By Sally Harrison

Kay Floyd
Kay Floyd with Mia Freckles.

Kay Floyd, who in 1976 became the first woman to ever win a championship title in the NCHA Futurity, passed away on Monday, August 17. Floyd, a resident of Stephenville, Tex., had been hospitalized since suffering a heart attack on August 5.

In addition to her ground-breaking win on Mia Freckles in the Non-Pro division of the 1976 NCHA Futurity, Floyd won the 1987 NCHA Futurity Non-Pro title riding Playfulena, making her the first woman to ever win two NCHA Futurity championships.

A member of the NCHA Non-Pro Hall of Fame, Floyd also won the 1988 NCHA Non-Pro World Championship on Playboys Madera. Playfulena and Playboys Madera were both sired by Freckles Playboy, the influential cutting stallion bred by the late Marion Flynt, Midland, Tex., and acquired by Floyd, after Flynt’s death.

Born in Fort Wayne, Ind., Floyd came to Texas in the mid-1960s with Delight Lee, who owned the famous cutting stallion Rey Jay. Floyd stayed in Texas to work at Marion Flynt’s Square Top Three Ranch, home to NCHA world champion Marion’s Girl; Rey Jay, who Flynt had acquired from Delight and Tom Lee; Jewel’s Leo Bars; and Freckles Playboy.

“Kay worked for me for fifteen years,” Flynt told me in 1987. “She didn’t know anything about a cutting horse, but I started her off and she made a good hand. When I sold out, I gave her fifteen or twenty of those horses. (Now) she’s as good a judge of horse flesh as any man.”

It was Floyd, joined by a coalition of other prominent cutting horse breeders, who initiated a lawsuit against the American Quarter Horse Association for limiting the number of foals that could be registered every year from one mare. In June 2002, an out-of-court settlement was reached and AQHA lifted its one foal per year restriction, making it possible for breeders to register all foals produced in the same year from one mare, whether they were conceived by live cover or through embryo transfer.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the American Heart Association, or to the faith-based charity of one’s choice.