Archive for December, 2007

For the pleasure of it

Monday, December 31st, 2007

If you have ever watched a western pleasure class and wondered who considers it a “pleasure,” take heart. On December 19, top riders from the National Snaffle Bit Association, as well as the top 10 open western pleasure riders from the past three AQHA World Championship Shows, and a team of judges who specialize in western pleasure were invited to attend a forum hosted by AQHA and NSBA.

The purpose of the meeting was to develop a standardized system by which all western pleasure exhibitors are judged. Over the years, as the event has evolved, important elements such as head carriage, cadence, gaits, transitions and overall expression have sometimes reflected inconsistent and seemingly artificial changes.

“I was very pleased with the willingness shown by these key professionals in western pleasure to be open in their discussion and truly interested in bettering the discipline,” said Pete Kyle, chair of AQHA’s judges committee, who helped facilitate the discussion.

Some of the changes discussed included placing more emphasis on judging the walk and using a video to educate exhibitors on improving the gait; educating exhibitors on lengthened stride versus shorter, manmade strides; addressing the importance of conformation as it applies to balance and motion. The forum also proposed the production of a video to demonstrate the nuances of western pleasure.

“Western pleasure is the foundation class for nearly every other event,” said Alex Ross, AQHA executive director of judges. “There are some who feel the written rule is the benchmark. While that might be the intent, until we are all able to agree on what our standards are and be consistent, there will be confusion. I think we made a lot of progress during this meeting to get people to understand how western pleasure horses are to be exhibited.”

A zorse of a different color

Monday, December 31st, 2007

There is no denying that Eclyse has a wild side. The yearling zorse is the offspring of a male zebra and a female horse. While most zorses sport solid coats with dark stripes, Eclyse, the major attraction in a German safari park, is a patchwork marvel.

Horses and zebras are crossbred in Africa to use as trekking animals, and the International Zebra – Zorse – Zonkey Association (IZZZA), Ramona, CA, registers and maintains pedigrees on zorses and zonkeys (zebra/donkey hybrids), worldwide.

For a better look at Eclyse, go to:

Leading buyers at NCHA Futurity Sales

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

For those who follow the cutting horse market, there were many familiar names among the leading buyers at Western Bloodstock’s NCHA Futurity Sales. Here’s a look at the top buyers, listed by total amount purchased.

Buyer Qty Total
Stanley Thomas 3 $955,000
Jackson Land & Cattle LLC 2 $750,000
Kenneth Jackson 2 $650,000
Bet Hesa Cat Syndicate 1 $400,000
Mike Jones 7 $396,000
Bruce Chernoff 9 $364,500
Carlos Deleu 12 $313,200
Cowan Select Horses, LLC 7 $292,500
Alan Chappell 6 $247,500
Finis Welch 6 $242,500
Jeffrey Matthews 2 $242,000
Black Rock Ranch LLC 6 $238,000
Lynn Leedy 1 $225,000
Jo Goertz 1 $220,000
Ronald Knutson 6 $211,000
Casey Fradelia 6 $202,500
Sandra Sabey 1 $200,000
Phillip Nivens 5 $175,500
Doug Carpenter 5 $167,000
Lonnie & Barbara Allsup 6 $167,000
Louis or Ray Baldwin 2 $162,000
Noel Stamper 11 $160,600
Charles Cox 4 $160,000
Belinda Vandersloot 3 $152,000
Alvaro Simoes 2 $150,500
Mike Ingram 2 $150,000
Bill & Jann Parker 17 $142,800
Kevin & Maryann Miller 2 $142,500
Teddy R. Price 1 $135,000
Bill & Jo Ellard 6 $132,000

Western Bloodstock stats

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

The 2007 Western Bloodstock NCHA Futurity Sales posted some impressive numbers. Here’s a look at the stats, broken down by session:

NCHA Futurity Sales 2007

  • Gross Sales: 1,250 head averaging $22,630
  • RNA’s: 221 head averaging $29,838
  • Net Sales: 1,029 head averaging $21,082
  • Withdrawn: 84 head


Sunday, December 9 & Tuesday, December 11Trained Cutting Horses & 2-Year-Olds on CattleWatt Arena

Lots 1001 – 1118 & Lots 3001 – 3118

  • Gross Sales: 215 head averaging $10,393
  • RNA’s: 49 head averaging $13,270
  • Net Sales: 166 head averaging $9,544
  • Withdrawn: 22 head


Monday, December 10Broodmares, Yearlings & WeanlingsJohn Justin Sale Arena

Lots 2001 – 2223

  • Gross Sales: 211 head averaging $7,832
  • RNA’s: 30 head averaging $6,833
  • Net Sales: 181 head averaging $8,000
  • Withdrawn: 13 head


Wednesday, December 12Watt ArenaLots 4001 – 4100
  • Gross Sales: 92 head averaging $35,263
  • RNA’s: 17 head averaging $33,441
  • Net Sales: 75 head averaging $35,676
  • Withdrawn: 8 head



Wednesday, December 12John Justin ArenaLots 4101 – 4165
  • Gross Sales: 64 head averaging $89,156
  • RNA’s: 15 head averaging $120,400
  • Net Sales: 49 head averaging $79,592
  • Withdrawn: 1 head


Thursday, December 13 & Friday, December 14Select Yearlings Weanlings & BroodmaresJohn Justin Arena

Lots 5001 – 5226 & Lots 6088 – 6224

  • Gross Sales: 344 head averaging $26,751
  • RNA’s: 58 head averaging $30,983
  • Net Sales: 286 head averaging $25,893
  • Withdrawn: 21 head


Select Yearlings by Stallions with Foals 3 & UnderFriday, December 14John Justin Arena

Lots 6001 – 6087

  • Gross Sales: 85 head averaging $16,776
  • RNA’s: 11 head averaging $18,909
  • Net Sales: 74 head averaging $16,459
  • Withdrawn: 3 head


Saturday, December 15Watt ArenaLots 7001 – 7092
  • Gross Sales: 86 head averaging $38,051
  • RNA’s: 21 head averaging $51,143
  • Net Sales: 65 head averaging $33,822
  • Withdrawn: 6 head


Sunday, December 16John Justin ArenaLots 8001 – 8163
  • Gross Sales: 153 head averaging $10,126
  • RNA’s: 20 head averaging $14,270
  • Net Sales: 133 head averaging $9,503
  • Withdrawn: 10 head

Here’s how the leading indicators for the Western Bloodstock NCHA Futurity Sales stack up over the last few years:

  2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Lots Offered 765 1364 1268 1434 1315 1125 1250
Lots Sold 613 1050 963 1086 1017 940 1029
Completed Sales 80% 77% 75% 75% 77% 84% 82%
Actual Average $21,343 $14,813 $17,130 $18,030 $17,490 21,370 $21,082
Top 10 Average $343,600 $207,200 $235,700 $277,000 $207,700 $267,000 $336,500
Top 20 Average $222,250 $147,300 $171,950 $194,550 $150,900 195,450 $238,850
Top 100 Average $77,098 $66,595 $74,842 $78,850 $69,155 88,740 $94,590
Top 200 Average $49,165 $45,699 $50,961 $55,732 $48,950 60,845 $64,160

Record sales during NCHA Futurity

Friday, December 21st, 2007

Record sales during the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity, which ended December 16 in Fort Worth, reflect the increasing popularity of the sport. This year’s sales, produced by Western Bloodstock, saw all-time high prices paid in three categories.

Curlys Cowgirl, consigned by Dick Gaines, set a new yearling record of $500,000. The Zack T Wood daughter, full sister to champions Wood Ya Wanna and Wood I Never, sold to Stan Thomas, Newman, GA.

Bet Hesa Cat, a red roan by High Brow Cat and out of world champion Bet Yer Blue Boons, set a yearling colt record of $400,000. Consigned by Teddy Price, he was purchased by trainer Austin Shepard for the Bet Hesa Cat Syndicate.

Shes Brilliant, consigned by Tommy Manion, tied the previous yearling auction record. The High Brow Cat daughter, a full sister to NCHA Horse of the Year Smooth As A Cat, brought $390,000 from Stan Thomas. The previous record was for the High Brow Cat daughter Catalaney, out of leading producer Laney Doc, during the 2004 EE Ranches Sale.

Five-year-old Absolutely Stunning, with siblings that have earned over $715,000, set a new record for seasoned cutting horse at $575,000. The red roan daughter of Smart Little Lena, from the family of all-time producer Royal Blue Boon, is the earner of $102,000. She was consigned by Tommy Manion and Karen Freeman and purchased by Jackson Land & Cattle, which purchased cutting sire Peptoboonsmal privately last spring.

Four-year-old Shes Icing On The Cat, winner of $237,000 under Wes Galyean, broke the previous record for a seasoned cutting horse at auction with a price of $500,000. The High Brow Cat daughter, consigned by Galyean, was purchased by Ken Jackson, Owensville, MO, who purchased the weanling filly All Boon at the 2006 NCHA Futurity Sales for a record $750,000.

A new two-year-old record was established with the sale of What A Smooth Cat for $225,000. The son of Smooth As A Cat, out of Nurse What, was consigned by Lee Gaule and purchased by Lynn Leedy. SDP Tell Me Kitty, a filly sired by Mr Jay Bar Cat, tied the previous two-year-old record at $200,000. She was consigned by Trey Hunt and sold to Sandra Sabey.

Cutting has outpaced all non-racing events as the richest and fastest growing segment of the performance horse industry. The National Cutting Horse Association paid $42 million in purses during 2007, and the NCHA Futurity, which concluded last weekend in Fort Worth, offered a record purse of $4.2 million.

Blues Girl Too breaks Dash For Cash’s record in Champion of Champions

Monday, December 17th, 2007

In one of the greatest Quarter Horse performances ever seen at Los Alamitos Racecourse, 2006 two-year-old champion and champion filly Blues Girl Too beat runner-up Little Bit Of Baja by 1 1/4 lengths, on the way to a record of :21.132 seconds, in the 440-yard Champion of Champions, Saturday, December 15. The great Dash For Cash set the previous record in the first of his two Champion of Champions wins with a time of :21.17, on December 19, 1976. Champion FDD Dynasty, the 5-2 favorite in the race, finished third.

Trained by Joe Bassett and ridden by Saul Ramirez at odds of 7-1, Blues Girl Too earned $500,000 with her Champion of Champions win to became the richest female in Quarter Horse racing history and only the second sprinter to go over the $2 million mark in career earnings. With $2,032,328, she is now $93,981 shy of equaling the all-time earnings record of $2,126,309 held by two-times world champion and three-times Champion of Champions winner Refrigerator.

“We knew that she could do this, but we’re still in shock after this performance,” said Russell Stooks of Lucky Seven Ranch, Blues Girl Too’s owner. “We gave her a good rest after she ran fourth (to Little Bit Of Baja) in the Los Alamitos Super Derby. She had two weeks where she didn’t do a thing. She came into this race fresh and she ran the race of her life.”

After joining Ocean Runaway as the only horses to win both the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (in 2006) and the Champion of Champions, Blues Girl Too has earned her place among Quarter racing’s greatest stars. In Saturday’s winner’s circle, some were calling her the greatest filly of all-time.

“That’s one of the greatest things that people have told us tonight,” said Stooks. “I’ve had some old-timers, people that have been around this game a long time, tell me that she’s the best they’ve ever seen. After this race I had people tell me that she’s the greatest racehorse ever.”

Because of her small stature, some handicappers thought the 440-yard distance would prove to be too taxing for Blues Girl Too. “We were a little nervous because she had never run 440 yards before,” Stooks said. “But we knew after she won the (400-yard) Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap (on September 21), if she repeated that performance, the extra forty yards wouldn’t bother her.”

“We’re going to give her time off,” said Bassett, who at the age of 24 is the youngest trainer ever to win the Champion of Champions. “We’ll probably do a little surgery in a couple of weeks, just like we did after she won the Los Al Two Million last year. If we decide to bring her back, maybe we’ll shoot for the Millie Vessels Memorial Handicap next year. That would give me plenty of time to get her ready.

“The chance to break Refrigerator’s record may never happen again for us. I know that Blues Girl Too would run all day, if she could. But we will evaluate the situation and do what’s best for her.”

In addition to the Champion of Champions and Millie Vessels Handicap, Blues Girl Too also won the Grade 1 Golden State Derby on September 21. Her career record now stands at eight wins and four second-place finishes from 13 starts.

This past spring, Blues Girl Too who was bred to Mr Jess Perry, A Regal Choice and Ocean Runaway. In 2008, she will be bred to First Down Dash and FDD Dynasty. Her dam, 11-year old Run The Dash, by Sixarun out of a Dash For Cash daughter, also produced The Blues Man, by This Snow Is Royal, winner of $187,841.

High Brow CD and Austin Shepard claim NCHA Futurity

Monday, December 17th, 2007

From first go-round to the last, High Brow CD maintained his mettle and Austin Shepard proved his showmanship in the NCHA Open Futurity.

Last night, the dynamic duo upped the ante late in the first of two sets of cattle. Their 226-point score topped the field by 8.5 points and earned them $250,000. Only Desires Little Rex and Bubba Matlock, reserve champions with 222.5 points, came close enough to see their dust, four-deep in the second set.

“I was just trying to be smooth on my second cow, but it wouldn’t let me off and I kept having to be more aggressive,” said Shepard. “I didn’t think it was ever going to turn away. My horse was out of air and I was trying to slow myself down.”

When the first cow finally turned away, and Shepard turned back to the herd, Shepard spotted a volunteer close to the front. When helper Brett Davis told him that it was fresh, Shepard trotted up and cut it.

“I didn’t have any idea how much time I had,” he said. “It felt like I worked it forever. But when I went back (to the herd) I had twelve seconds left. So I kind of went back to my weekend experience.

“One thing I have learned through showing is that you can’t make a run like that. It just has to happen and you have to be aggressive and smart and pick your opportunities. But when it’s meant to happen, it happens.”

High Brow CD had tied for second with Al Poocino, ridden by Tom Dvorak, in the first go-round with 221 points. Special Nu Kitty, ridden by Clint Allen, won the first round with a record 227 points and the standings remained the same at the end of two go-rounds — Special Nu Kitty followed by High Brow CD and Al Poocino, with a tie.

If wagers had been taken before the Futurity Finals, Allen on Special Nu Kitty, for Wrigley Ranches, would have been the odds-on favorite. But it was not the High Brow Cat’s night to shine and Allen, last year’s reserve champion on Highdrive Cat, rode out, when with seconds left on the clock, a second cow joined the one he had cut.

“When that happened to him and he came straight out, I thought that showed a lot of character,” Shepard said.

It was in the Semi-Finals that High Brow CD and Shepard gave a taste of what was to come, with a 224-point “we’re out to win” performance.

“He’s been one of the nicest horses to train that I’ve ever had,” said Shepard of the High Brow Cat son, owned by Arthur Noble, Madison, MS. “He’s one of those you dream about.”

Noble purchased High Brow CD, his first yearling, for $63,000 at the 2005 NCHA Futurity Sales. Shepard happened to walk through John Justin Sale Arena just before the horse was to sell and Noble asked for his opinion.

“I told him that I loved the mare (High Brow CD’s dam) and we should look at the baby,” Shepard recalled. “If I hadn’t gone to work another horse in the practice pen, Clint Allen could have had that horse and his great mare (Special Nu Kitty). I stood right beside Clint and he was bidding against me.”

Last week during the NCHA Futurity Sales, Sweet Little Kitten, a full sister to High Brow CD out of Sweet Little CD, sold for $93,000, during Western Bloodstock’s Invitational Yearling Sale. Sweet Little CD, by CD Olena, is out of Sweet Lil Lena, a full sister to Smart Lil Scoot, sire of Philip Layne’s 2007 NCHA Futurity Amateur and Non-Pro Limited champion Dual Ya Scoot, as well as Open finalists Moms Stylish Scoot (8th/9th), with Jason Clark for Darren Blanton, and Playware (15th), under Austin Shepard for Lynn Davis.

Sweet Lil Lena is also the dam of Sweet Lil Pepto, sire of Some Kinda Sweety, an Open Finalist under Shannon Hall for Clay McCullar, and Pepto Taz, sire of Heza Smart Taz, a finalist with Michael Copper for George Ward.

Ironically, it was Shepard, at the time part-owner of the horse, who started Futurity reserve champion Desires Little Rex on cattle. Bubba Matlock has had the Smart Little Lena son, with Futurity winnings of $197,004, since last February. Matlock had career earnings of just over $300,000 prior to the 2007 NCHA Futurity.

Shepard, who lives in Summerdale, AL and has NCHA lifetime earnings of nearly $3 million, was a finalist in the 2004 NCHA Futurity aboard Cats Good Intentions, and again in 2005 on CDs Nitty Gritty. He also rode Widows Intentions as 2006 Super Stakes Classic champion and NCHA Derby reserve champion.