“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.”
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.