Barn name: Teddy.
Particulars: 1989 dark bay Quarter Horse gelding sired by Money I Hope out of Princess Rancher by King Rancher.
Owned and trained by: Carl Ford of Chillicothe, Ohio.
Shown by: Siblings Jessie and Marc Ford of Chillicothe, Ohio, and Bryan Ford of Sallisaw, Oklahoma.
Claim to fame: Teddy holds 10 titles from the All American Quarter Horse Congress, plus two reserve world titles. He's in the National Pole Bending Hall of Fame, and has taken all three Ford children to at least one Congress title in pole bending or barrel racing. At 21, he runs consistent sub-20-second pole times.
Slow start: Carl traded a trailer full of scrap metal for a 2-year-old Teddy, and started him as a snaffle-bit prospect. "He did everything right, he just did everything slow," Carl remembers, laughing. Young Teddy was up for sale a few times, but nobody wanted him.
Wake-up call: Carl moved the lazy 2-year-old over to pole work to try to wake him up a bit, and the rest is history.
Tip of a hat: After Teddy claimed his 10th All American Quarter Horse Congress title last October, this time in senior pole bending, the announcer told the crowd about the 20-year-old gelding's Congress legacy. Bryan took off his cowboy hat in the middle of the awards ceremony and tipped it to the horse. "I didn't even have to think about it. Tipping my hat to Teddy was the right thing to do," Bryan says.
Retirement?: What retirement? "As long as Teddy is happy and 100-percent sound, he'll keep running," Jessie says with a smile. "If he's not being used one way or another, he doesn't feel like he has a job, and he suffers mentally." In July, Teddy stayed home while the Fords took younger horses to a local show, and when the family came home a few hours later, he was covered in hives. "He saw that trailer leave and immediately felt the anxiety of being left at home," Jessie recalls.