He was my POA (Pony of Americas) show gelding when I was a kid. My dad bought him in 1990, if I remember right. He was about six then. He had already won the Reserve World Champion in halter and was fairly well trained for the basic classes. I rode him in western pleasure, equitation classes, English, and started him in games with the help of our trainer Cindy Law.
We had a blast. He wasn't the best-moving horse, but he would give anything a try. He was so much fun. He had the spirit of a kid, but when it was time to show he knew his job. We did everything--showmanship, pleasure, equitation, games, trail rides. We tried jumping, but I'd always go over the jumps...and he didn't. We tried trail, but he never quite understood what ground-tying meant. I'd go walk behind the curtain and he'd decide he was done with the class and was practically in his stall by the time I counted to ten.
But he was a great horse. A fun horse. I learned so much with him. We trained very hard for the versatility class, and even though he wasn't a particularly fast horse, he was in such good shape that he placed in the final leg of it--barrels (pictured above).
Around 1993 we had young prospects to show and it was time for BV to move onto his next home. It was so sad to see him go, and although I never saw him again in person, I always heard tales of him doing wonderful things with the next young rider.
At the 2004 World Show, he was the champion reining horse in the 9-12 age group and ended up 10th in the nation overall in all ponies, all points earned. In 2006 he took a little 8 year old (or under) girl to Reserve Highpoint overall in the Midwest Regional. Also in 2006 at the Southeast regional he took his rider to Hipoint 8 & Under girl, Reserve Hipoint 8 & Under girl equitation. At the 2006 International Show he won the Agee family memorial award (overall hipoint gelding), Reserve hipoint 8 & Under Girl, Hipoint 8 & Under gaming pony, Champion 8 & Under Reining, Multiple 8 & Under game class champion, multiple top ten, and ended up that year third in the nation overall.
I also found that in 2006 he cleaned up at the Oklahoma POAC awards.
I've heard of so many riders over the years with similar stories--they rode BV on their way along their careers and they always remember with him fondness. I truly believe, if there was a favorite (real-live) horse for all kids in POA over the last twenty years, that BV would top the list. Even if a kid didn't own him, they got to borrow and ride him for a class. He was truly everyone's horse.
One gal wrote on Facebook (in the POA Alumni group): "My favorite moment from my last international show was borrowing Beavers Best Yet from Keri Nanney on a whim to run the pole bending class and winning!"
I believe that BV died around 2009 or so. I'm not sure how or who owned him, but he was around twenty-five years old or so and he showed right up to the end, so I'm glad that he had such a good, productive life. I feel honored and blessed to have been part of it.
I think that Alaina McKenzie said it best in the February 2010 POAC Magazine:
"Thanks to the Dee Ann and Hayley Dolan for letting Beavers Best Yet teach me to ride. We share a special bond together having shared and loved Beaver so much. We will always miss him."
That's right Alaina, we will always miss him. Even though I never knew you or Dee Ann or Hayley or Keri or the many other young people who had the honor of riding this great horse, we share those special memories of having had Beavers Best Yet in our lives.