Chic With Chex, a 10-year-old quarter horse, might be a little older than most world-class reining horses, but that doesn't mean she's any less of a competitor.
The mare recently won the National Reining Horse Association Intermediate Open World Championship. She also earned year-end titles in the Eastern Pennsylvania Reining Horse Association and the Virginia Reining Horse Association competitions.
Last week, in honor of her accomplishments, the Maryland Horse Industry Board presented Chic With Chex its January Touch of Class Award. The world-champion horse is owned by Don Burgy and trained by Dutch Chapman, of Chapman Reining Horse Clinic at Rising Star Farm in Woodbine.
"She was a late bloomer," Burgy said.
He said Chic With Chex didn't develop into the pro she is today until after she had a foal and took a couple of years off from competition. When she began to show again at age 8, he was surprised to see how well she performed.
"She just got better and better throughout the year and got top honors for her class," Burgy said.
It's appropriate that she was presented the Touch of Class Award because that seems to exemplify her personality.
"She is very calm and businesslike - a horse with a very professional attitude," Burgy said. "That's what we like in a good reining horse."
Reining is a western riding competition in which the riders guide the horse through a precise pattern of circles, spins and stops. All work is done at a canter or a gallop. Reining is now an official Olympic equestrian discipline.
Burgy described the sport as similar to dressage, but at twice the speed. The signature maneuver for a reining horse is to stop in the middle of the arena and spin around four times in each direction. Reining horses are also known for being able to come from a run to a sliding halt on their back legs.