Dam Spotlight: Vital Signs Are Good

With her distinctively feminine head, elegant front leg, and bright eye, Vital Signs Are Good turned heads every time she entered the show pen—and carried away countless championships, buckles, neck ribbons, and trophies almost every time she left it.

Foaled in 2000, the roan Quarter Horse mare by Zippos Mr Good Bar and out of Vitalism became a superstar during her show career as an amateur mount for Kristen Glover Galyean and, later, Theresa Moran. By 2004, Lucy had already begun producing a line of offspring that would earn her the titles of American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Leading Dam and National Snaffle Bit Association (NSBA) Leading Dam. Today, she’s known as one of the most influential dams in recent history—not to mention one of the greatest performers that the industry has ever seen.

Over the course of her lifetime, Lucy produced 24 offspring, including Invest N Vital Signs, VS Code Red, VS Code Blue, VS Check My Pulse, My Vital Valentine, VS Roll Call, VS Flatline, and The Vital Invitation. LaRena Phillips

BECOMING A LEGEND

Bred by Kristen Rinkenberger of Morton, Illinois, Vital Signs Are Good made her debut at the 2002 AQHA World Championship Show. She won the 2-year-old Western pleasure title and caught the eye of Jim and Debbie Glover. They purchased Lucy for their daughter, Kristen Glover, in the hopes that the little roan mare would be the perfect partner for Kristen’s amateur career.

“She was like something I’d never seen before,” reflected Kristen. “It was a night and day difference between her and the rest of the field. She stood out because her expression was so happy. You could tell she really loved her job. I was blessed with some nice horses before Lucy, and my youth career was very successful. But I had no idea what was in store for me with Lucy.”

In 2003, Kristen and Lucy won the amateur world championship in Western pleasure at the AQHA World Show. For the next six years, Kristen and Lucy ruled the show pen together. At the 2005 World Show, they won the Western pleasure class unanimously and then set the record in Western riding. That record stood until Kristen and VS Lady in Red, Lucy’s granddaughter, broke it in 2020. In 2007, they earned the title of AQHA World Show All-Around Amateur. That same year, Invest N Vital Signs, a 2005 stallion by Vested Pine and out of Lucy, won the $100,000 maiden Western pleasure class at the Reichert Celebration and the reserve world championship in 2-year-old Western pleasure at the AQHA World Show. Those accomplishments won Lucy the title of NSBA Leading Dam and NSBA Horse of the Year, both in 2007.

In all, Vital Signs Are Good accumulated 31 American Quarter Horse Congress Championships, 13 AQHA World Championships, 8 Reserve AQHA World Championships, the title of Reserve AQHA World Show Superhorse, the title of AQHA World Show All-Around Amateur, 3,037.5 AQHA points, and $313,877.60 in lifetime earnings. Jeff Kirkbride Photography

Lucy became a stellar show horse for Kristen, but she also became a beloved partner.

“She was awesome to be with,” Kristen said. “She was very kind, and like all great mares, she had a big personality. She also had a lot of fans around the world. When we’d go to the Congress or the World Show, people would stop by her stall ten to fifteen times a day. She loved people and was always happy to say hi to everyone.”

In 2009, Kristen was ready to retire Lucy—but then she decided that it wouldn’t be fair to stop the famous roan mare from doing the job she loved. She sold Lucy to Joe and Karen Moran of Laguna Hills, California. Their daughter, Theresa, eagerly picked up the reins and continued Lucy’s show career.

“I was a little starstruck,” Theresa said. “She’d always been my favorite horse, even before we thought about purchasing her. Owning her was surreal. How often do you get to own your dream horse?”

Theresa and Lucy continued to take the show pen by storm, earning world championships in Western riding and finishing Theresa’s youth career on a high note when she finished as the reserve all-around high-point youth. As an amateur, Theresa also won the Western riding at Lucy’s final 2013 AQHA World Show.

In all, Vital Signs Are Good accumulated 31 American Quarter Horse Congress Championships, 13 AQHA World Championships, 8 Reserve AQHA World Championships, the title of Reserve AQHA World Show Superhorse, the title of AQHA World Show All-Around Amateur, 3,037.5 AQHA points, and $313,877.60 in lifetime earnings.

BEGETTING GREATNESS

Over the course of her lifetime, Lucy produced 24 offspring, including Invest N Vital Signs, VS Code Red, VS Code Blue, VS Check My Pulse, My Vital Valentine, VS Roll Call, VS Flatline, and The Vital Invitation.

“Watching how Lucy has shaped our entire industry with her bloodlines has been so rewarding to watch,” Kristen said. “She continues to produce special horses for me today. Every day, I look at my pasture and see babies born every year who have a piece of Lucy in them, whether they’re by her stallions or are granddaughters of her. She has far exceeded my expectations.”

Two years after she passed away, Lucy was inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame in 2019. Today, she’s widely regarded as a legend—one that touched the lives of her owners in special ways and that shaped the industry for the better with her genes, her stellar physical abilities, and her kind and generous nature.

“Lucy was one of a kind, and definitely the most special horse I ever had in my life,” Kristen said.