Farley Barbera Takes Honors in Select World Championship
English saddles dominate Southern Pines horse country, but Farley Barbera is the one if not the only rider you'll see loping down Youngs Road in a Western saddle on any given day.
Barbera has been involved with quarter horses for fifty years. She has accumulated many trophies along the way showing at American Quarter Horse-sponsored shows, including winning the showmanship title at the American Quarter Horse (AQHA) Select World three consecutive years from 2005 to 2007.
This year Barbera and her sorrel 14-year-old American quarter horse Hot Jazzin Zippo were reserve champions in the world Western Horsemanship division at the American Quarter Horse Association Bayer Select World Championship Show held in Amarillo, Texas Aug. 31 through Sept. 6. The Select World Championship is open exclusively to amateur exhibitors age 50 and over who qualify to enter the prestigious event.
Fifteen competitors took part in the final horsemanship class selected from 70 competitors overall in one of the most competitive divisions at the Select World. Five judges award points and the competitor with the most points wins.
The champion was Lopin on Easy Street, owned by Teresa Fletcher of Brazonia, Texas.
Barbera scored 262 points with Jazz. Only one point separated the second, third and fourth place finishers.
"Jazz wants to please you. If he can figure out what it is you want, he'll try to do it," says Barbera, who purchased Jazz as a 3-year old from Alex Ross in Greensboro. "He's not the most expensive horse I've ever owned but I have more of a connection with him than with some of my other horses."
Western Horsemanship is judged on the horsemanship abilities of the rider, using western tack. Riders enter the ring one at a time and are asked to follow a prescribed pattern. Riders can be asked to walk, jog or lope their horses in a straight line or a curved line and to turn or pivot, including spins and rollbacks.
Flying changes or simple changes of lead and a counter canter may also be required, along with stopping and backing. Any of these patterns may be requested without the riders' stirrups.
Finalists are then asked back into the arena as a group to show their horses on the perimeter of the ring.
"The most challenging aspect in the pattern was to make sure the horse didn't change lead in the center of a full circle lope," says Barbera. Barbera's course included a full circle lope and a half circle with a lead change.
"You have to be precise. Any horse that has done a pattern knows the cones and may anticipate movements. It's similar to a reigning pattern, which is often compared to dressage."
Barbera moved to Southern Pines in 1981 and bred quarter horses for many years out of her Little B farm on Youngs Road. Little is Barbera's maiden name.
"I like the babies. They were fun, but I don't really miss the breeding. There are a lot of disappointments in breeding. Foals get sick, they get hurt, and they die."
While Barbera no longer breeds quarter horses, she has one home-bred horse left -- a 5-year old named A Chip to Cash In.
Barbera will most likely cash in her Chip at a future Select World American Quarter Horse show.
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