Never, in her wildest dreams did Allison imagine how much they would accomplish together. "Fireman" is the only full Arabian to win both the Amateur and Open divisions at Canadian Nationals and U.S. Nationals in the same year.
Bred by Dr. LH and Vanessa Quartly of Innisfail, AB, and by Forelock’s Petja out of Polka Jane, VLQ Friendly Fire (aka Fireman or “the little red desert goat”) has been making waves in the Arab world. Never, in the wildest dreams of his owner, Allison Mostowich, did she imagine how much they would accomplish together.
In 2006, after retiring her Country English Pleasure mare from competition, Allison thought it might be fun to try her hand at reining and friend Sandy Hester thought that “Fireman” was available for purchase from Kevin and Nadine Cusack. Already an accomplished reining horse with trainer Ron Brouwer aboard, Fireman had never been ridden by an amateur. Allison tried him, loved him and thus began many a weekend trip from Lethbridge, where she was attending university, to Clive, where she learned to ride the talented reiner. Allison claims she can still hear Ron shouting,“Get your inside leg off him, this isn’t dressage!” With Ron’s encouragement and coaching, Fireman and Allison won both amateur classes and finished top 3 in the open class at the 2007 Region 17 Arabian/Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Championship show.
Attempting to widen their competition experience, with the full support of the Brouwers, in 2008 Allison and Fireman made the move to Silver Aspen Ranch in Auburn, Washington, and LaRae Fletcher-Powell. Fireman exhibited a lot more attitude than LaRae likes in her horses and he made a less than auspicious debut that year at a Class ‘A’ show. Reluctant to enter the ring, he forced LaRae to “cowboy up” and cleared out the hitching area in the process. Since then, through LaRae’s program of “attitude adjustment”, he has become a polished performer with just a little more attitude than LaRae likes in her horses.
At the 2009 Region 17 Championship Show, Fireman and Allison again won both amateur classes but this time, also won the open class. At the Region 5 Championship show, Fireman was awarded the champion’s garland in the amateur class and rode to Reserve Champion in the Open class. Allison’s favourite memory from the Region 5 show was the run-off for Reserve Champion in which she and Fireman topped the champion’s score, the champion being their trainer LaRae! Could it get any better?
Well, it did…at the 2009 Canadian National Championship show, with Ron and Darlene Brouwer in the audience cheering them on and numerous friends watching on streaming video, Fireman took Allison to the amateur championship. Though she was slated to compete in the open class, Allison wanted to give Fireman the best chance to gain some well-deserved recognition, so she asked LaRae to ride him. Not only did LaRae ride him well once, she had to “run off” for the championship and, to her credit, scored even higher in the run-off.
It was time to try their luck at the U.S. National Championship show, held in Tulsa, Oklahoma. With most of the reiners showing at this event bred by very successful farms who specialize in producing only reining horses, they hoped to make the top ten. With only one preliminary round, Allison and Fireman found themselves in the final, competing against many former national champions. Although she and Fireman have always found run-in patterns challenging, he was totally focused throughout and allowed her to “ride up” without fear of penalty. They won the amateur championship a full four points ahead of the reserve champion. The Open final was the next day and, again, Fireman proved himself a consummate competitor posting a score of 216 to win with LaRae aboard.
By virtue of winning both the Amateur and Open divisions at Canadian Nationals and U.S. Nationals in the same year, VLQ Friendly Fire has become the first purebred Arabian horse to accomplish this feat. Not bad for a “little red desert goat” from Alberta.