You could call Play Peek A Boon — a mare that Lindy Burch of Weatherford, Texas brought out of retirement after more than three years — the poster child of the 6666 Ranch NCHA World Series of Cutting. One aspect of the program is to give the sport’s seasoned performers an incentive to take another turn in the spotlight. With $25,000 or more added to Open and Non-Pro events at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, Calgary Stampede, All American Quarter Horse Congress and American Royal Show, horses can get a new lease on life after they’ve graduated out of the limited age events.
Play Peek A Boon is 1999 Freckles Playboy mare that earned $180,000 as a finalist at the NCHA Futurity, NCHA Derby, and a string of other major aged events before joining the broodmare roster.
Burch had sold her top weekend horse, but with the World Series coming together this season, she saw her trusty broodmare in a new light.
“She’d just been turned out and we’d been taking embryos from her,” Burch said. “She was kind of like a bottle of good wine that you put up.
“She looked pretty darn sound and I wondered how she would be if I got her back up,” Burch said. “I started legging her up and she was a little stiff at first, but she just kept getting better and better. I worked her a few times and she was just outstanding. She never missed a beat.”
A torn suspensory had taken the mare out of competition years before, but a vet check gave her the green light for a comeback.
“So I said, I’m going to let her tell me. If she gets sore, I’ll quit. If she doesn’t, I’ll show her.”
Forty days after Burch pulled her out of the broodmare pasture, she showed her at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, winning the NCHA Open championship and placing second in the 6666 Ranch NCHA World Series of Cutting finals.
“She was fabulous,” Burch said. “It was funny. Like great horses do, at home they’re good; they don’t take a lot. But when you walk into that coliseum situation and there are lights and everything — she just came alive. She brightened up and took a better step. It was like, ‘hey, this is where I’m supposed to be.’
“It was the most fun I’ve had cutting in a long time. Houston brings out the best in open horses. I love that one-bunch format where you just throw your hand down and go hook up. It brings out the toughest competition and makes everybody a little better.”
While resuming broodmare duties this spring, Play Peek A Boon will be looking at the Calgary Stampede in July for her next spin in the arena. Burch is an enthusiastic supporter of the World Series program.
“One of the great things about it is that these shows make it worthwhile to bring a horse that’s been semi-retired back, and you don’t have to show them every weekend.
“It would be nice for owners to say, ‘I can’t go every weekend to haul for the World, but I could go to one big cutting a month, and I can plan on it January First.’
“Right now I know I’ll go to Calgary in July, the Congress in October and Kansas City in November. I can make plans ahead of time, put her in a van with other horses and fly to the shows. It doesn’t take me a lot of time away from my business or my ranch, but I can still go show in the most prestigious opens of the year.
“That should appeal to a lot of people. I think it will strengthen our older horse market.
“She takes no preparation. She’s a great horse and what a shame not to see these 4- and 5-year-olds when they’re 8, 9 and 10 and admire them for what they can do.”