Dreams are fulfilled with Dreamers Knight
Courtesy/AMERICAN PAINT HORSE ASSOCIATION
A.J. Garcia of La Vernia throws his lasso from astride Dreamers Knight during the American Paint Horse Association’s World Championship Paint Horse Show’s junior tie-down roping class Nov. 6 in Fort Worth. The gelding was later named the world champion in this event and two others as well.
FORT WORTH -- For many, owning a world champion horse is a dream. For a La Vernia couple who spent years working with horses, Dreamers Knight is no dream, since the gelding has captured three world championship titles and three reserve titles in the 2011 American Paint Horse Association Show -- the association’s premier event.
Dreamers Knight, a 2006 gelding owned by J.O. and Janie Haley, earned the world titles in the junior heeling, junior steer stopping, and junior tie-down roping classes. A.J. Garcia, also of La Vernia, rode the gelding. Dreamers Knight also was named Reserve Super Gelding, Reserve Oscar Crigler Cattle Award recipient, and the Reserve Western High-Point Horse at the 2011 event.
According to the American Paint Horse Association, “Horses are judged on their ability to place their rider in a position to rope a calf as well as other duties to allow the rider to secure the calf.”
J.O. said that he not only owns Dreamers Knight, but the horse’s sire and dam, as well. Lineage quoted by J.O. includes Two Eyed Jack, Skipper W, and Impressive -- all popular lines horse enthusiasts easily recognize for their contribution to the equine industry. Two Eyed Jack, a quarter horse stallion, was the leading all-time sire of the American Quarter Horse Association.
In the horse business for 45 years, J.O. started training at the age of 12, when he designed -- by selection of pedigrees to breed -- his first mare. He has worked with registered quarter horses, thoroughbreds, and paints. When asked why he prefers and promotes the paint breed, he said, “I like the color.”
He did admit that he worked with his first paint at the age of 8. At that time, he was “allowed to call him [the horse] mine.” This may have influenced his selection.
Dreamers Knight, in his first year of competition, won Junior Calf Roping in Houston, two Junior roping Classics at the Margarita Classic in Waco, the Roper Classic, and then the world championship in November.
J.O. entered Dreamers Knight in three junior classes. As luck would have it, the gelding won all three. Next year, the gelding will be entered in the senior class, due to his age.
But J.O. does not believe luck contributed to the gelding’s wins. It is the combination of genetics and the awards were “not an accident,” J.O. said.
Dreamers Knight’s sire was shown by J.O. in the 1995-96 show circuit, and was named a superior roping paint.
The dam, Bingo Sweet Dream, was shown in 1992-93, and is a multiple world champion, winning in jackpot and team-roping events. Bingo Sweet Dream earned the American Paint Horse Association World Championship in the working cow horse division in 1993. Her rider, A.J. Garcia, also rode Dreamers Knight to victory.
While genetics play a major part in the breeding of an excellent horse for the different categories -- working cow horse, calf roping, reining, or team-roping, the trainer is just as important to make the natural ability of the horse shine in the ring or excel on the ranch.
J.O. met A.J. while A.J. -- a teen at that time -- was working with his father, Abel Garcia, who also trained horses.
A.J. is credited for training Dreamers Knight. A.J.’s sister, Anna, had the gelding for two months before he worked with the future world champion.
“It’s a family affair,” said J.O., referring to the Garcia family’s contributions.
According to A.J.’s website, he has been pursuing his dream since he was 6 years old, and was in the saddle at the tender age of 2.
A.J.’s father influenced him greatly, and in 1994, A.J. set out on his own. He trains horses for different jobs -- roping, reining, or working cow horse.
Between 1993 and 2011, horses that A.J. trained include The Perfector, which won world and reserve world titles in calf roping, heading, heeling, and steer stopping; and Born To Be Great, the American Quarter Horse Association Superior All Around in all-around calf-roping, heading, and heeling. Dreamers Knight now joins this list.
A.J. not only train horses, he also gives roping lessons and has been asked to give seminars around the world.
So if A.J. is not in the show ring, training a horse, or giving lessons, he shares his love of horses with others by giving lessons to strengthen their horsemanship through “A.J.’s All Around Horses.” Some of his two-legged students are award-winners, too.
J.O. owns Town and Country Hair Designs near La Vernia with his wife, Janie, who manages the salon.