Taps for Tap O Lena

September 14th, 2015
Tap O Lena

Phil Rapp on Tap O Lena. Don Shugart photo

Tap O Lena, arguably one of the greatest cutting horse performers and producers ever, has died at age 25.

Bred by Phil Rapp, whose father bought the mare’s dam for him to ride when Phil was a teenager, Tap O Lena won 17 major NCHA championships. She produced earners of $596,000. And her daughters produced earners of $1.4 million.

“I was pretty green when I first started showing (Tap O Lena’s dam),” said Rapp, who was 15 at the time. “I’d get her in binds that I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to get horses into. At some weekend shows, I’d cut for darn near two minutes on her.

“Tap O Lena has all her mother’s guts, and Doc O’Lena put the finesse on her.”
Even as early as her NCHA Non-Pro Derby win, Rapp recognized Tap O Lena’s special qualities.

Tap O Lena

Tap O Lena winning the El Cid Non-Pro Classic. Sally Harrison photo.

“She’s as good as I’ve ever had,” he said in 1994. “I don’t think I’ll get another one like her. We said that about Playboys Ruby, but this one’s awfully good. She takes care of me.”

Rapp took care of the mare, too.

“I go to bed very few nights when I don’t go check her,” he said in the midst of the mare’s brilliant career. “Mary Ann says, ‘You want to bring her into the bedroom, maybe?'”

Tap O Lena bred true and the bloodline has given Rapp a steady stream of champions including Horse of the Year Dont Look Twice, and the 2015 Super Stakes Champion Dont Stopp Believin.

Tap O Lena’s Major Wins

Year Show Class Age Rider
1994 NCHA SUPER STAKES OPEN 4 PHIL RAPP
1994 AUGUSTA FUTURITY NON-PRO 4 PHIL RAPP
1994 NCHA DERBY NON-PRO 4 PHIL RAPP
1994 CHISHOLM TRAIL DERBY NON-PRO 4 PHIL RAPP
1994 PACIFIC COAST DERBY NON-PRO 4 PHIL RAPP
1995 NCHA CLASSIC CHALLENGE OPEN 5/6 PHIL RAPP
1995 NCHA CLASSIC CHALLENGE NON-PRO 5/6 PHIL RAPP
1995 STEAMBOAT SPRINGS DERBY NON-PRO 5/6 PHIL RAPP
1995 CHISHOLM TRAIL FUTURITY NON-PRO 5/6 PHIL RAPP
1996 NCHA SUPER STAKES CLASSIC OPEN 5/6 PHIL RAPP
1996 NCHA SUPER STAKES CLASSIC NON-PRO 5/6 PHIL RAPP
1996 BONANZA NON-PRO 5/6 PHIL RAPP
1996 CHISHOLM TRAIL FUTURITY NON-PRO 5/6 PHIL RAPP
1996 MEMPHIS FUTURITY NON-PRO 5/6 PHIL RAPP
1996 EL CID FUTURITY NON-PRO 5/6 PHIL RAPP
1996 SOUTHERN FUTURITY NON-PRO 5/6 MARY ANN RAPP
1997 NCHA WORLD FINALS NON-PRO ALL MARY ANN RAPP