,” Sebring says.
For the five years Sebring showed Maynard, the pair saw great success in the show ring. As a three year old, they went to many local futurities, even futurities as far away as Minnesota and Wisoncsin, and Sebring remembers winning a majority of them on him.
The year that Maynard died, Sebring won the Limited Two Year Old class at the Quarter Horse Congress on one of his colts.
“We owned and showed some of his babies,” Sebring says. “I had a few that I was just kind of getting started and showing and doing well on.”
Of the 70 foals that he produced in his short time, roughly 25 of them were shown, mostly by youth and amateur exhibitors according to the American Quarter Horse Association. His offspring collected over 5,000 AQHA points, earning over 66,000 dollars in AQHA incentive money and over 13,000 dollars in AQHA World Show money.
“They were shown by amateurs, by youth,” says Jim Hootman, a friend of the Sebrings and fellow horse show trainer. “In this part of the country, he was just an influential horse. A lot of his offspring were what you call ‘do it yourself’ type horses, they didn’t have the trainers that worked on them all the time because they didn’t need it. They were just the type of horses who could be kept at home and shown by the owners. They were very easy going.”
Hootman recalls watching a young handicapped rider showing one of Maynard’s colts, proof as to how well-behaved his offspring were, but unfortunately, Hootman doesn’t know of anybody who kept a colt from Maynard for breeding.
Although it was almost 20 years ago, Hootman remembers his colt by Maynard well.
“His name was A Real Good Asset and he was out of an Investment Asset mare,” Hootman says.
Hootman bought the colt as a yearling and recalls going to the Sebring’s place to pick him out. There were two yearling colts in the pasture and Hootman discovered later that either colt he chose, he couldn’t have gone wrong with.
“I broke mine as a two year old and he won the two-year-old snaffle bit futurity at Iowa,” Hootman says.
Hootman showed the colt and put a few more points on him, then sold him as a four-year-old to a family up in North Dakota for their son.
“He had nine straight first places on him in western pleasure,” Hootman says. “He was a real nice horse that just went out and did a lot of good and he was a real pretty horse with it.”
The other colt he could have purchased that day was sold to a family from Milbank, South Dakota, and Hootman recalls hearing that he was ridden by a youth competitor and earned a lot of championships as well.
“Whatever cross they made on him [As Good As It Gets], it just seemed to me that they seemed to work out real well,” Hootman says. “He really put a disposition and manner on them and they got his looks. All of them were real pretty horses, made well and built well. You might go to a horse show back then and there was five or six of his colts there. It’s just a shame there weren’t more.”