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CH Times Best - Celebrating The Life and Personality Of A True Trooper

by Bob Funkhouser

From the royal family of The New York Times and Five-Gaited World’s Grand Champion CH Cora’s Time, the beloved CH Times Best recently died at his home of several years, Somersdream. Another casualty of colic, he was 19.

CH Times Best was bred and raised by Vicki McDonald of NV Farms, Lawrenceville, Ga. He was sold to Sam Webster and sent to Redd Crabtree as a two-year-old as Crabtree had also trained and shown his world’s grand champion dam.

“He took a little straightening out,” said Crabtree. “We got him turned around and gaited him. I showed him a little in young horse classes and then Bib Jones showed him at Louisville and was second in the ladies qualifier and stake to Christine Broder and Specialty Item.”

Following that, Hoppy Bennett purchased the gelding that was full brother to Amateur Five-Gaited World’s Grand Champion CH Best Of Time. Bennett sold CH Times Best to Ann Marie Brickzen who showed him successfully. He eventually went back to Crabtree who then sold him to Ricky Harris for Emily Anderson in North Carolina. Harris would be a part of his life for the rest of his career.

“We showed him junior exhibitor for a couple of years and were third both times behind horses such as CH Swept Away,” said Harris.

When Harris’ personal life changed and he moved to Connecticut, so did his favorite horse. T-Bird, as CH Times Best was lovingly called, adapted to his new home at Somersdream and created a whole new fan base, including Somersdream owner Cheryl Innis.

“I wanted the Andersons to show him in gaited pleasure but they weren’t real excited about that idea,” explained Harris. “I showed him one time in a Five-Gaited Jackpot Stake just to see if he would flat walk okay. It was funny because Euchee Matthews was judging and he called me the next week and said, ‘Ricky, your horse looked great, but why were you walking him like a pleasure horse?’ I told him that’s exactly why I was showing him.

“I was confident that would work and then Emily showed him at Children’s Benefit in a class of 19 and won both the qualifier and championship. That convinced them that this was a good idea. We went to Louisville and they were Juvenile Five-Gaited Pleasure World’s Champions. Back then there wasn’t a juvenile championship so they had to show back against the adults and Emily was the only junior exhibitor to get a ribbon.”

Innis loved T-Bird so much she purchased him from the Anderson family and started out with a tremendous record, winning championships shows like Bonnie Blue, Raleigh, Roanoke and Children’s Benefit. Later in the year he was not performing like the T-Bird they knew and loved. Harris and Innis made the decision not to show him any more, as he didn’t deserve not being 100 percent.

They purchased a road horse (Mr. Simon) they had formerly owned to be T-Bird’s buddy in retirement. However, T-Bird didn’t want any part of being turned out. He liked the life of luxury in the show barn.

“We brought him back in and Ricky said, ‘Cheryl, he has to do something,’ so we put him in the lesson program and he absolutely loved it,” said Innis. “From the smallest beginner to the greenest adult, he took care of those riders like they were his own children. Finally I thought we should let him show at some of these winter tournaments. We took him to one earlier this year and he showed in three classes with three different riders and won all three. He was so happy.”

A bout with colic put an end to his newfound happiness.

“T-Bird loved life,” said Innis. “He was classically handsome and he made you smile no matter what your day was like. I could walk into the barn and he would scream until I went to his stall and paid attention to him. He had a personality like no other.”

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