John and Gail Muirhead were in the audience amongst a group of proud Canadians at the American Quarter Horse Association World Show in Oklahoma City in aIts_Gameday_smNovember 2-17, 2012. They were there to cheer on the weanling stud colt they bred and raised, Its Gameday, known to Gail and John as “Jake.” They waited in anticipation as the judges lined the horses up in accordance to their preferences.

“One judge had Jake in second and the crowd roared and went nuts!” remembers Gail. “When the judge moved him up into first the whole audience clapped. He was a crowd favorite.”

Its Gameday came away with the Reserve World Champion and received World Champion in the Amateur and Open Halter classes.

More than 3,590 entries from the United States, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Italy, Mexico, United Kingdom and the Netherlands competed for 97 world championships at the event. 2,156 Quarter Horses were on the grounds.

The Muirhead’s were hoping for good news since a month prior Its Gameday won Congress Champion Weanling Stallion in Open and Amateur for at the American Quarter Horse Congress, held in Ohio.

“To have our home raised colt go against the world’s best was pretty neat,” says Gail, “We were pretty proud of our little guy.”

aJake_sucklingIts Gameday was born in January 2012 at the Muirhead’s acreage in Bawlf, Alberta. He is sired by Mr Touchdown Kid and out of JGM Sierras Sequel.

“To us, he looked like a winner,” Gail comments, “so on August 1st, we loaded Jake on an equine Hauler owned by Kim Elliott and he arrived in Dover, Ohio at Randy Jacobs on August 5th. Randy is a Halter Horse trainer that the Muirhead’s have entrusted with their horses for years.

A two year old stallion that the Muirhead’s bred, Booger, was sent to Randy back in 2000 and he won Reserve Amateur World Champion and placed 4th in the Open Halter Stallions.

Its Gameday was sold to Jennifer Jubb of Alabama during the AQHA World Show for $60,000. He has since been sold and is currently owned by Frank Berris of aJake_1Michigan, who plans to geld him and continue his show career looking ahead to the 2013 World Show.

“We credit ourselves with having a successful breeding program,” says John. “With Its Gameday, we were able to find the right cross between the stud and the mare that we had.”

For 25 years, the Muirhead’s have been breeding registered Quarter Horses. They have had many successes in addition to Its Gameday and Booger. In 2006, their 2 year old gelding placed 6th in Open and 4th in Amateur at the AQHA World Show. One of their fillies placed top ten in the Yearling Mares at the AQHA World Show in 2008.
The success that they have had is unusual, and remarkable, due to the fact that they only keep one broodmare at a time.

At the many horse events the Muirhead’s have attended, they have developed an eye for qualities that they like and ones that they don’t. “You have to do your homework,” says Gail. “For years, we watched the stallions at the World Show because that is where the world champions are and we would look at their babies. We would go to a show and just watch and see what they produced. If we saw something we liked, we would have the stud’s semen shipped to us and breed our own little mare.”

aJake_at_the_worldsUnfortunately, Its Gameday’s dam JGM Sierras Sequel will not have any future offspring. She had to be put down shortly after her colt was weaned due to a bad leg.
The Muirhead’s currently have one horse - a full brother to JGM Sierras Sequel. The gelding had his own successes in the show ring coming away with a 4th place World Champion showing.

“We enjoy having the horses around,” says Gail. “The one we have now is basically a pet.”

While the Muirhead’s are winding down their breeding operation, they are thinking that they might buy another foal if they manage to come across the right one.

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