Trail Legend: Are You Charlie

Trail Legend: Are You Charlie

Daniel Carlson and 'Emily' had a relationship that took them to the heights in trail and other classes.

Daniel Carlson and Are You Charlie
A smiling young man wearing a dark cowboy hat accepts his golden trophy as a sorrel mare looks over his shoulder.

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By Jessica Carr for The American Quarter Horse Journal


Are You Charlie knows a thing or two about making lasting impressions.

And what an impression she has made.

“Emily” has earned 727 amateur trail points.

In her entire show career, in all divisions, she accumulated 4,764.5 points and is in the top-five point-earning horses ever for AQHA.

Emily is a 2001 sorrel mare by Don’t Skip Charlie and out of Are You Zipped by Zippo Pine Bar. She was bred by Joe and Suzy Jeane of Phoenix, and is owned by Patricia Carlson of Sheffield, Massachusetts.

Patricia’s son, Daniel, put all those amateur trail points on her. He spotted Emily for the first time at the 2002 All American Quarter Horse Congress Super Sale. He had a budget, and she was popular with the bidders.

“I really liked her, but I had set a limit so if I got her, I got her, and if I didn’t, I didn’t,” Daniel says. “Luckily, I did get her.”

Daniel took Emily home and began working with her.

“I formed a bond with Emily to where we knew each other and our every move,” Daniel says.

Together the Daniel-Emily team earned an AQHA Performance Champion title and  an amateur AQHA Champion title. They were the 2009 year-end amateur high-point team and won three reserve year-end high-point titles. Twice, they were year-end winners in amateur horsemanship.

In 2007, Daniel and Emily were the amateur trail world champions, and in 2012, they were world champions in amateur showmanship.

Credit for their success goes to their trainers, Daniel says, listing Garry and Tami McAllister, Jim and Lisa Farrell, T.R. Potts, Eugene Spagnola and Gretchen Mathes.  

 “For all her show classes, her ring presence is second to none,” AQHA Professional Horseman Geno Spagnola says. “She always wears her ears well, and she has a beautiful head and neck, which really adds to the overall picture when you’re showing a horse.”

Daniel says Emily loves to show and is full of expression while competing in trail. Her stride and movement is conducive to trail, and when it comes to competing, she’s a natural.

“That horse is a show horse,” Geno says. “She loves to show no matter what, and if you’re just practicing, she will try 10 times harder at shows.”

While Emily is partially retired, she is still leaving a lasting impression in the show ring.

The mare has five foals on the ground, and one of her offspring is starting to make a name with Daniel in the show ring.

Made By Charlie is 2012 sorrel mare by Machine Made, and as a 5-year-old, she was an amateur AQHA Champion. She’s also following her dam’s footsteps with Daniel in the show ring: At the 2019 Lucas Oil AQHA World Championship Show, she was a finalist in Level 3 showmanship, horsemanship and amateur performance halter mares.