219 ties Kyle Manion and James Hooper for lead

November 30th, 2010
Kyle Manion

Kyle Manion with Calm Cool Smooth

Calm Cool Smooth. His mount’s moniker pretty well summed up Kyle Manion’s 219-point performance on Monday – the first day of Non-Pro competition in the Borden Milk NCHA Futurtiy in Fort Worth.

Manion and Calm Cool Smooth tied with James Hooper, on Dox Sugar Blue, for the high score of the day.

“We bought her as a yearling out of the (Futurity) sales and my mother changed her name,” said Manion of his Smooth As A Cat daughter, out of Fruit Of The Boom, by Boomernic.

“She’s really soft and smart, and I haven’t really felt like I’ve been in trouble in any of my runs on her so far.”

Manion, marketing manager for his family’s Manion Ranch, in Aubrey, TX, qualified Calm Cool Smooth for the Open Semi-Finals with a cumulative score of 433.5. Matt Miller, who qualified two horses for the Open Semi-Finals, trained Calm Cool Smooth.

“Matt has done a great job,” said Manion. “She’s thoughtful and easy to ride, and smart and smooth.”

Tommy Manion, Kyle’s father, bred Smooth As A Cat, by High Brow Cat, out of his 1994 NCHA Futurity Non-Pro champion mount Shes Pretty Smooth.

Four of the top 11 high-scoring horses going into the Open Semi-Finals are sired by Smooth As A Cat, who was shown by Matt Gaines to win over $500,000 and

earn the title of 2005 NCHA Horse of the Year; Kyle Manion has owned the stallion since December 2004.

Dox Sugar Blue

James Hooper

James Hooper and Dox Sugar Blue

“You never know until you drop your hand at the show exactly what you’ve got. I think that’s what makes the Futurity what it is,” said James Hooper, a Decatur, Alabama business owner and past president of NCHA.

But Hooper, who tied Kyle Manion with 219 points to lead the first day’s action, had intimations of his gelding’s potential.

“He’s been solid for about three months,” said Hooper. He’s one of those colts that when you turn them loose in the last month or so, they get more comfortable and really start liking it.”

Hooper and his wife, Gail, who also shows in the Non-Pro go-round, purchased Dox Sugar Blue, by Mecom Blue, at the Rock Creek Dispersal Sale in September 2009.

The full brother to Blue Dox Com ($93,598) and half-brother to Dual N At Noon ($161,869), had been started by Roger Wagner. Brad Mitchell finished Dox Sugar Blue for the Hoopers.

“He feels like a four or five-year-old,” said Hooper. “And he kind of lets you ride him that way. I think we hit a home run with him.”

Hooper shows Mr Pib, by Dual Pep, on Wednesday.

Whata Stylish Badger

Kelle Earnheart, defending NCHA Futurity Non-Pro champion, returned this year with Whata Stylish Badger, by Reys Dual Badger, the sire of her 2009 champion,  Badgers Perscription.

“He’s a gelding and I think he might be a little bit stronger than my mare was last year at this time,” said Earnheart, who marked 217 points to tie with Megan Mowery as the second highest-scoring rider on Monday. “But they’re both really nice horses. The way they feel on a cow, they’re close to being the same.”

Earnheart acquired Whata Stylish Badger, a half-brother to Spoonfula Style ($54,366), from Darren Simpkins, who trained him, as well as Badgers Perscription, and owned and showed Reys Dual Badger. 2006 NCHA Horse of the Year.

Sweet Calico Cat

“I was a little nervous, but I’ve climbed on my dad’s horses for years and years,” said Megan Mowery, after her 217-point performance aboard Sweet Calico Cat, the last daughter of leading producer Sweet Lil Lena.

“She was easy. There was no jockeying. It was just get out of her way and let her do her thing.”

Megan’s father, Hall of Fame champion Mike Mowery, trained Sweet Calico Cat, a half-sister to Sweet Lil Pepto ($218,655); Pepto Taz ($130,174); and Sweet¬† Little CD ($106,085).