Hes A Peptospoonful, a top sire of cutting horses, owned by David and Stacie McDavid of Fort Worth, died on Wednesday, February 8, at Tin Top Stallion Station, Weatherford, Tex.

“We are absolutely devastated,” said David McDavid. “This was so unexpected. He was in perfect health and getting ready for a great breeding season. It’s a brutal loss.”

The 14-year-old roan stallion had spent a typical day in his spacious paddock where, according to McDavid, he enjoyed romping with his companions, a barn dog and a pet pig. He ate with usual relish that evening, but was found dead at 7:15 p.m. with the stall shavings undisturbed. His body was sent to Texas A & M on Thursday for an autopsy to determine the cause of his death.

“Even though this is a business, he was like a pet to us,” said Stacie McDavid. “We were very blessed to have him and will probably never have another one like him.”

David and Stacie McDavid

The McDavids purchased Hes A Peptospoonful from Californian Dave Miller during the 2001 NCHA Futurity, where the diminutive stallion captured fans with his gritty, winning performances under Brad Vaughn in the open go-rounds and semi-finals.

Stacie McDavid showed the stallion as non-pro champion of the Suncoast Winter Futurity in Las Vegas, a few months after the NCHA Futurity, and remembered people reaching out to touch Hes A Peptospoonful, as she rode into the arena.

“People just loved him and he loved them, especially children,” she recalled. “One of my fondest memories is watching how gently he responded to a specially challenged youngster who was petting him at last year’s Futurity.” The silvery, strawberry roan was always a popular attraction on Stallion Alley during the NCHA Futurity.

Hes A Peptospoonful sired six crops of foals through 2011, with offspring earnings of $3.4 million, including four performers each of which earned more than $200,000, and seven who earned $100,000 or more.

“This was shaping up to be a great year for Hes A Peptospoonful’s show horses and for this breeding season,” said longtime McDavid associate Tony Langdon, who negotiated the stallion’s purchase in 2001. “It is a devastating loss.”

Hes A Peptospoonful’s recent young stars include A Spoonful Short, champion of last week’s Tunica Non-Pro Futurity with former NCHA Futurity champion Kelle Earnheart, and Spoons Lil Buckaroo, co-reserve champion of the Augusta Futurity, on January 28, with Dirk Blakesley for owner Shawn Ogni.

The McDavids, both non-pro cutting competitors, also stand Widows Freckles and Hickorys Indian Pep at their Tin Top Stallion Station.