Archive for December, 2006

Ranching matters

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

The National Cutting Horse Association Futurity was designed to bring together the world’s best young cutting horses. One of the results is that it also brings together some of the world’s most interesting people.

A case in point is NCHA Hall of Famer Dan Lufkin, who was a founding member of the Wall Street firm Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, former chairman of Columbia Pictures’ finance committee, creator and head of Connecticut’s Department of Environmental Protection in the 1970s, rancher, cutting horse breeder, and former cutting competitor.

At this year’s NCHA Futurity Sales, Lufkin’s Oxbow Ranch, Weatherford, TX, sold a yearling red roan filly by Dual Rey out of Oxbow-bred and owned Bet Yer Blue Boons for $285,000, a record shared with Waco Bend Ranch, Fort Worth, TX, who sold the yearling filly Ruby Reyn, by Dual Rey out of Playboys Ruby, for $285,000.

In a 2002 interview for Harvard Business School, Lufkin said one of his proudest accomplishments was becoming a member of the National Cutting Horse Association Hall of Fame. Listen to him here.

Cutting ‘Cat’alyst

Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

Oh Cay Felix’s win in the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity (see my article and coverage in the NCHA Daily Chatter, Dec 18 edition, at and the NCHA Futurity Sales ushered in an exciting new era for the sport of cutting, the richest arena horse sport in the U.S. NCHA Futurity Sales rank second-only to Thoroughbred race horses sales as the highest grossing horse auctions in North America.

As a bellwether of breeding trends, this year’s NCHA Futurity reinforced the dominance of High Brow Cat. The 1988 sorrel stallion, owned by Jack and Susan Waggoner, Bridgeport, TX, has been cutting’s leading sire for the past four years and has offspring earnings of more than $19 million, including $1.3 million from the 2006 NCHA Futurity.

High Brow Cat three-year-olds swept  the NCHA Futurity Open division claiming the champion and reserve champion titles. Forty-six percent (12 out of 26) of the Open finalists were sired by High Brow Cat.; 26 out of 71 Open semi-finalists were also High Brow Cats.

“Breeding animals is just like building a building or a business,” said Jack Waggoner, whose business interests include insurance and lodging. “You have to have a plan and an ultimate goal. If you don’t you’re just propagating the species.

“You are trying for an ideal. That ideal may not be everyone’s ideal, but it’s yours – that’s what you’re trying to make.

“When we started to breed ‘Cat,’ people said, oh boy, he’s a High Brow Hickory and he’s this and he’s that. But I told them, he’s what I think a cutting horse should look like and act like.

“We’re raising contest horses. It isn’t a horse that you can use for everything. We’ve narrowed it down. It’s just like a field trial dog. He isn’t necessarily your family pet. He’s bred for competition.

“We breed these horses now to have try and heart. If they quit, if they’re not tough, we can’t use them. They have to be intent on the cow and work with intensity, and then they have to be tremendous athletes.

“And above all, they have to be intelligent. If they aren’t intelligent and don’t take training well, we’re not going to progress. There are horses that have won that are not too intelligent, but they’re not consistent and they don’t produce consistent winners.

“Every once in a while a horse like ‘Cat’ will come along and whatever you breed him to will produce a horse that will cut,” Waggoner added. “I’ve never seen a trained horse by High Brow Cat that wasn’t a good cutting horse.”

Cat attack

Sunday, December 17th, 2006

Twelve of the 26 finalists in tonight’s $4 million NCI Building Systems NCHA Futurity are sons or daughters of perennial leading sire High Brow Cat. Here’s a look at the field, sorted by sires:

Finalist Sex Sire Dam Dam’s Sire
Ruby Tuesdays Color M Color Me Smart Ruby Tuesday DNA Peppy San Badger
Stylish To The Max M Docs Stylish Oak Maximum Merada Freckles Merada
Spoonful of Cheerios G Hes A Peptospoonful  Make O Lena Doc O’Lena
The Silver Spoon G Hes A Peptospoonful RSK Dinahs Prissie Royal Silver King
Cats Gotta Diamond S High Brow Cat Diamond J Starlight Grays Starlight
Cats Quixote Jack S High Brow Cat Oh Cay With Me Oh Cay Quixote
Cats Starlight G High Brow Cat Cookie Starlight Grays Starlight
Hissy Cat M High Brow Cat Hustlin Leopard Freckles Hustler
Hydrive Cat S High Brow Cat Ruby Tuesday DNA Peppy San Badger
King of The Cats S High Brow Cat Jae Bar Maisie Doc’s Jack Sprat
Lil Itty Bitty Kitty M High Brow Cat Lil Lucy Long Legs Dual Pep
Lucindas Catolena M High Brow Cat Lenas Lucinda Doc O’Lena
Oh Cay Felix G High Brow Cat Oh Cay Shorty Shorty Lena
Shes Icing Onthe Cat M High Brow Cat Smart Lucinda Lena Smart Little Lena
Smart N Catty M High Brow Cat Smart Little Fives Smart Little Lena
Spookys Cat Deville G High Brow Cat San Starlight Grays Starlight
Della Modena M Mick Be Jagger Wayward Tracks Poco Holey Doc
Annettas Blue Genes M Peptoboonsmal Annetta Quixote Docs Okie Quixote
Boony Playboy S Peptoboonsmal High Playgirl High Brow Hickory
Copaspepto G Peptoboonsmal Miss Martini Play Freckles Playboy
Purely Gorgeous M Peptoboonsmal Purely Smart Smart Little Lena
Myles From Nowhere S Smart Little Jerry Fairlea Awesome Colonel Pic
Bitty Little Lena M Smart Little Lena Itty Bity Badge Playboys Badge
Mate Stays Here M Smart Mate Cokette Doc Quixote
Hey Georgy Girl M Wild Thing DNA Miss Sarah Solano Doc’s Solano
Dmac Easter Bunny M Young Gun Pretty Bo Bunny Smart Little Lena

Here’s a Riddle

Saturday, December 16th, 2006

Which two-time NCHA Futurity Reserve Champion is back in the finals with two mounts in Sunday’s $4 million NCI Building Systems NCHA Futurity? Terry Riddle, 59, will be riding Spoonful Of Cheerios, a Hes A Peptospoonful x Make O Lena gelding, for Roger Anderson, plus his own mare, DMac Easter Bunny, by Young Gun out of Pretty Bo Bunny.

In 1976, Riddle marked 222.5 on the great sire-to-be Freckles Playboy to tie for the Reserve Championship at the Futurity with his brother-in-law, Bill Freeman on Doc’s Becky. Colonel Freckles won that year by half a point, ridden by Olan Hightower.

“I knew Playboy was different before I ever rode him,” Riddle said. “When I was driving and breaking him in the round pen, he’d just drop and turn around. That move was all natural, and that carried on into when I was working him.

“He was smart and willing, really a good-minded stud. He didn’t have any larceny to him. As a matter of fact, you couldn’t scold him much, because it would just scare him to death.”

In 1990, Riddle was back for a reserve title on Smart Play, behind Joe Suiter and Millie Montana. Riddle said that Smart Play was not a handsome horse, but he more than made up for it with ability drawn from his sire, Smart Little Lena, and dam, the Playboy mare A Lenaette.

“He was the ugly duckling in the yearling pen that year, but he looked a lot prettier when I put him behind a cow,” Riddle said. “He acts like he knows what the cows are going to do before they do it. His mama was a real hard-stopping, hard-moving kind of horse, but she was kind of hyper. She didn’t stop to think about everything like he does.”

Riddle sold Spoonful Of Cheerios to Roger Anderson of Hillsboro, North Dakota, in April. “He’s a thrill a minute,” Riddle said “If anything, he wants to overdo it. You don’t have to ask him anything.”

All-time record price for Quarter Horse weanling

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

All Boon (photo taken 10-13-06 by Sally Harrison) brought an all-time record price of $750,000 for an American Quarter Horse weanling at auction on Wednesday, Dec. 13 during the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity Sales in Fort Worth.

Consigned by Rocking W Ranch, Mineral Wells, TX, which is owned by Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton, the red roan filly is sired by Peptoboonsmal and out of Walton-bred Boon San Kitty, an NCHA Horse of the Year and earner of $561,767.

All Boon was purchased by Kenneth Jackson, Owensville, MO, whose company Jahabow Industries, produces display cases and store fixtures for major retailers in the U.S. and abroad. Last year, Jackson purchased the high-selling weanling colt at the 2005 NCHA Futurity Sales, Cat And Dulce, consigned by Lonnie and Barbara Allsup, for $100,000.

The highest price ever paid for a weanling at auction was $2.7 million for a Thoroughbred colt during the 2006 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale in Lexington, KY. A filly sold at a record $2.4 million for a female weanling during the same sale.

The NCHA Futurity Sales continue through Sunday, December 17 at Will Rogers Equestrian Center in Fort Worth.

Clays Little Peppy carries on

Sunday, December 10th, 2006

When Deena Adams took the reserve championship in the Limited Non-Pro finals at the NCHA Futurity riding MH San Tules Clay (pictured) on Sunday, the paycheck boosted the earnings of Clays Little Peppy’s offspring over $500,000. Deena’s father-in-law, Wes Adams, bred the 3-year-old, and blended the names of her sire, Futurity champ San Tule Freckles, and dam, Clays Little Peppy. Clays Little Peppy, in turn, took her name from the son of Judy Garrett, a Garland, Texas schoolteacher.

Judy and her husband, Button Garrett, bought their first horse, Miss Doc Smoke, which was Clays Little Peppy’s dam, with an eye to the 1983 NCHA Futurity. But when that mare had physical problems, they bred her to Little Peppy, and got Clays Little Peppy. Teddy Johnson started Clays Little Peppy and said that “she was really cow smart. She spent most of her time trying to figure out how to contain a cow and stay in the position where she wasn’t going to lose that cow.”

The Garretts were elated when Buster Welch elected to ride her in the NCHA Futurity and the mare went on to win more than $200,000, ridden by Buster Welch, Greg Welch and Gary Bellenfant, as well as Smokey Garrett in the non-pro ranks.

“She’s a real clear-minded mare, and she’s real intent,” Buster Welch said in 1989, as he was winning some of the mare’s largest paychecks, shortly after recovering from open heart surgery himself.

Clays Little Peppy went on to produce Clays Little Kit, an earner of $228,000, plus five other individuals that earned $25,000 or more. Her latest performer, MH San Tules Clay, was able to take the reserve championship Sunday night despite being sidelined for eight months following a trailer accident.

“She’s a lot of fun. She definitely doesn’t feel like a 3-year-old,” Adams said. “She makes my job pretty easy.”

MH San Tules Clay will be on stage again in Tuesday’s Limited Open finals, and in Friday’s Non-Pro semi-finals.

Sounds like a winner

Thursday, December 7th, 2006

Anyone who has been there knows that the NCHA Futurity differs from other cuttings by more than just the size of its purse or the prestige of winning it. While you’re waiting for this year’s finals, have a listen to the crowd’s response to Tommy Marvin’s winning ride on Highbrow Supercat last year . . .

Click here.