By: Brittany Bevis
Traditionally, the quest for an all-around title, at a major event like the Quarter Horse Congress or World Show, typically takes place later in a horse’s life, once they’ve acquired multiple skill sets, mastered several events, and proven that they can withstand a rigorous training and competition schedule. However, for one team, Angela Fox and HP The Rusty Fox, aka “Fox²,” their journey to win not one, but two, major all-around titles in 2018 came very early in “Rusty’s” career.
You see, Rusty is only three years old, a gelding by Mechanic and out of Sheza Pleasure. When many three-year-olds are still competing in a hackamore in a single event, Rusty has already shown he has the stuff, not only to compete in classes like Hunter Under Saddle, Equitation, Performance Halter, Showmanship, and Horsemanship, but to excel.
“Rusty is the horse I’ve always dreamed of,” Angela Fox says. “We bought him from H&P Ranch about a year and a half ago. I had just sold George, ‘The Company You Keep,’ and was looking for my next all-around partner. I asked Darren Putnam if he had anything big and pretty that loped good, and he said he had two. He didn’t have videos yet, but they had taken pictures for ads, and I fell in love with Rusty as soon as I saw the picture!”
Rusty’s career began in Hunter Under Saddle, just a few weeks prior to the NSBA World Show. “He was actually supposed to show in the Coughlin at the Congress, so he had never done any of the Hunt Seat stuff,” Angela says. “It came easy for him, and we wound up winning at the NSBA World and the Congress that year in Hunter Under Saddle. We’re now adding events, and he’s doing Showmanship, Hunt Seat Equitation, Performance Halter, Trail and starting in Horsemanship.”
Although Angela didn’t head into either the Congress or World Show with the goal or expectation of winning an all-around title, they ended up winning both.
“All year, we have tried to just show in the classes he’s ready to show in and not to push him. It has been a long time goal of mine to win the All Around at the World Show, and I was hoping, in two to three years, to qualify in enough classes to be able to make a run at it. I actually cannot believe it happened at our first World Show together! He’s very special. I’m thankful for him every day.”
At the Congress, they won Amateur Hunt Seat Equitation, were Reserve in Amateur Hunter Under Saddle and the 3-Year-Old Limited Non Pro Hunter Under Saddle, 3rd in Performance Halter and the Non-Pro 3-Year-Old Hunter Under Saddle, 4th in the Limited Open 3-Year-Old Hunter Under Saddle, 5th in Showmanship, and 9th in Horsemanship. At the World Show, they placed third in Amateur Hunter Under Saddle and Performance Geldings, fifth in Showmanship, and seventh in Equitation.
With many seasoned horses and experienced riders at the World Show, where qualification is a requirement, the All-Around race came down to the very last class. “It did come down to Trail and with lots of top competitors left to show, I had no expectations. I typically don’t keep too close of an eye on All Around races as things can always change. They also tabulate the All Around a little different at the World Show, so I knew I was probably in the top 5 but really didn’t know more than that until they announced it during the Showmanship placings!”
What is it about this talented, young horse that has enabled him to enjoy such early success in numerous events? “Things come easy for Rusty,” Angela says. “He’s so naturally talented and trainable that nothing ever feels like work! I’ve ridden a lot of nice horses, but I’ve never had one like this. Every time we ask him to learn something new, he’s able to do it and does it happily. He makes the process so fun! Also, he’s wonderful to be around. His ears are always up, he’s VERY spoiled, playful in the turnout, and loves attention. I like horses with personality, and he has extra!”
Angela is excited to add even more events to Rusty’s repertoire in 2019. “Horsemanship is one of my favorite classes, so that’s one I’m looking forward to. Jason [Martin] and Charlie [Cole] will also start showing him in Western Riding and Trail. I don’t show at a ton of shows so I will probably hit some of the big ones and continue this fun ride!”
As this dynamic duo closes out 2018, there are a few people that Angela would like to thank. “We have a little girl named Ellis, who is two now, so juggling horse shows, work, and being a mom is a lot sometimes. None of it would be possible without my husband, my mom, my bosses of 18 years, Dean and Lezlie MacElroy, and everyone on the Highpoint team. There are a lot of moving parts making this all happen. I’m so very thankful for all of them!”
“I’ve never won the All Around at the World Show. I’ve been in the top five a couple of times with other horses. It has always been a goal! Also, winning All-Around at the Congress… I still feel like I’m in a dream!”