Rolling brings home World Horse Show Championship

Published 6:00 am Thursday, January 29, 2009

With a passion for horses, Vicki Rolling uses her skill of business and recreation to breed champions, from mares to stallions.

“I like to compete,” said Rolling.

Rolling competed with other breeders in the America Quarter Horse World Horse Show Championship in Oklahoma City on November 21, 2008, with the yearling, Western Gunslinger, and won.

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There were seven horses altogether in the competition for the prestigious title.

With a panel of five judges observing the beautiful animals, they have very rigorous criteria for a horse to meet in order to earn the title.

“They look for the perfect horse,” said Rolling.

Before the horses can even get to the world championship, they at first must obtain an invitation to the competition because not anyone can just trot in and compete.

“You have to get your horses to get at least six points in other shows,” Rolling explained.

Rolling said that a horse gets one point for every five horses that he or she defeats, and two points for every ten horses.

“You hope to have at least five horses in the smaller shows,” she said.

The competition for the shows are based on age levels; a yearling, two- and three-year-olds and stallions.

Once she got the six points needed, she sold Western Gunslinger to a wealthy couple in Orlando, Fla., which is what she usually does if and once a horse brings in a lot of money.

The rewards are satisfying for both Rolling and the owners and for the horse as well.

While the horse gets treated like royalty in his new home, everyone else gets cash, a jacket, belt buckle, trophy and recognition.

Rolling describes the thrill and prominence of obtaining the title as that of winning the Kentucky Derby.

“He is like a celebrity down there (in Orlando),” said Rolling.

Breeders get percentages of royalties on the horse for the rest of its life, explained Rolling.

“As good as he is, he would continue competing.”

“We had people that wouldn’t give us the time of day coming up to talk to us,” she said.

Other avid horse lovers and breeders, such as former NFL player Terry Bradshaw, have shown praise towards Rolling’s champion.

“He (Bradshaw) is tough to beat…but he even came up to me and said, ‘That is a great horse,’” said Rolling, laughing.

Even with the prizes as sweet, sometimes the expenses take its toll.

From hotels to gas and paying for training expenses, “it is an expensive hobby,” said Rolling.

Not only that, but the horse competition is even a costly risk.

“It’s the roll of the dice,” Rolling says.

“A lot of times you don’t know when the horse will get sick or even have an injury…and that can put them out of show for the rest of their lives.”

Horses have a life span of 25 to 30 years.

However, even with an injured horse not competing, they can still be used for breeding purposes.

Western Gunslinger was bred solely for the genetics of competition, as his father, Golden Gunslinger was a five-time champion.

“Some people have to breed up to 50-60 times to get the best; all it took was one time (for Western),” said Rolling.

Horses have a gestation period of 11 months, sometimes even 12 months.

Western will be used to breed at least ten mares in the hopes of getting a champion.

“A lot of times, you can breed the best of the best and you won’t get the best…it’s a gamble, really,” she said.

Rolling, who is also a school nurse, and her husband, Wayne, live on a 17-acre horse farm in Luverne. They also own the Luverne Hardware Store.