Archive for February, 2012

Stanley Bush, 1930-2012

Monday, February 27th, 2012
Stanley Bush

Stanley Bush on Royal Chess.

NCHA Hall of Fame rider Stanley Bush, 81, who died on February 26, joined the National Cutting Horse Association in 1950 and finished in the Top 10 standings more than a dozen times. He rode such great horses as Joe’s Last, Royal King, Snipper W, Silver Light, Alice Star, Royal Chess and Dry N Freckled.

In 1996, he marked 227 on Dry N Freckled to win the Legends Cutting at the NCHA 50th Anniversary Cutting and Reunion in Stephenville, Texas, beating Buster Welch, Matlock Rose, Jim Reno and others. “When you can beat those old guys like that, you think you might have done something,” Bush said.

But Stanley Bush was riding for high stakes before NCHA kept records of their riders’ earnings. As a jockey for J.D. Lundsford of Dallas, Bush piloted blue-blooded Thoroughbreds from Hot Springs to New Orleans and ran in a $10,000 match race at Del Rio, Texas, in the late 1940’s.

His brother-in-law, Matlock Rose, put him on his first cutting horse, Tiny’s Star, owned by Bodell Whitehead (now Funderburgh).

He later went to work for Bob Burton who got Bush the mount on Earl Albin’s Royal King. Bush’s first show with Royal King was at Denver’s prestigious Livestock Show and Rodeo. Although he had attended indoor rodeos, Bush had never ridden in one. He made it through the go-round without a hitch, but froze when confronted with the noisy crowd of spectators on finals night.

“I don’t think 1 can handle this,” Bush told Albin. “I’ve never seen so many people.” Albin assured Bush that once he rode Royal King into the herd, everything would be all right.

“That old horse just carried me through it,” said Bush, who won second overall. ”He had a lot of that pretty play in the front end. And he was the best stud in the world.”

Besides winning the NCHA 50th Anniversary Legends Cutting, Bush also won a Legends event at Belton, Texas, in 1993.

“That was the first time in my life that I ever signed autographs,” he said. “Winning that meant almost as much to me as being Reserve World Champion. Going in there with all your old friends, that’s what it’s all about. We’re all friends, but we all go in there and try to win.”

Bush was inducted into the NCHA Riders Hall Of Fame in 1989, and the Members Hall of Fame in 2003.

Services are tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, February 29 at Mason Funeral Home, Mason, Texas.

Lipstick’s streak continues

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Dont Look TwiceDont Look Twice, AKA “Lipstick,” continued her record-breaking streak in the Mercuria NCHA World Series of Cutting Open finals at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo on Saturday.

Ridden by Phil Rapp for Louis and Corliss Baldwin’s Waco Bend Ranch, she worked 12th in the 14-horse set and marked 228 to win by one point over R.L. Chartier on Wrigley Ranches’ A Little bossy.

It was her third Mercuria win of the year, following victories in the first two stops in the series at the Augusta Futurity and the San Antonio Stock Show. It was also her sixth total Mercuria NCHA World Series win. No other horse has won the Open finals of the highly competitive World Series more than twice.

“The third cow was a little dirt-faced Angus and as it was coming around the edge, it was swinging its head around and I thought, ‘Oh, this is going to be a lot of work. Old Lipstick, here we go . . .'” Rapp said. “But she can handle it. She is just an incredible horse.

“I think so many times we have great expectations for horses that they never meet, and this mare has far exceeded any expectations  we’ve ever had for her.”

“I think it is phenomenal the way Phil has been able to get her shown at each of these shows,” Louis Baldwin said. “It doesn’t matter if she draws early or late. He’s done a great job of getting her through the go-round and then getting her shown in the finals.”

Seven-year-old Dont Look Twice, by High Brow Cat out of  Tapt Twice, is NCHA’s 2011 Horse of the Year and World Champion Mare. She’ll continue to show this year and will be bred to Dual Smart Rey, Spots Hot, Third Cutting and Dual Rey.

Watch the video of Dont Look Twice’s winning run at Houston.




Brandon Dufurrena sets personal best

Sunday, February 26th, 2012
Brandon Dufurrena

Brandon Dufurrena with his sister Rieta and Miss Ella Rey.

Brandon Dufurrena and Miss Ella Rey established a new personal record with a 229-point win in the Mercuria NCHA World Series of Cutting Non-Pro finals at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo on Saturday. Dan Hansen and Woody Be Lucky finished second with a 223.

Dufurrena gave notice by winning the go-round by half a point over Hansen with a 224.

“She was good both runs,” he said. “We cut our cows a little bit better in the finals. My game plan every time I go to the herd is to be smooth, clean and accurate, and let the chips fall where they may. Tonight we cut good cows and I stayed out of her way and let her work.

“This is my highest score ever, and hers,” he added. “It’s pretty special.”

Miss Ella Rey is a 7-year-old mare by Dual Rey out of Huggs Olena. Last year, Dufurrena won the Limited Non-Pro at the Super Stakes Classic and the Southern Futurity 5/6-year-old finals on her. They also made the Mercuria finals at the Augusta Futurity in January.

The mare has won over $215,000 to date.

Watch Dufurrena’s winning run here.

Brandon’s sister, Rieta, marked 150 on Auspicious Cat to take the reserve championship in the Senior Youth at Houston.

2012 NCHA World Series Houston

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

2012 Arbuckle Mountain Futurity

Friday, February 24th, 2012

The ultimate trail ride

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

If you were headed West in the 1860s, you probably carried two bibles – one for spiritual guidance and the other one, “The Prairie Traveler” by Captain Randolph B. Marcy, for advice on all your other needs along the trail.

Published by the U.S. War Department in 1859, 16 years before the last free band of Native Americans surrendered, and billed as “The Best-Selling Handbook for American Pioneers,” Marcy’s manual covers everything from the topography of specific routes to how to supply a wagon; select a camp; track and pursue Indians; ford rivers; descend mountains; and all other vital information for such a journey.

Fascinating from an historical perspective, “The Prairie Traveler” is also packed with practical observations on the behavior of horses, mules, oxen, and wild animals.

“For prairie service,” Marcy notes, “horses which have been raised exclusively upon grass, and never been fed on grain, or ‘range horses,’ as they are called in the West, are decidedly the best, and will perform more hard labor than those that have been stabled and groomed.”

A footnote points out that a “recent” experiment at the veterinary school in Alfort (founded near Paris in 1766) discovered that horses actively exercised after being fed digested their feed within three hours, while digestion for stalled horses had “scarcely commenced” in three hours.

Mules, in Marcy’s opinion, were superior to oxen, where good grass was available, because they could travel faster on firm ground and better endure the heat of summer. For a journey of 1,500 miles or more, over rough or muddy ground, oxen were more practical and economical.

Foreshadowing inherent risks of the trail, Marcy also explained that oxen were less likely to be stampeded and driven off by Indians, and, if necessary, they could be used for beef.

On the other hand, mules were easily induced to follow a “bell mare,” and except if they got water in their ears, in which case they were “often drowned,” made excellent swimmers.

“Whenever a mule in the water drops his ears, it is a sure indication that he has water in them, and he should be taken out as soon as possible,” Marcy cautions.

Horses and mules, he also notes, make good sentinels in Indian territory, often alerting, with heads raised, the direction of approaching danger, long before a dog would notice.
When crossing Indian country, Marcy recommends being on the alert for tracks: “Mustangs….leave a trail which is sometimes difficult to distinguish from that made by a mounted party of Indians, but if a single pile of dung is found, this is a sure indication that a herd of mustangs has passed, as they always stop to relieve themselves, while a party of Indians would keep their horses in motion, and the (dung) would be scattered along the road.”

A chapter titled “The Buffalo” describes in detail two methods for hunting buffalo: running them on horseback, and stalking or still-hunting. Running them requires a fleet, fresh, and fearless mount.

“As a long buffalo chase is very severe labor upon a horse,” he points out, “I would recommend to all travelers, unless they have a good deal of surplus horse-flesh, never to expend it running buffalo.”

“The Prairie Traveler,” which includes maps of the principle routes between the Mississippi and Pacific, noting landmarks along each trail, and the availability of water, wood, and grass.

It also features a map of the Pikes Peak gold region (a major lure for travelers) and numerous illustrations, including those of saddles and tack; horse tracks; the proper technique for fording a river and swimming a horse; and ones simply titled “The Grizzly,” and “Keep Away!”

The Prairie Traveler” is available as a free download for the Kindle e-reader on, where the soft cover book is also available.

2012 Bonanza

Saturday, February 18th, 2012