CD Olena, ranked #3 among all-time leading living sires of money earners, died last week at the age of 19.

“He was okay at ten on Thursday night and on Friday morning (August 6), we found him peacefully lying in his stall dead,” said David Hartman, DVM, who had leased CD Olena from Bobby Pidgeon last year to stand at Hartman’s Equine Reproduction Center in Whitesboro, Texas.

“He seemed in good health and was still very fertile. It was a horribly sad day here. I had become very fond of the horse and was looking forward to many more years with him.”

Dr. Fairfield Bain of Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery in Weatherford, Texas performed the autopsy and determined the cause of death as an aortic aneurysm.

Although an accomplished horseman, Bobby Pidgeon was relatively new to the sport of cutting in 1998, when he purchased CD Olena’s dam, CD Chica San Badger, from Sheila Welch, who had shown the Peppy San Badger daughter to win the 1987 Augusta Non-Pro Futurity and as a finalist in other major events.

Pidgeon showed CD Chica San Badger to place third in the 1989 Bonanza Non-Pro Classic, the same event where he qualified his newly acquired colt Dual Pep for the non-pro finals and where Pat Earnheart showed the Peppy San Badger son to win the open division.

By the time he was retired in 1991, Dual Pep had racked up an impressive record of 38 major finals; five open championships; three non-pro championships; and over $300,000 in earnings.

That same year, CD Chica San Badger, now retired with earnings of more than $200,000, delivered her first foal, CD Olena, a sorrel colt by Doc O’Lena, and Bobby Pidgeon established Bar H Ranche in Weatherford, Texas. Bar H would soon take it’s place as cutting’s foremost breeding and training center through the progeny of Dual Pep and CD Olena, and the efforts of brothers Winston and Paul Hansma.

“Neither of us could have imagined the success we’ve had, when we came down from Canada,” said Winston, a native Canadian who was 37 in 1991 (Paul was 31).

CD Olena’s talents didn’t take long to surface, when Winston Hansma started him on cattle.

“He was an amazing two-year-old,” said Hansma. “I don’t think I’ve ever had one that did as much in the fall of his two-year-old year and really enjoyed his job. I knew at that point that he was pretty special.”

CD Olena won the 1994 NCHA Futurity with 225 points – six and a half points more than reserve champion Hickorys Candy Man – and the NCHA Derby with 225 points. He also won the semi-finals of the NCHA Super Stakes with 225 points and placed fifth in the finals, where two cows paired up in a cut and valuable working time ticked off the clock.

“CD was always a kind of ‘bright lights’ horse,” said Hansma of the 1995 NCHA Horse of the Year. “He seemed to know when he should step it up to another level and he always picked that time during the finals in Fort Worth.

“After he won the Futurity, it was like he knew he was a champion. He knew from that day on that he was above all the rest of the horses and he’d come out of his stall looking to take on the world.

“He was always a gentleman – never mean – just full of himself. Proud of himself.”

CD Olena’s value as a sire was apparent with his first two crops (foals of 1996 and 1997), which included Cappuccino And Pasta, CD Date, Classical CD, Playin CDs and Sweet Little CD, all $100,000-plus earners.

Pale Face Jose, a 1999 foal and earner of over $200,000, was the first of a long line of performers to highlight the brilliance of CD Olena crossed on Dual Pep daughters. Soon it became apparent that CD Olena’s daughters were also outstanding producers. Quintan Blue, $609,140; High Brow CD, $541,345; Pet Squirrel, $389,160; Bob Dualin, $217,981; Mocha Cappuccino, $205,002 head a long list of accomplished performers out of CD Olena daughters.

CD Olena sons are also proving themselves as sires, most notably CD Lights, 2006 NCHA World Champion Stallion and recent leading freshman sire, bred and owned by Winston Hansma and Danny Motes, and CD Royal, bred and owned by Russ and Janet Westfall.

CD Olena is also the sire of cutting’s #2 active money earner, Sister CD with $804,533.

CD Olena was buried on a grassy knoll in front of the Bar H Ranche arena where he and so many of his sons and daughters were started on cattle.

“Nothing lasts forever,” said Hansma. “It’s sad that the whole (Bar H Ranche) program is done now. But with CD Olena gone and Dual Pep not breeding anymore, that’s kind of the end of the story. Bobby always said that his commitment to Bar H was as long as Dual Pep was breeding. And it all came to an end at the same time.”

But the end of one chapter leads to the beginning of another. Paul Hansma has leased Bar H Ranche to operate as his training facility; CD Lights is proving to be a leading performance sire for Winston Hansma; Dr. Hartman has an ample supply of CD Olena’s frozen semen; and all the owners of CD Olena daughters will now hold them even more dear.