An unprecedented win at the Arizona Sun Circuit has brought to the limelight a young and talented gelding named Solo Cup. The three year-old Appaloosa competed against Quarter Horses and ended up beating everyone in a deep Open Three Year-Old Western Pleasure Class with Troy Compton in the saddle.
"He is the best horse I have ever had next to (multiple AQHA World Champion) Cool Krymsun Lady," says owner, Sara Heeley, who along with her husband, Pat, run Heeley Pleasure Horses located in Van Meter, Iowa. "Solo Cup gives you a hundred percent all the time. No matter how he would have ended up, I couldn't be prouder of this Appaloosa who has done nothing but impress me. If anyone ever told me an Appaloosa would be one of my favorite horses, I would have laughed at you but this horse has done everything I have ever asked of him. He will always have a home with me."
World Champion trainer Troy Compton, who rode Solo Cup to the win in Arizona, is also very impressed by this talented gelding.
"He is phenomenal and takes a full stride and throws his legs out there exactly how we want the top western pleasure horses to look," says Compton, who has been friends with Pat and Sara for many years. "We often think of Quarter Horses as being the superior breed but there are some nice Appaloosas out there and Solo Cup is a testament to that fact."
In 2012, Solo Cup won the Two Year-Old Open at the Appaloosa Nationals, the Two Year-Old BCF Color at the NSBA World Show, the Open Two's at the Appaloosa Show at the Reichert, and at the Appaloosa World he won the ApHC Open Two's with Troy Compton and the ApPHA Open Two's with Patrick Heeley.
"Of course, he went above and beyond at the World and let me show him four weeks after having a baby and not riding for seven months," says, Sara, who had an adorable baby boy named Hudson in October. "We ended up third in the Non Pro Maturity against horses that were two, three, four, and five years-old."
Solo Cup is also branching out and trying new events. Beth Case showed him in the Three Year-Old Hunter Under Saddle Class in Arizona and looked impressive in his debut. The Heeley's plan to continue showing him in the western pleasure, hunter under saddle and Jason Martin of Highpoint Performance Horses plans to teach him the western riding.
"His future is wide open and I look forward to what is in store. No matter what, I love my Solo Cup," Sara says.
Solo Cup is sired by up-and-coming Appaloosa stallion, Chocolatey (Harry) and stands at BSB Quarter Horses in Sturgis, Michigan. Harry is a 2005 stallion by Hot Chocolate Chip and out of Pass In Style. He is owned by Noelle Schmidt of Stillwater, New Jersey. By the end of his three year-old year, he was a five-time NSBA Champion at such shows as the Reichert Celebration and Southern Belle. He is also the recent sire of ApHC Color Limited Champion, Chocolate and Jack.
"I am very excited with all of Solo Cup's accomplishments, and the greatest thing is that Pat Heeley, who trained and won so much with my stallion, Chocolatey, continues to win big with Chocolatey's get," says owner, Noelle Schmidt. "I believe Chocolatey opened a lot of doors for the Appaloosa breed with his many NSBA wins, and now he continues his legacy when his Get does the same at these major shows with an audience full of mainly AQHA spectators. With this kind of notoriety, my hope is that more AQHA people may consider keeping a good Color horse on the trailer to haul to these shows. The money is definitely there and our horses have proven themselves to be competitive not just in a Color pen but also in an Open pen."
BSB Breeding Manager Shelley Donovan is also very excited about this young stallion's offspring.
"We are so proud of team Heeley and Compton. Pat and Sara are true believers that the Chocolatey kids can compete with everyone," Donovan states. "Chocolatey is a real ambassador for the Appaloosa breed by breaking down those spot barriers. We are glad that Harry is part of our family at BSB Quarter Horses. He is a great cross for folks wanting to add a little color to their babies. Like our motto says 'THE PROOF IS IN THE KIDS'. Give us a call for breeding info on this great young sire!"
CLICK HERE to view BSB's ad in the February Issue of GoMag
...it's a breed with a color preference. Color didn't become a goal until Lewis and Clark came across the Nez Perce tribe. At that time, only 10% of the herd is estimated to have had color. It's quite normal to get a solid from an ApHC x ApHC cross. What is most important about the Appaloosa is it's bloodline and it's heart. Some may look like AQHA horses but they have the genetics of an Appaloosa, and they are actually quite unique. I'm glad the solid ApHC horses are still able to compete with the regular registry horses despite being solid and that they have equal value to a horse with color.