Saturday, February 27, 2010

Am I Blue +/ Named AHA Distance Horse of the Year for 2009

Arabian Horse Association

February 18, 2010

The Arabian Horse Association (AHA) today announced Am I Blue+/ (Red Wings Royalty x Petrovna), owned by Louise and Bruce Burton of Okmulgee, Okla., as the 2009 Distance Horse of the Year. The notable award recognizes an Arabian or Half-Arabian with significant accomplishments in distance riding sports. Am I Blue, known as "Ducky," topped off an excellent year with a championship at the AHA U.S. Endurance National Championship in the 100-Mile ride, Half-Arabian division, on October 27 in Stillwater, Okla. Ducky and Burton finished the 100-Mile Ride in 11 hours.

Each time a horse is named the Distance Horse of the Year, their name is added to a perpetual bronze sculpture trophy, designed by Joe Staheli that is displayed at the AHA office in Aurora, Colo.

Plagued by injury and lameness for almost three years after Burton bought the mare, Ducky's partnership with Burton began bumpy. After a few adjustments were made to Ducky's pace and gait, Burton and Ducky began to thrive, and the pair earned the championship spot at the Region 9 Endurance Championship in 2008 and then again in 2009.

"Mike Beasley told me I needed to canter more and trot less," says Burton. As Ducky's pace quickened, she often awarded the Best Conditioned with a 15 pulse, which made Burton realize the mare could handle a 100-mile ride and produce winning times.

According to Burton, the 1998 16-hand Half-Arabian mare, out of a straight Russian dam and a Saddlebred sire, experienced her best moment on a race to the finish line this year. "A guy decided to race us the last 1/4 mile to beat us at a ride in Texas last spring. I didn't want to race in, but Duck would have none of it. She would not let that horse pass! That was the first time she discovered she could really run! I never could get her to run flat out before that," says Burton. "She is a dream to ride. Duck loves nothing better than to go down the trail." adds Burton.

For more information on AHA distance programs, visit or contact AHA at (303) 696-4500.

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