Lifetime Relationships: AQHA President Ralph Seekins shares a story that highlights the magnificent bond between horses and their owners |

Lifetime Relationships: AQHA President Ralph Seekins shares a story that highlights the magnificent bond between horses and their owners

We regularly hear about how one of our AQHA members became the new owner of a fantastic American Quarter Horse with an already accomplished competition record. That's always exciting news. And, we watch this new horse-owner combination as they head down their new career path.

However, we miss seeing some of the other stories – the beginnings of horse-owner relationships that never grab the headlines, but are magnificent and heart-warming stories for sure.

Let's look at an example:

This past September, I flew to Great Falls, Montana, where I attended the 22nd Weaver Quarter Horses sale at the Montana State Fairgrounds. Every September, AQHA Second Vice President Stan Weaver, his wife, Nancy, and the rest of the Weaver clan sell their weanlings from a carefully selected and very fine remuda of AQHA Ranching Heritage-bred American Quarter Horses at this event. Believe me, I was impressed by the quality of the Weaver horses and at how every family member and a big bunch of horsemanship students and faculty from Western Montana University worked together like clockwork to prepare and run those babies through the sale ring.

As the dust cleared and folks were starting to load their babies for trips to new homes as far away as California, Stan came over to me with a big smile on his face and said, "Hey Ralph, come over here and get a picture of that youngster with his new horse. It's really special!"

Well, I fired up my trusty Nikon D5 and made my way over to the pen where I found an early teenager starting up a relationship with his brand-new weanling colt. Stan was right; it was a very special occasion. I snapped a few pictures without either the lad or the weanling aware of what I was doing.

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I was eager to hear the back story. And here it is:

This lad's older brother (who was standing just outside the pen watching this new team get to know each other) purchased a Weaver foal the year before and decided it was time for his younger brother to get a horse of his own. To make it work, he took the money he had earned from his 4-H project and brought his brother to the sale. He bid on and successfully bought the weanling pictured here. Now, spending your own hard-earned money for your brother is an outstanding example of brotherly love.

Babies are kind of my specialty, so I went in the pen and asked the youngster if he had any questions about his new American Quarter Horse. He was about to wear a hole in the baby's neck, as he repeatedly stroked him from ears to withers. After sharing a couple tips on how to lead the colt, this young cowboy was excitedly leading his baby all over the pen. There were three big grins right about that time – mine, the youngster's and his brother's. A lifetime relationship had started right there at the fairgrounds in Great Falls, Montana. The highlight of my trip for sure.

Now, I'm a Grampa who has been blessed by the good Lord to watch this kind of situation play itself out time and time again, particularly with Connie's and my grandbabies and our family horses. I'm convinced that stories like this are repeated thousands of times each year around the world. It's a shame we all can't witness more of them; but, when we do, we get a glimpse of the real value of our wonderful American Quarter Horses to so many folks living outside the publication spotlight.

It makes me AQHA Proud to have been there to witness the birth of this lifetime relationship. F