Three representatives of San Benito County are competing at the 2013 AQHA World Championships in Oklahoma City. Andy Holcomb of the Holcomb-Pilario Ranch in San Juan Bautista, Ramona Koch of Paicines, and Justin Wright, of Wright’s Quarter Horses are each demonstrating their finely-honed horsemanship skills in classes that include Working Cow Horse, Ranch Horse Pleasure, and Heading and Heeling roping classes. 


The show started November 3rd, with the last final competitions on Saturday, November 23rd. Our competitors have had some stellar performances. There are 40 to over 90 competitors in some of the preliminary classes.Only those who rank in the top 15 in the preliminary competitions make it to the finals. 


Andy Holcomb competed on his own horse Ginger Bud Man in Jr. Working Cow Horse. This class requires that the horse demonstrate a basic reining pattern, including sliding stops, spins, flying lead changes and finesse at speed changes – all of this with a relaxed mouth and no excessive use of the bit. After reining, the horse must box a calf: first show control over the calf at one end of the arena, then drive it along the arena fence, changing direction at least twice, then drive the calf in both clockwise and counterclockwise circles. The horse has to behave calmly, with precision and cannot bite or unduly harass the calf. Andy missed making it into the finals by 1.5 points in this class, but fared better in senior and junior heeling classes, where he made it into the finals in Senior Heeling  Andy placed 6th in Senior Heeling at World Championship riding Sunny Little Step owned by Kathryn Kinderski, San Martin, CA. Andy will compete in the Finals of Junior Heeling on his own stallion, Ginger Bud Man.  these will be sometime in the afternoon on Saturday, November 23rd. Heeling refers to roping the hind legs of a calf after a partner ropes the head. The score is based on the speed with the cow is running, and on the horse’s behavior throughout the roping process.


Ramona Koch competed in Ranch Horse Pleasure, in which the horse must demonstrate on a loose rein very quiet and slow gait changes, going over ground poles, backing up – skills that prove that the horse could do ranch work in a calm and respectful manner. She also entered the Senior Working Horse class — which includes more advanced reining and calf work than the Junior Working Horse. 


Justin Wright competed in several classes, making it into the finals of Junior Working Horse on his stallion Wanna Win A Prize and Senior Working Horse (placed 6th in the preliminaries), riding Shelly Franklin’s horse, A Dazzlin Prize. He placed 2nd in the Intermediate Class of the Junior Working cow Horse Finals, fifth overall. Came in third over all in Senior Working Cow Horse – 2nd place Intermediate with a score of 438. Highest score was 444. Justin rode A Dazzlin Prize, a mare belonging to Shelly Franklin of Camarillo, CA. The Wright family has been illustrious in San Benito County for the quality of their breeding stock and the elite riding skills of both Justin and his father, reknowned San Benito horseman, the late Walter Wright. Justin moved the ranch from San Juan Bautista to Wilton, CA ( last year and continues to breed and train high quality quarter horses.


If you are interested in watching the rest of the competitions, you can go to the AQHA site ( and purchase video streaming for the last two days of the show.