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A Horse Called Hooch Wins NATRC Top Award


Gaiting among the junipers and sage at the 2016 Navajo Lake ride in New Mexico.

Lin and Hooch handling a typical trail obstacle. In NATRC, the trail obstacles encountered are natural and representative of the local terrain.
Beatrice, Nebraska, USA – February 20, 2017 - Turnner’s Wildcard, a.k.a. Hooch, a champagne Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse gelding, owned and ridden by Lin Ward of Westcliff, CO, was named the winner of the North American Trail Ride Conference’s (NATRCTM) highest award, the 2016 President’s Cup, at the national convention held February 17-18, 2017 in Chattanooga, TN.

Lin purchased Turnner’s Wildcard as a 7-year old after an intensive search and after first riding him under a full moon, at night, on a trail at the breeder’s facility. Lin recalls, “he just listened and did all I asked.”

After getting him home, Lin changed his name. She says, “Never name a horse something you don’t want them to be. With a ‘Kentucky Full Moon’ ride as our first experience together, he became Hooch.” She says it fits him well as he has lots of personality.

It took 13,137 miles of trailering, competition in 16 NATRC rides, and winning in different states and regions beginning in March and finishing in the first week of November, to put Hooch at the top! Through it all, he did not lose a single pulse and respiration point, have a sore back or leg, and remains a sound, sane and happy horse.

Together, the Lin and Hooch team, also took home overall lightweight horse, overall lightweight horsemanship, overall combined horse and horsemanship awards, her region’s lightweight top award, a national championship, Hooch’s 2,000 mile award, Lin’s 7,000 mile award, and the Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse Association’s high point breed award.

NATRC, the United States’ oldest and largest long distance competitive trail ride organization, is open to all equine breeds and disciplines. “It is a wonderful organization that helps folks train, ride and compete sound, fit, smart, and most importantly, safe horses,” says Lin. For more information on NATRC, go to

 Photos by Christy Cumberworth, used with permission

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