Katherine Tobin: One Classy Cowgirl
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"I'm not driven by anything more than having a good ride. I just want to enjoy it," Kathy states. Photo © KC Montgomery (released)

Many people know Select Amateur Katherine Tobin as an AQHA World Champion exhibitor as well as the owner of leading hunter under saddle stallion, Allocate Your Assets. What you may not know about this incredibly classy and down-to-earth Arizona native is that, “She is the biggest animal lover,” says her younger sister, and horse show teammate, Susie Johns. “She is always taking in puppies and strays because she can't say no.”

Susie has a deep admiration for her older sister's love of animals and says that her sister's motto is, 'Horses and dogs are like potato chips--you can't just have one!'

"I treasure the bonding time I have with her due to our continued involvement with showing horses," says Susie, who idolized her sister growing up. "She is always so positive and supportive of my boys and me and our success in the show arena. I'm glad she still lets her little sister tag along."

Since little girls, these two sisters have grown up around horses. They were born and raised in Prescott, Arizona where their grandfather, father, and now their brother own a ranch. Their father, Robert Kieckhefer, was a former AQHA President who had race horses--both Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds trained by Bobby Baffert. At age eight, Tobin showed at a horse show that her father started in the mid 40's in Arizona.

"We traveled a lot of weekends around the state of Arizona, showing our horses," Tobin recalls. "The horses we had made us good riders because they were handfuls in the show pen. Those were the days before lunging. We had to get on and ride them down, but there weren't enough hours in the day to ride them down completely. Needless to say, our goes were more like rodeos at times." (Pictured left Susie and Kathy)

Kathy told GoHorseshow that horses bring her a lot of joy since riding helps clear her mind from all of life's pressures.

"Showing is fun from a people perspective, which means I enjoy all my horse show friends," Kathy states. "I'm not driven by anything more than having a good ride. I am not concerned how others are doing in the arena as I just try to focus on my horse. I just want to enjoy it. We all want to win, but I just strive to do the best I can and let the judges sort it out from there."

The sisters train with Jim and Deanna Searles of Scottsdale, Arizona, and they have nothing but praise for their longtime trainers who today are more like family members than anything else.

"What I love about Jim and Deanna is their incredible dedication to family, friends and horses. They have the most honesty, patience, and spiritual beliefs of anyone I know. I am just amazed that people as good as they are still exist in the world today," Tobin says. "All our horses are happy, so much so, that if we mention in front of a horse that we are considering selling them, it seems like that horse comes up lame and most of the time it is inconclusive why. It happens so often that we just laugh and vow not to mention the 'S' word in front of any horse for sale. Apparently, the horses don't want to leave the Searles’ barn either."

Kathy says that her goals these days are simple--to qualify for the Select World Show and for her horses to get qualified for the Open World. Her sister, Susie, agrees and says that at this point in their show careers, they just want to have fun.

"If it rains at the shows or the shows runs too late, we don't show. We go to the fun shows and make sure there is plenty of time to go to dinner and drink some wine and have fun. In the past we have shown in the rain, in dust bowls, and stayed up all night getting ready to show--we no longer want to do that anymore," Johns says. "When I was little, I definitely learned to be a good loser because Kathy had the better horses and I ended up with the ponies that wanted to buck me off. But these days we both have great stock and we have both been blessed with showing some amazing horses."

Tobin recalls one memorable moment that happened one year at the Congress. "We had stall curtains going across a long stretch of wall, so there were several overlapping curtain sections. While I was talking, I leaned against the curtained wall and the next thing I know-- I'm lying on our dressing room floor," Kathy remembers. "The one spot where the opening was for the dressing room was the spot I chose to lean against. We all laughed until we cried. We are bad--we laugh first and ask if you are okay after."

Kathy says that her favorite wins so far in the show pen have been with Just Burning Money at the Congress in the Amateur Hunter Under Saddle; New Lark In Town at Select World in the Trail; and she says her biggest thrill was when she won the high point in the nation in the Amateur Western Riding with Flashy Attraction.

Kathy has an impressive lineup for the 2013 show season. Her newest addition, IE Copy (pictured left), won the Senior Hunter Under Saddle at the 2012 All-American Quarter Horse Congress with Nancy Sue Ryan aboard. Tobin purchased IE Copy (Copy) through the Crundwell online sale in September. She also shows The Best Cookie in the Select Amateur Western Pleasure and Horsemanship, and More Radical in Trail and Western Riding.

"Copy is very, very sweet and willing to please," says Tobin, when she starts talking about all her horses' personalities. "He loves just to do his job—he is very patient and forgiving. The Best Cookie (Elvis) is very particular. He likes everything just so. He does not like to make a mistake. He is a perfectionist and expects us humans to be perfect too when we ride him. More Radical (Rodney) is very sweet and likes doing his jobs but he, too, likes to be ridden perfectly. He is forgiving though. All of them are very intelligent, and kind. I love them all!"

Click here to view her ad in the February issue of GoMag.

Photos © KC Montgomery (Released) and Holman Photography

1 comments for this article Reverse Comment Order
Added: March 02, 2013. 10:11 AM CDT
Enjoyed it!!
Thanks for sharing this interview. I enjoyed it very much!!
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