XENIA — A Greene County couple and their horse left the National Snaffle Bit Association World Championship Show in Tulsa, Okla. last month as world champions.
Heather Osborne Caplinger and Brett Caplinger raised their yearling, Best By Design, or “Griffin,” on their farm south of Xenia.
“We show in the longe line — it’s all in-hand work,” Heather Caplinger said. “We start with them the year that they’re born. After they wean from their mothers, we teach them to tie, lead up, how to go in a circle. We handle them every day.”
Caplinger said Griffin already knows his job. But it takes constant work to keep him in shape.
“We don’t want to burn him out and make him sour, and not be happy when he’s doing his job. So I use a golf cart and he trots next to the golf cart. He’s like an athlete — you have to keep his stamina up,” Caplinger explained. “I‘m toning him in the pasture in front of our house three to four times a week, to keep him fat and happy and healthy.”
Caplinger and two trainers showed Griffin at the World Championship. They walked away with belt buckles, ribbons and trophies for their accomplishments — Reserve Champion Open Western Longe Line, Champion Color Open Western Longe Line, Reserve Champion Non Pro Western Longe Line, Champion Limited Non Pro Western Longe Line and Champion Color Non Pro Western Longe Line.
“Greene County should be very proud that this local family did so well at this world show,” Sandra Swafford, a friend of the couple, said.
The Caplingers knew Griffin was special — but the wins still came as somewhat of a surprise.
“We were just beside ourselves. We were so excited,” she said. “We think a lot of him. But it’s hard not to be barn blind … We try to not get that way and keep an open mind and not be biased. He’s just turned out to be a really, really nice horse.”
Caplinger said her husband had shown Griffin earlier in the summer at the Tom Powers Futurity Show in Michigan — where they were two-time champions and two-time co-champions — but the world show was her debut with him.
“He was just really, really good for me,” she said. “I was tickled to death.”
The couple will sell Griffin at the Congress Super Sale in the fall, and pick out “babies” to raise and train for the next year.