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AQHA World Championship continues through Saturday

AQHA World Championship Show continues through Saturday at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City.
BY JENIFER REYNOLDS Modified: November 16, 2012 at 10:28 pm •  Published: November 17, 2012

“4-H has ranch riding, which is similar,” she said. “He's been doing that since 4-H started it, about two years ago. When he did (ranch pleasure) the first time, he was going against adults, but most of them had never been in this class either. But he had the experience of the 4-H riding. He kind of had an advantage, even though they were all adults.”

Hunter did odd jobs to earn money for the trip, and also got a financial boost from his other grandparents, Leo and Janice Smith, of Ocala. Janice made the trip as well, and watched with Suzanna as Hunter made it through the ranch pleasure preliminaries to the championship final and finished seventh out of 62 original qualifiers.

“It's been a joint effort,” said Suzanna Rucks. “We're so proud of him and the little mare.”

That “little mare” is officially named Chex With Me and is owned by Suzanna Rucks. Hunter calls the mare “Tango” and said they have a special bond.

“I go out there and talk to her a lot,” he said. “We ride twice a week and on weekends.”

And he's not getting out of his schoolwork. Hunter brought it with him and he says there's a lot of it. So he's learning — from his books, from his horse and from his World Show chaperons. As a result, his strategy in the show pen was simple:

“Do what Grandma says.”