Gaited horse Hooch is US trail riding’s new “golden boy”

Lin and Hooch handling a typical trail obstacle. In NATRC, the trail obstacles encountered are natural and representative of the local terrain.
Lin and Hooch handling a typical trail obstacle. In NATRC, the trail obstacles encountered are natural and representative of the local terrain. © Christy Cumberworth

A champagne colored Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse gelding has been named the winner of the 2016 President’s Cup, the highest award of the North American Trail Ride Conference (NATRC).

Turnner’s Wildcard (aka Hooch), who is owned and ridden by Lin Ward of Westcliff, Colorado, received the award at the NATRC’s national convention in Chattanooga, Tennessee, last week.

Lin and her husband and riding partner, Jim, enjoy hours together on the trail.
Lin and her husband and riding partner, Jim, enjoy hours together on the trail. Note that Hooch and Suede, a Tennessee Walking Horse, are in sync. © Christy Cumberworth

Lin purchased Hooch as a seven-year old after an intensive search and after first riding him under a full moon, at night, on a trail at the breeder’s facility. Lin recalls, “he just listened and did all I asked.”

After getting him home, Lin changed his name. “Never name a horse something you don’t want them to be. With a ‘Kentucky Full Moon’ ride as our first experience together, he became Hooch.” She says it fits him well as he has lots of personality.

It took 13,137 miles of trailering, competition in 16 NATRC rides, and winning in different states and regions beginning in March and finishing in the first week of November, to put Hooch at the top. Through it all, he did not lose a single pulse and respiration point, have a sore back or leg, and remains a sound, sane and happy horse.

Together, the Lin and Hooch team also took home overall lightweight horse, overall lightweight horsemanship, overall combined horse and horsemanship awards, her region’s lightweight top award, a national championship, Hooch’s 2000 mile award, Lin’s 7000 mile award, and the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Association’s high-point breed award.

NATRC, the United States’ oldest and largest long distance competitive trail ride organization, is open to all equine breeds and disciplines.

“It is a wonderful organization that helps folks train, ride and compete sound, fit, smart, and most importantly, safe horses,” says Lin.

www.natrc.org

Lin and Hooch gaiting among the junipers and sage at the 2016 Navajo Lake ride in New Mexico.
Lin and Hooch gaiting among the junipers and sage at the 2016 Navajo Lake ride in New Mexico. © Christy Cumberworth

One thought on “Gaited horse Hooch is US trail riding’s new “golden boy”

  • April 22, 2017 at 7:20 am
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    Your horse is beautiful, congratulations on your award, it didn’t come easily for sure!

    Where did you find your fun, patterned riding tights? I’ve been looking and looking for something like them!

    Reply

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