LUMBERTON — For Steven and Amy Britt’s family, breeding and raising horses for competition is not just a hobby, it’s a way of life.
A way of life that has led the family to many futurity champions, many futurity Grand champions, and a World champion.
The most recent distinction belongs to their 11-year-old son, Christian Britt, and his Quarter horse, Te Coolest Clu, who brought back to their Lumberton home the American Quarter Horse Youth Association World 2013 Championship. The event, held in Oklahoma from Aug. 2 to Aug. 10, included competitors from 49 states and eight countries.
“It felt good,” Christian said. “It was fun and I was excited.”
As a world champion, Christian is now the owner of a custom-designed gold trophy, a Montana Silversmith buckle, a neck wreath, a gold medallion and a specialty-designed logo jacket.
According to Steven Britt, the American Quarter Horse Youth Association is the most prestigious competition in the horse industry. Christian competed in the halter Yearling Geldings class.
“In the horse industry it is very competitive when you reach this level, almost as if you won a world series or Super Bowl,” he said.
Although Steven and Amy breed and train their own horses, Steven gets a helping hand from a family friend, Gene Parker, who is an American Quarter Horse Association professional horseman from Orrum.
The couple’s interest for horses began when they bought their first horse.
“We did a lot of trail riding at first,” Steven said. “But through our horse interest we met the late I.L. Stone. He had been very involved in the local halter horse industry. We would go to his farm and he would give us a lot of tips on halter horses. We fell in love with that part of the horse industry and have been hooked on it ever since.”
This year marks a 20th-year milestonre.
“We bought our first halter horse in 1993 and we started our own small breeding program and from there have been breeding for more than 18 years,” Steven said.
In 2003, the family got involved with showing at American Quarter Horse Association shows.
“In everyday terms, this would be compared to the NFL, NHL, NASCAR or professional baseball,” Steven said.
Christian and his older sister, Taylor, began showing horses about three years ago.
In 2011 and 2012, Taylor and Christian won the All American Quarter House Congress championship.
The All American Quarter Horse Congress is held in Columbus, Ohio, every October and is the largest attended horse show in the world, with more than 7,000 entries.
“Congress is strong, but the world is the top of the line,” Steven said.
Steven said participating in the horse industry is a “family passion.”
“Other than going to church and working, this is what we do,” Steven said. “Where most kids play sports, these two show horses.”
Taylor and Christian are home schooled and spend about 20 minutes a day six days a week practicing, but their parents say it is their choice to show horses. The two said they have been involved in different activities and sports throughout the years, but prefer horsing around.
“My mom had to make me go” play other sports, Taylor said. “We just rather show horses than play sports.”
Taylor said she wants to show and raise horses when she gets older and Christian wants to take over his dad’s lawn care business and farm.
“We would like to thank our family for supporting us through the years, but most of all we would like to thank God for blessing us as a family, that we can enjoy something together as a family that we all have a passion for,” Steven said.