Havana Great Time

December 29th, 2016 6:33 PM | 1 Comment

Havana Cigar leads the way. Photo by Stefanie Lepp

Havana Great Time

After the blizzard cleared on  “Boxing Day” in Manitoba, Canada, Havana Cigar aka Nate proved just how versatile an AQHA show horse can be.

This photo may just look like any other ranch horse being used for some family fun but the story behind the horse is one that caught our attention.



In 1928 Skijoring was a demo sport for the Olympic Games in St. Moritz Switzerland. Cassandra and Casey started training in the hope that it may come back!

Havana Cigar, a 2000 bay Gelding by A Sudden Impulse was purchased in 2009 when the Lepp family sent their trainer Scott MacKenzie on a hunt for a Youth horse for their daughter Stefanie.  At the time the family knew basically nothing about showing at the AQHA shows and this horse became their teacher “He gave us confidence and allowed us to grow as riders. I don’t know if any other horse has taught Stef and I more than Nate” shared Cassandra Lepp.  The gelding was definitely a great purchase for the family as he has taken them to the top in the AQHA show world. The Lepp family have competed at Congress, Sun Circuit and have won multiple Canadian National Championships with Nate as well as completing his AQHA Youth Championship with Stefanie in 2011. “He is so quirky. If you aren’t there for him he won’t be there for you. If he decides to be afraid of his shadow one day that’s just the way that day is going to go. He won’t work and there is no fixing it. When he is with you though there isn’t a horse in the world that will try harder than him”


AQHA Youth Champions Havana Cigar and Stefanie Lepp. Photo by Charbonneau Photography

Havana Cigar has earned more than 230 AQHA Points in Open, Amateur, Youth and L1 Amateur/Youth. Most of these points being earned in Horsemanship, Showmanship and Western Riding. He is also a point earner in Western Pleasure, Halter and Hunt Seat Eq. proving just how versatile a horse he is. Perhaps his biggest example of versatility was to be discovered outside of the show pen.  

This Dec 26th on Boxing Day the 16 year old gelding was pulled from the pasture to help Cassandra and her Husband Casey try something they have wanted to do for a long time “My husband Casey and I have wanted to try skijoring for a long time! We actually wanted to do it for our engagement photos but the weather didn’t work out for it. Skijoring is usually done on skies however, Casey used to compete and coach snowboarding and it is his favorite pass time” It took a bit of practice to get Nate used to the ropes which were rigged to the saddle but Cassandra shared “He was a little nervous as first but got used to it pretty quick”.  

At 16 years old this year, the Lepp family have tried to retire Nate for years, but Stefanie or Cassandra always seem to bring him back for a season due to one of  their show horses injuries. He qualified for the AQHA World Show with Stefanie in Amateur Horsemanship in 2015 and 2016 in this semi retired state. 

A great show horse doesn’t necessarily need to be limited to the show pen and Havana Cigar is an excellent example of how a little versatility can preserve a show career and keep a horse fresh!


2015 Canadian National Champion Western Riding Havana Cigar. Photo by Charbonneau Photography

Cassandra summed it up best when she discussed their family’s love for Nate.

“Havana Cigar is our family pet, although he is Stefanie’s horse he has become more of a family horse because he is everyone’s favorite. He is a forever horse and has given us so much more than we could ever hope to give him in return” 

We know we would love to have a horse like Nate in our barn, they truly are one in a million.

Do you enjoy your show horse outside of the show ring? If so we would love to hear about your versatile show horse. 


One Response to “Havana Great Time”

  1. I absolutely LOVE this story! We use our horses for everything, and truly feel that even top level show horses need to have frequent changes of scenery to keep them happy. My daughter’s gelding is a TRUE all-around horse and has won a saddle in a world show versatility class, along with countless other awards in many different classes. Our goal this year is to work some cattle! Living in Michigan, perhaps ski-joring will also be in our future. Happy New Year!

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