Barn name: Al.

Shea and Al | Photo by KC Montgomery

Details: 2000 bay Quarter Horse gelding by Sweet Talkin Chip and out of Hot Spiced Rum, by TNT Fluid Fred.

Owned by: Eleven-year-old Shea Graham of Cave Creek, Arizona.

All-around personality: Shea and Al compete in horsemanship, Western pleasure, hunter under saddle, equitation, Western riding, and trail?she even showed the gelding in jumping once. “He’s a really good Western horse,” says Shea. “He likes being part of something instead of sitting around and doing nothing. He likes to do a lot of things some of my other horses don’t like to do.”

A family affair: Shea’s parents, Scott and Karen Graham, are both horse trainers. In fact, one of their previous clients, Joyce Widner, gifted Al to Shea once she stopped showing.

Friend to all creatures: Shea recalls one of the funniest moments with her gelding. “I was turning him out once, and there was a bird in the corner pen. He walked over to it, and it jumped on his head. He just stood there wondering what was on his head!”

One of a kind: “I feel like he’s my only horse that actually likes peppermints (his favorite treat), and he’s the only horse I’ve never gotten in a fight with,” Shea says. “He’s always a trouper.”

A proud moment: Shea was extremely proud of Al after the Western riding and trail classes at the 2011 Youth World Show in Oklahoma City. “He never did anything I didn’t ask for, and if I asked him, he gave it to me right then,” she says. “He was really nice.” Shea also qualified the horse for the hunter under saddle, equitation, Western pleasure, and horsemanship Youth World classes.

True friendship: Though Shea has only owned Al for a year and a half, the pair already has quite the relationship. “He’s my best friend,” says the 11-year-old. “He’s always there for me, and I’m always there for him.”

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