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Team #651 Karleen Hubley and King Hickory Star

Team #651: Karleen Hubley and King Hickory Star
From: Southern Pines, North Carolina
Ages: 80 & 24
Combined Age: 104
Test: Training Level Test 1
Date: June 3, 2023

Does everyone dream of being a Grand Prix rider? I dreamt, but the German mare I imported put me on the ground four times. I said, “She is for sale!” With an empty dream, I was approached by my farrier who did Quarter Horse competitions. He said to go to the sales at the Horse Center in Lexington, Virginia. After watching a few auctions, I got the hang of buying a horse this way. I saw beautifully trained and bred Quarter Horses for a fraction of the price of an imported warmblood.

Finally, an auction of trail horses was coming up at the Center. There were 250 horses to sell. I circled the catalog of every horse that was 16 hands. We went to the stalls and checked them out. There was this bay with a beautiful eye who tracked straight. In the competition, he was eighth out of 90 trail horses competing. The following day he came into the auction ring. I was so nervous as he really showed off. The trainer stood on his back and cracked a bullwhip. The gelding did not flinch. I said that is my “old lady” horse. 

I outbid the competition and the bay came home. He had been used for team penning so first I had to change out the reins and then the saddle, of course. A few days later, I called the trainer and asked how anyone could sell such a beautiful, easy, and smart horse. He said he grew too tall for cutting cattle. 

In the last 18 years, I have owned King Hickory Star (Johnny), we have competed in dressage, jumped, been swimming, driving, and many miles on the trail. Johnny just asks, “What are we going to do today?”

On June 3, 2023, it was time for our Century Club ride. We are both losing that high energy, but we still came in second at Training Level. After buying Johnny, I got his Quarter Horse papers, and wow! He goes back to the original Quarter Horse, Traveler. And so, my best friend and I never did Grand Prix dressage, but we made it to our Century Club ride and are still going strong. Thank you to our wonderful coaches who helped me. And a big thank you to the person who bred this special mount.