CO horse sets records in long career
Senior western riding can be one of the most competitive classes at the Lucas Oil AQHA World Championship Show.
Top horses go head-to-head, year after year, and getting the win is a major accomplishment.
But in 2015, Ima Petite Classic didn’t just win – he set a record score that hasn’t been touched.
“Kramer” did all that and more with his owners, the Reeve family of Garden City, Kansas, and AQHA Professional Horseman Charlie Cole of Pilot Point, Texas, before he died in July 2018 at age 19.
“He really was the most incredible horse,” Darcy says. “He touched so many lives.”
During his career, the 1999 black gelding by Petite Lord and out of Sheza Classy Kitty by Jolly Van Bar racked up more than $120,000 in combined earnings and 4,205 AQHA points. In addition to his senior western riding wins, he won three reserve world titles and an amateur world championship; earned his open, amateur and youth performance Registers of Merit, as well as his open halter ROM; and received Superiors in open western riding and western pleasure, and amateur trail, as well as youth western riding and trail.
The Reeve family purchased Kramer from Linda Davis of Franktown, Colorado, for Darcy to show while her other horse, A Certain Vino, was in training. Darcy planned to show Kramer only until “Vino” was ready to compete, but the black gelding had other plans.
“We just wanted a filler horse for me to show between retiring my old horse and training Vino,” Darcy recalls. “But (Kramer) was so much better than we even imagined.”
After being named 2009 reserve world champion in youth western riding under multiple world champion Harley D Zip, Kramer carried Darcy into an equally successful amateur career. The pair won the reserve world championship in amateur western riding in 2012 and 2013 in an era when some of the best western riding horses in history were competing.
Kramer also earned points in trail, horsemanship, halter, hunter under saddle, working hunter, hunter hack, pleasure driving and western pleasure.
“He was the epitome of what a Quarter Horse should be,” Darcy says. “He could go to one show and win in almost every event.”
In the open division, Charlie rode Kramer to his world record-holding western riding score – a remarkable 242 – and numerous other placings, beating such notable horses as Vital Signs Are Good.
“I developed a really good bond with Kramer,” Charlie says. “He was a really unique horse, but once I figured him out, I really understood him.”
Although Kramer made a name for himself in western riding, he was equally talented in trail, Charlie says. At the time of his death, Kramer was sixth in all-time point earners in open trail. However, the gelding was far from fearless in the show pen.
“He was a big chicken,” Charlie says, with a laugh. “But he would never intentionally be bad, because he hated being in trouble.”
With Kramer, Charlie achieved success that came only after he realized he needed to trust the horse completely every time he entered the pen. For several years, Charlie played it safe at the World Show, never getting the results he wanted. But in 2013, he decided to trust Kramer 100 percent and ride like he planned to win it all. And Kramer didn’t disappoint. After that first major victory, Charlie and Kramer won again and again.
“From then on, I showed really confidently and didn’t worry about making a mistake,” Charlie says. “When it all came down to it, it was going to be Kramer’s way.”
At home, Kramer’s relaxed, laid-back personality made him a favorite with ranch visitors and regular customers alike.
“He was the horse that everybody loved at the barn,” Darcy says.
And when visitors came to Charlie’s Highpoint Performance Horses, wanting to ride a world champion, Kramer’s trustworthy nature allowed Charlie and Darcy to fulfill those dreams.
“He was the horse that people would ask to ride when they came to the ranch,” Charlie shares. “They don’t get much more docile than Kramer.”
Charlie rode Kramer for 10 years until the horse was retired in February 2018. Kramer was buried at Highpoint in Pilot Point.
“We were lucky to have him, and he was lucky to have us,” Charlie says.
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