By: Brittany Bevis
Although he’d changed hands several times over the years, most recently he found himself enjoying retirement at Knabenshue Performance Horses in Texas, teaching Elizabeth’s 9-year-old daughter, Emerson, how to ride.
“I bought Zippy as a 7-year-old, back in 2000, from Amanda Kimes,” Elizabeth says. “I won my first Congress Championship with him in 2001 in Amateur Trail. Then, I was Reserve in Trail in 2002. In 2003, we won Amateur Horsemanship.”
“I remember being the circuit champion in Western Riding three years in a row at the Arizona Sun Circuit. That was a special moment, and I still have all the belt buckles from 2001, 2002, and 2003.”
In 2002, Elizabeth won Amateur Trail at the Congress with another beloved horse, A Different Glow, who has since passed and is now buried at her Texas ranch. She was the Reserve Congress Champion that same year with Zippy, who is now buried alongside him.
After Elizabeth and Zippy’s time had come to an end, he continued to have much success with Allison Chappell in his signature events like Western Riding and Horsemanship. Later on, he had many more partners at Highpoint Performance Horses.
“He touched a lot of people’s lives, and he was a big part of my life,” Elizabeth says. “We got him back to enjoy his retirement several years ago. Jason [Martin] always said that, when Zippy retired, he would come back to live with us. My daughter, Emerson, had recently started riding him and, when he passed away, he was actually in her name.”
“I think that Zippy is unique because of the fact that he did touch so many people’s lives. There are a lot of special older horses out there that have had maybe one or two owners, but Zippy was able to do everything well, and he did it for so many different people.”
“But, he definitely didn’t make it easy! One thing people will remember about Zippy is that he was always really feisty and a little spooky. He could catch you off guard quickly, and he didn’t like the ends of the arena. But, he was a phenomenal Western Riding horse.”
In the March/April 2013 edition of The Equine Chronicle, several trainers and exhibitors were interviewed about the longevity of older horses in an article entitled, “Don’t Let Their Age Fool You.” Here is what Jason Martin had to say.
Jason has a practical outlook about considering an older, more seasoned horse for purchase. He says, “There are some disciplines that horses can have a longer career in than others. Events like Reining or other speed events can take a toll on a horse, so it’s rare to find a horse that’s still competing at the top level. A lot depends on what you want a horse to do. We have a horse, Rip City Zip, that’s 21, and he took a Novice Amateur to a Reserve Congress Championship this year. The older, more seasoned show horse has a lot to offer, especially if it’s been maintained well.