Remembering Shamrock "Gramas Inheritance" 2000-2017
It is with great sadness that the OQHA reports the passing of Gramas Inheritance.
16 OQHA High Point Year End awards; three time AQHA World Show Qualifier; 2012 AQHA Youth World Show Contender; AQHA Superior in Amateur Trail. His show record speaks for itself, leaving no doubt of the talent, athleticism, and presence of the striking pale-coated palomino gelding. A long-time staple at OQHA shows until his retirement in 2016, many remember witnessing the incredible bond between the horse and owner, Kennedy Almas, as they rode around the show grounds bareback and bridleless during down time at the shows. Few are fortunate enough to experience such a bond, to have that once in a lifetime “forever” horse, and it is that connection, his larger than life personality, and the private moments away from the show pen, perhaps more so than all the accolades, that will be most missed by those who loved him. His story is a special one.
When Kennedy’s grandmother turned 90 years old, she presented each of her children with a monetary gift. Kennedy’s Aunt Carolynne, used this generous gift to purchase a mare, Fancis Eternalegacy, and bred her to the stallion, Watch Joe Riker. On March 17, 2000, St. Patrick’s Day, “Shamrock” was born, and aptly registered as “Gramas Inheritance,” for without her grandmother’s gift, he would not have been born. Sham resided at Carolynne’s farm for his first few years of life before a then ten year old Kennedy began showing the green broke three year old very successfully at local shows, winning almost every class they entered. Kennedy recalls how the young gelding took care of her at the shows, and the link between the two soon became evident. For her twelfth birthday, Carolynne transferred ownership of Sham into Kennedy’s name, and the two proceeded to take the show world by storm.
In 2007, the duo, seeking a challenge, began competing at OQHA shows, winning numerous classes and earning the first of many OQHA Year End Awards, thus, setting the tone for Sham’s stellar show career. “He loved to show,” Kennedy recalls. “He would come running when the trailer arrived in the morning,” and “he would literally drag me into the pen – even when it wasn’t his turn!” Over time, Kennedy’s niece, Lilly, also began showing the gelding in Lead Line classes, and Sham took care of the young rider just as he did Kennedy.
However, Kennedy is quick to point out that “he was never an easy horse, but he taught me more than any other horse could have ever taught me.” The palomino had a heart of gold to match his coat, routinely sleeping with a cat on his back and another one curled up beside him in his stall, but a streak of mischief just as big. “Sham stop it!” was a line heard frequently around the horse with the class clown personality. “Nothing was a simple task with Sham,” Kennedy shares. “Being the goof that he was, he would never just go straight outside. He had to wander into other stalls and around the barn, pulling things off the wall, opening and closing doors, and, his favourite – pulling the lids off the grain bins for a snack!” She noted he could also let himself out of any stall and untie any knot, but he never ran off, instead choosing to stand quietly after demonstrating his Houdini-like talents.
That sense of humour undoubtedly contributed to his ability to have a successful show career, despite a knee injury as a foal that required consistent monitoring and veterinary care throughout his life. As he got older, he began to lose some of the cushioning between his joints and began having regular injections in the joint to help provide some pain relief, something the vet was able to do without any sedation – Sham would stand quietly and lick the vet’s back throughout the process! However, in 2016, he reinjured his knee. Despite toughing it out enough for two more shows, still winning classes and, ultimately, earning his Superior in Amateur Trail, Kennedy knew it was time to retire her long-time partner. “I never rode him at home or even at the show. I would hop on him right before my class, jog one circle, and go in and show, since I knew he couldn’t handle any more than a couple minutes of riding. He laid out the best patterns that we have had. It was like he knew and wanted to give me everything he had,” Kennedy reminisces. The pair were just three points away from earning their Superior in Open Trail.
Sham’s veterinarian advised that his knee would eventually fuse and the pain would dissipate. However, Sham refused to take retired life easy. Instead, the gelding ran the fence line like a young colt and would excitedly watch the arrival of the horse trailer, thinking he was going to another show. “He would be heartbroken when we would leave without him,” Kennedy shares. Ultimately, all the running led Sham’s comfort level to go downhill quickly over the last few months. Unable to keep him from doing further harm to himself, a most difficult decision was made to end his suffering.
“His grave can be seen out the windows of the back of our house, and yellow flowers have been planted,” Kennedy notes. Having been a part of her life for 17 of her 24 years of age, his loss is a poignant one. “Sham has made me have patience, listen to myself, give me confidence, and made me the horsewoman I am today. How many can thank their four legged best friend for teaching them everything about life? My life is so much better having known and loved him. Nothing will be the same without him.”