Quarter horse and rider form winning team
Aspen Miller’s nice ride generates only one horse power. The compact little sorrel was bred for competition, though, and together Scoot, 9, and Miller, 14, have formed a winning team with ambition to join the pro rodeo circuit.
Miller, a freshman at Santa Fe High School, has had Scoot — an American quarter horse and a daughter of renowned cutting horse Smart Lil Scoot — for five years, she said.
The quarter horse is among the oldest of American breeds with genetic roots back to English racing thoroughbreds imported during the pre-colonial era and various other breeds, including those arriving with the Spanish Conquistadors and breeds developed by Native American tribes.
The breed is compact, agile and fast over short distances. The name quarter horse comes from the breed’s great speed over distances of a quarter-mile or less, making it the dragster of the horse world.
The American quarter horse is the most popular breed in the United States, and the American Quarter Horse Association is the largest breed registry in the world, with almost 3 million live horses listed in 2014, according to the association.
The horses are popular mounts for working stock and for rodeo events.
Miller competes on Scoot in calf roping and the horse seems to enjoy it as much as the rider, Miller said.
“Every time we go, she gives it 110 percent,” Miller said. “I think she likes to compete.”
Miller and her mother, Randi, and father, Craig, spend a lot their time traveling from their Santa Fe home to rodeos across the Southwest where Aspen also competes in team roping and barrel racing on another horse.
Miller and Scoot won the Junior Superstars Roping Association 12 & Under Championship in 2016.
Miller is dedicated to her sport and to horses. She has been riding since she was 4 years old, she said. She’s been able to saddle her own horse since she was 10, and it’s a toss-up today about which weighs more — Miller or her championship saddle.
She rides Scoot every day if she can and when she’s not riding or in school she spends her time caring for horses, she said.
“I’m either cleaning stalls or feeding horses; it’s at least six hours a day,” she said.
Miller wants to start competing on the pro-rodeo circuit when she turns 18, she said. She thinks Scoot will be her competition horse for at least until she gets out of college.
Miller and Scoot plan to compete during the Galveston County Fair & Rodeo, she said.
While Scoot is a winning horse, Miller’s favorite thing about the mare isn’t her speed or agility.
“The main thing I like is the big personality; the big attitude,” she said.