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CH A Rich Girl Obituary

She Was Rich In Talent
CH A Rich Girl

by Bob Funkhouser

A lofty going park trot. That’s how most of us will remember CH A Rich Girl. It didn’t matter if it were ladies or open, the daughter of Money Market and Mr. Dawn’s Victory could parade with the best of them.

After a six-year span of victories and a handful of foals, the grand mare enjoyed the life of retirement with her longtime trainers Bill and Nancy Becker of Shadow Run. CH A Rich Girl died this past month at the age of 24. Her pasture mate at Shadow Run was none other than CH The Bodega Bay. The two were inseparable and he wouldn’t eat for three days following her death.

Lorri Berg’s V.I.P. Stables bred the highly successful world’s champion of champions and named her Bi Mi Yen For Love. Under the direction of Dick Kearney, Loretta Tekavec bought her as a three-year-old. With Kearney’s education, the high-trotting four-year-old was selected by Nelson Green for Beth Clifton and they changed her name to A Rich Girl.

"I got her as a three-year-old, coming four," said Dick Kearney. "She was a nice mare that just needed some work and needed to be finished. She was very talented and I had her doing three gaits nicely and one day Nelson Green was in here, saw her and liked her. He rode her a few trips and Josie [Forbes] walked down to him and said, ‘I think you need to buy this mare.’"

Green brought her out at Rock Creek in June of 1988 and won the Novice Three-Gaited class. Their next appearance would be Lexington Junior League where A Rich Girl was the Junior Three-Gaited Reserve Grand Champion and Junior Three-Gaited Over 15.2 Reserve Champion. They were third in the Junior Three-Gaited World’s Grand Championship at Louisville behind Bent Tree’s Stetson and Radiating.

"Josie and I were driving to Pittsburg for her liver transplant and I stopped at Dick Kearney’s," said Green. "I saw him working this mare and I got on her and she felt great. I only made a pass or two and Josie walked over to me and said, ‘You better get off her or you’re not going to be able to buy her.’ Dick had done all the work on her but he was by himself. He had never seen her until I rode her. She still had her mane on.

"We bought her for Beth Clifton and Josie changed her name to A Rich Girl. Beth got a little nervous thinking people would think the name was referring to her, but the Billy Joel song had just come out and we were in Prosperity, Penn., so it seemed like the thing to do, name her A Rich Girl. She was a big motioned go forward mare and the older she got the better she got."

Following Louisville, the Joe Maffett family purchased A Rich Girl. Green showed her for them at Southeastern Charity and won the Junior Three-Gaited class and then turned the reins over to Maffett’s trainer, Bob Gatlin.

Laurel Maffett started out the 1989 campaign with a third place prize in Asheville’s junior exhibitor 14-17 class aboard A Rich Girl before Gatlin showed her back and was the Three-Gaited Reserve Grand Champion. They were fourth in the Three-Gaited World’s Grand Championship in August and then began the 1990 season in the winner’s circle as Asheville’s Three-Gaited Over 15.2 Champion.

There was a change of rider when they got to Louisville that year. Melinda Moore was aboard and they were challenging the ladies division. With 20-plus entries in the ladies over two qualifier, Moore and A Rich Girl triumphed to win the world’s title for the Maffett family. Back in the 17-horse Ladies Three-Gaited World’s Championship, she was never better. With extreme motion that went with a balanced park trot, A Rich Girl wore the roses on that August evening defeating the likes of reserve world’s grand champion CH Stonewall’s Crimson & Clover and third place finisher CH Sultan’s Leather And Lace – two of the top ladies horses of their day.

"She was a lovely mare," said Melinda Moore. "She was all about being a show horse. She was very kind and friendly in the stall but when it came time to ride she was all about work. She was just a natural."

Having moved to the West Coast to operate Jill Bachman’s El Milagro, Bill and Nancy Becker thought A Rich Girl would be the perfect ladies mount for Bachman. Nearly a month after winning the Ladies Three-Gaited World’s Championship, A Rich Girl topped the over 15.2 class and Three-Gaited Grand Championship at the California Futurity with Nancy Becker riding. Becker would win two more classes in two tries to close out the year.

The following spring Bachman debuted her mare with flying colors, winning the ladies qualifier and Ladies Three-Gaited Championship at Monterey. The next two shows were Charity Fair and Santa Barbara where they won three out of four classes, the only loss being a reserve in the ladies qualifier at Charity Fair.

Victory pass after victory pass would be the story for this combination as they ruled the west. When they shipped back to Louisville in ’91, Bill Becker showed the mare in the open division taking fourth in the qualifier and fifth in the Three-Gaited World’s Grand Championship. The next year Nancy would be third at Louisville in the ladies section.

In 1993, A Rich Girl spent the season in harness and enjoyed success there as well. Her last season showing would be 1994 and she was back under saddle, winning with both Bill and Nancy Becker.

As a broodmare A Rich Girl would produce eight foals by such sires as Talk Of The Town, Bi Mi Sultan’s Wine, CH Caramac, Periaptor, Santana’s Charm and Desert’s Supreme Memories. Many of them were very successful horses.

"She [A Rich Girl] had some nice babies, several of which we sold. Her last one is a two-year-old filly by Desert’s Supreme Memories," said Bill Becker. "I was hoping for a walk-trot horse but this filly is going to be gaited.

"She was a grand mare for us. She kept this farm going when we first moved back to Kentucky and things were tight. I think she was a perfect ladies walk-trot horse. When you talk about a ladies horse, she was it! She was a grand mare for Jill [Bachman] and Nancy and I even got a few rides in the open division. She has meant a lot to us over the years."

"Rich Girl was truly a lady and she will always have a very special place in my heart," added Nancy Becker. "I feel privileged to have shown her as well as cared for her. She enjoyed her retirement and lived in the pasture here at our home with her stable mate CH The Bodega Bay. She will truly be missed by all who knew her."

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