Written by Kaitlin Hill
“The horse deserved it. It won a whole lot. It won at Upperville, and it was a nice horse who deserves to be on a lot of walls of honor,” shares Joe Fargis of Up Chiqui, a Belgian warmblood chestnut gelding and 2022 inductee to the Upperville Colt & Horse Show Wall of Honor. The award was presented and accepted by Fargis on Up Chiqui’s behalf to tremendous applause on Saturday, June 11, during the 169th annual show.
Owned by Haity and Jim McNerney of McLean, Virginia, Alex Boone of Lexington, Kentucky, and Craig Dobbs of Indianapolis, Indiana, Up Chiqui not only has an impressive resume, but also a personality that made him a favorite of owners, trainers, and his longtime rider, Kent Farrington.
At Upperville alone, Farrington and Up Chiqui won the Welcome Stakes and the Upperville Jumper Classic in 2007 and returned in 2008 to be awarded top honors in the Welcome Stakes again. Up Chiqui placed in the top 10 in 28 of the 36 classes he started. In 2008, the pair competed in the FEI World Cup™ CSI-W Final in Göteborg, Sweden, one of many international and national competitions Up Chiqui at which excelled at over the course of his long career.
“If you want to be a winner, you have to have some quirks,” shares Haity McNerney, speaking of Up Chiqui’s undeniably unique personality. Up Chiqui’s longtime groom, Alex Warriner, adds, “He was a little naughty, a little fresh…he was just so expressive. He had so much life in him, and he enjoyed every minute of it.” She concludes, “He is hard to sum up in one word, but he was truly special.” And Farrington once described Up Chiqui as “…a prankster. Everything is a little bit on his own terms, and he wants to do things his way.”
A taste for Twizzlers, nipping at scarves, and chewing on the chain of his lead rope are among Up Chiqui’s loveable traits. Warriner says, “If he was chewing on the chain, you knew you were going to have a good result that day.”
More than quirkiness, Up Chiqui’s huge heart is what set him apart as an “exceptional, rare breed” as Haity McNerney describes him. She says, “The horse gave 180 percent on every jump. The horse just had a heart that was huge.” Warriner adds, “He gave everything that he had in his heart to Kent, to the team, and enjoyed it.” Haity McNerney finishes, “The horse distinguished itself above and beyond other horses. He was exceptional. The horse was so brave.”
Given all his successes and all his spunk, Up Chiqui is certainly deserving of his well-earned retirement and this most recent accolade.
As the latest inductee to the Wall of Honor, Up Chiqui’s plaque will hang among notable equestrian honorees such as Paul Mellon and Rose Marie Bogley, and equine inductees including Super Flash and Way Cool.
“He owed us nothing but he gave us his heart and soul. It is nice [to recognize] this horse that is well deserving of it,” Warriner says.
Up Chiqui is now enjoying retirement at the Boone’s Farm in Kentucky. Warriner says, “He is the master of teaching the young babies how to act and who is boss. He’s a good babysitter.” She concludes, “He looks fantastic, he’s in a great place, [and] he could not be getting any better care than where he is.” ML
This article first appeared in the July 2022 Issue.