If one horse has ever passed through some of the best hands in America, it's WND Affair.
The horse they call Rico is a product of a combination of some of the finest horse programs in the industry—including that of Trevor Brazile and Miles Baker as well as Dakota Kirchenschlager and Darren Johnson before them. Their fine work was on display under the bright lights of the short round of the ARHFA World Championships in Fort Worth, Texas Oct. 22 with Oklahoma's Joseph Harrison aboard.
"A lot of times you're sitting there waiting on the scores at the end of a run, wondering what them guys are going to do with it," Harrison said. "I didn't have to wonder. I knew right away. I knew I was the winner immediately. That's a great feeling. When you feel one of them horses like that do what they can do under you—this is as big of a deal as making the National Finals. I love this part of it. The young horse part of it is my favorite part. Winning this deal doesn't get old."
As soon as the steer was stretched and the flag fell, Harrison removed his Resistol, patted the big sorrel on the neck and pumped his fist in the air.
Harrison and Rico scored a record-smashing 931.65 on four head, including a practically unbelievable 238.8 in the short round to seal the deal. For their efforts in the aggregate, the team took home $26,000. They were also second in Round 3 with a 232.36, worth $4,000, and fourth in Round 1 with a 229.82 for another $2,000.
"Miles and I talked about a game plan about the best way to ride him, and honestly I threw too fast on him the first two rounds,” Harrison admitted. “I didn't get him set up perfect. But he's a good horse and he showed himself off. I placed on him in the first round anyway. The last two runs I made on him were by far the best two runs. I got him set up a tick better and he and I got together a little bit.”
Harrison got had piloted the horse just three times in the practice pen before that first steer in the John Justin, but he was far from concerned about that when he backed into the corner on the big sorrel gelding who scored like a rock on all four head.
“I like horses with stride, and he’s got a great stride,” Harrison said. “He’s not a long horse, but he’s a big framey-horse, and he moves a hair blocky. And that feels amazing to me. That horse fits me good, and he’s good in the box every time. If I had to run the first steer this year that I run at the National Finals Rodeo on him, I’d be fine.
Darren Johnson—who also owned X My Ich that Dakota Kirchenschlager won the ARHFA Open Heading on in 2020—cowboyed on Rico in the Texas Panhandle before sending him to Kirchenschlager, too. Rico sold to Darren Baker, Miles’ father, at Rancho Rio in March, but quickly Brazile and Baker traded for him. Since then, he’s been a favorite in their program.
"He went through some sure-enough really good operations,” Harrison said. “As far to my knowledge, everybody who's had a hand on him has been a pretty good hand. The horse has been in good hands every time he's been in hands. That's a huge plus. Trevor Brazile and Miles Baker and the Relentless Remuda do a great job. It's no big shocker when you get on there and it comes up on their Facebook newsfeed. They've got them horses dialed in. And I had a couple horses come up lame I was going to ride here a couple weeks ago. I called TB, told him I needed some mounts, and he told me to come ride through them and pick them. He's one of the best I've shown in my whole show career."
For Brazile, who maxed out entries in the heading and showed three in the heeling, too, having Harrison jockey Rico was an easy choice.
“He has that X factor,” Brazile said. “Miles and I both look forward to getting on that horse every day. Since we’ve owned him, he’s gone between Shada and I’s place in Decatur and Miles and Daci’s house in Oklahoma, and we’ve both put a lot of time in on him. But really, the hard work was done by Darren and Dakota, and he’s so natural that he would have been hard to not be successful with. When Joseph needed something to ride, I’d like to say we had a hard time giving him up, but that would be a lie—it was an opportunity to have one of the best horsemen I’ve ever seen ride one of the best young horses I’ve ever owned, so it was the ultimate win-win.”
Harrison also won the 3-and-4-Year-Old Incentive on Shine Jose, the gelding he owns by Lil Joe Cash and out of Little Miss Shiney Chex, worth a massive $18,000 payout for that win.
Harrison got help from his ProRodeo partner and two-time World Champion Chad Masters all day long. Masters also helped Billie Jack Saebens win the Futurity in 2017 and Harrison win it on Dual Axle in 2019.
“I know it’s different pressure because it almost makes you focus more and block the other stuff out,” Masters said of his helping career at the ARHFA World Championships. “You can’t be the guy messing up. I missed five this week—way too many—and I waved off four in a row. It was stressful. It finally hit me last night what I was doing wrong, so I got it figured out.”
Masters, who placed on three horses in the heading himself, rode his AQHA/PRCA Horse of the Year Madison Oak—known as Clint—to help Harrison, making sure to bring out his big guns for one of the best young horses going into the event. TRJ