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NATRC's Best

Country Gold 1996 Hall of Fame All-Around Champion and Bill Hinkebein (11991 bytes)HICKORY'S COUNTRY GOLD.........Missouri Foxtrotter Stallion
Acceptance Speech by Bill Hinkebein, Chillicothe, MO

Hickory's Country Gold started competing in Novice Heavyweight in 1987, placing first and second in two rides. In 1988 he competed in three Novice Heavyweight rides, winning two first places and one second. He is now one of the top North American Trail Ride Conference (NATRC) horses of the 90s, has continued being a winner starting with his first Open ride and Sweepstakes in Iowa in 1989. He achieved National Champion in five rides. Consistency is an important factor in being Grand Champion. Attitude, disposition and willingness to work equal performance.

Out of seventy rides, Hickory's Country Gold has had forty first places and twenty seconds. He is a tough horse with a lot of heart and a keen competitor. During the 1991 season, he finished first six times and second six times on twelve rides; one of these rides was 90 miles.

In 1994, the first year Country Gold was able to make 16 rides, an attempt was made for the High Point Horse Award. Frank Keeran took Country Gold to Alabama on the last two rides of the season. Together they maintained the lead in points and Country Gold went on to achieve the Sweepstakes Champion Award.

In 1995, he had four first places and four second places on eight rides for Grand Champion status. A first-time competitive rider, Tammra Andre, rode Country Gold to a second place in Open Heavyweight that year.

Country Gold was the first Championship Challenge Ride Champion in 1995. This ride consisted of two days of forty miles averaging five and one-half miles per hour. Eighteen of the top horses in NATRC were in competition for this title. Country Gold received fifteen excellent scores on twenty obstacles. No matter how tough the ride or obstacles, he is always calm. He can handle terrain, stress and speed with a consistently cool demeanor.

Country Gold has been a true champion. Over the last five years, he was Grand Champion in 1991 and 1995, Sweepstakes Champion in 1994, Challenge Ride Champion in 1995 and National Champion each year of competition. During an endurance ride in 1991, he was the "best condition" horse. Country Gold is the first NATRC all around champion!

Country Gold's get have done well in competition:

  • Country's Royal Princess placed fourth twice in 1993 Open Heavyweight and is still winning. She placed third in Novice Heavyweight in 1996 with a first time competitive rider.
  • Four Star General placed second in 1994 in his first competition in Novice Lightweight.
  • Country Lady placed second in 1996 in her first competition in Novice Lightweight.
  • Country Royal Dancer has placed in Novice Lightweight.
  • Country Magic Star placed second in Open Lightweight in her first open ride in 1996.
  • Country Star Jet placed first in Novice Heavyweight with a first time competitive rider in 1996.

I have been asked to talk about the breeding of Country Gold and training ideas.

Country Gold is a fifth generation stallion over a 40 year span that includes:

  • Patty (1956) a trotter with speed.
  • Stardust (1960) was a horse with speed. Her saddle gait was 5 mph and she was also driven in harness. Her canter was excellent.
  • Peaches (1964) was a trail horse with endurance.
  • Hickory (1968) was a stallion with a saddle gait of 15 mph, had cattle sense, could stop, and pivot, along with excellent disposition.

Country Gold (1983) has performance, attitude, willingness, trail sense, and harness ability to both single and double.

Country Gold was first saddled as a two-year-old, was ridden five times before a week's vacation at the Big Piney Trail Ride where Julia, our 15 year old daughter, rode him.

As a four-year-old, Country Gold went Novice 2 times and as a five-year-old he went Novice 3 times. In these rides, he received 3 firsts and 2 seconds.

As a six-year-old, Country Gold went Open Heavyweight where he won Sweepstakes and received a National Championship in 5 rides.

The rest is history.

Hickory's Country Gold
The first horse to achieve the all around championship - Grand, National, Sweepstakes, First Challenge Ride
A True Champion!
There is just something about training and being able to ride the best.
Hickory's Country Gold -
NATRC's 1996 Horse Hall of Fame!

Just Something About Somebody Being The Best - Terry Bradshaw

Training is like the Chicago Bulls coach, he works to get the team up for every game. So, too, your horse must be ready for every ride. The horse must respond to the slightest touch of the rain. Now nothing is more important to the horse than you releasing the pressure. Take-and-give training is most important. A snaffle bit and direct rein is ideal. I call this fingertip control. Any more pressure than your little finger is too much. The most important part is to teach your horse to give to the bit. You make 1000 repetitions and be consistent.

The next most important part of training is the rider's mental outlook. The rider must train his/her mind and hands to make the correct move without thinking.

Psychocybernetics is:

  • The power of the subconscious mind not only to overcome old or nagging problems, but to motivate a rider to achieve higher levels of skill than previously thought.
  • It it the use of attitude and mental training to replace negative goals with positive goals.
  • It is the process that consists of a goal striving mechanism that seeks to accomplish the pictures we created in our imagination.
  • It it the mental function that produces the positive benefits of your goal-striving mechanism.
  • It is the WIN (or lose) mechanism.
  • It cannot tell the difference between real and what is imagination.
  • As a rider you believe: "I can achieve whatever I need."

On behalf of the trail horse of all times, Hickory's Country Gold, I would like to thank the North American Trail Ride Conference for the opportunity to participate in this exceptional competitive sport.

The following persons were very influential to my competitive riding:

  • Jack Sledge, who introduced me to the sport.
  • Jenny Peterson, who introduced me to Jo Ann Christensen, who took my dues.
  • The Wild Bunch - these two make riding fun, a definite "you never know what's going to happen experience." On one ride we had the same horsemanship score!
  • Steve Lindsey, for being there when I needed and for his constant bits of wisdom.
  • Frank Keeran, for allowing Country Gold to achieve Sweepstakes Award by riding him in two rides in Alabama.
  • My wife Jeanne, for putting together my food and clothes for all rides.


Hoof Print
March - April 1997

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Prime Sensation

Prime Sensation was shown for three years in NATRC Open Competition. In all three years, Prime received National Championships and in 2006, he won the Championship Challenge Ride held in Rockford, Alabama.

In 2006, Prime also participated in the Tevis Cup Ride in Auburn, California, finishing 63 miles of the 100-mile ride. Prime finished the 63 miles in excellent condition, but had to stop the competition due to the loss of important minutes because of poor riders blocking the trail, thus stopping traffic.

In the same year, Prime Sensation was featured in articles in Trail Rider Magazine, Purina's Better Horses Network, Hoof Print, The Gaited Horse, Arabian Horse, and the Fox Trotter Journal.

Prime will continue riding in NATRC competitions with his new owner, Cheri Jeffcoat of Sterling, Nebraska.

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