Reserve Champion

Patrick Heely (left), Stu Bandstra and Karen Bandstra pose with their Palomino horse, A Golden Machine, after winning two Reserve Champion awards. 

Local horse breeders won top awards at the 2022 Palomino Horse Breeders of America World Championship Show.

Stu and Karen Bandstra of Pella won Reserve Champion in Amateur Select Western Pleasure and Reserve Champion in 4-Year-Old and Over Western Pleasure with their Palomino horse, A Golden Machine. The competition took place in Springfield, Illinois earlier this month.

The Palomino Horse Breeders of America World Championship Horse Show is the nonprofit’s biggest event, with nearly 500 horses competing in “world championship classes, futurities, and maturities,” according to their website.

“Criteria for judging [the top horse] is a horse that looks the most graceful, has the most rhythm and looks like an absolute pleasure to ride,” Stu Bandstra said.

A Golden Machine was born and raised by the Bandstras at their home five miles north of Pella. The couple have raised and bred horses for 30 years through their business, Bandstra Quarter Horses.

“The horse that we won with, Karen also showed her mother,” Stu Bandstra said. “I’m the one that does a lot of the ground work and am the person in charge of breeding. I start the colts when we’re getting ready to ride them. That’s my part of the world.”

A Golden Machine was trained by Patrick Heely of Newton and shown by Karen Bandstra in the Amateur Select Western Pleasure category, while Heely showed the horse in the 4-Year-Old and Over Western Pleasure category. The Bandstras have been training horses with Heely for several years.

“We are completely elated to do something like that. What a great sense of accomplishment since we bred that horse. It was born here,” Stu Bandstra said. “Karen was also significantly involved in its training, so it’s just a great sense of accomplishment.”

Emily Hawk is the associate editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. She can be reached at

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