Circle Y Ranch Buys Im Countin Checks

Im Countin Checks & Matt Gaines
After buying 2004 National Cutting Horse Association Horse of the Year Boon San Kitty and her full sister, RW Sally Cat, back in early March, Circle Y Ranch, Aubrey, Texas, picked up stallion standout Im Countin Checks a couple of weeks later.

The 2002 stallion (Smart Lil Ricochet x Autumn Boon x Dual Pep), a career cutting earner $514,757, including $196,319 and Championships with three riders – Matt Gaines, Tim Smith and Kyle Manion – as a 6-year-old, will change barns in July.

Im Countin Checks finished second in the 2008 NCHA Horse of the Year race.

Im Countin Checks, will stay through the breeding season at ESMS on the Brazos in Weatherford, Texas, according to Tommy Manion, father and business partner of the horse’s prior owner Kyle Manion, Aubrey, Texas.

In July, Im Countin Checks will join an increasingly prominent new cutting horse family. Circle Y Ranch, already recognized for its steady success in the reined cow horse world, recently bought 2000 mare Boon San Kitty (High Brow Cat x Boon San Sally x Boon Bar), a career cutting earner of $555,504, and her full sister RW Sallycat, another 2000 mare who earned $143,731 as a cutter. Alice Walton’s Rockin W Ranch, Mineral Wells, Texas, had owned both mares.

Circle Y Ranch owner Penny Youngblood and associate ranch manager Nancy Pearce visited their neighboring ranch in Aubrey, Texas, to look at several daughters sired by another highly successful Manion Ranch stallion, Smooth As A Cat (High Brow Cat x Shes Pretty Smooth x Wheeling Peppy). During the visit, they also observed several foals sired by Im Countin Checks.

“The buying or selling of Im Countin Checks never came up,” Manion recalled. “The next day, they called me, actually Jim Ware [a longtime horse sales expert and consultant] called me for them, and asked if I’d consider selling Im Countin Checks. They really liked the foals, and that got them to thinking about him.”

Pearce confirmed she and Youngblood’s game plan changed after the visit. “Penny and I both just went bonkers over those ‘Checkers’ [Im Countin Check’s nickname] babies out of those Smoooth As A Cat mares. They were just so special looking. The wheels started turning in our heads. All of the foals were very consistent in confirmation and the way they were marked. They were awesome.”

Im Countin Checks is the first high-profile cutting stallion the ranch has bought. “Checkers” first full foal crop features many 3-year-olds that will compete at this year’s NCHA Futurity and other late summer to mid-fall futurities, and “there are some outstanding ones out there,” Manion said. Circle Y Ranch, which owns a couple of young prospects in training, but currently no competing cutters, might consider buying a 3-year-old this year, Pearce said.

Since Boon San Kitty, mother of 2009 NCHA Futurity Open Champion Rockin W, and her full sister RW Sallycat are both High Brow Cat mares, Im Countin Checks provides an outstanding breeding cross, Manion said. He’s also glad to see one of he and Kyle’s favorite horses relocate to a home where he’ll have a shot to excel.

“He’s just been a really exciting horse for us,” Manion said. “They [Youngblood, Pearce and the Circle Y crew] are wonderful people. They are really excited about getting more involved in the cutting business than they had been.”

Youngblood, owner/manager of Circle Y Ranch, heads a program her late father, J. Lee Youngblood, started in 1979, and it had focused more on raising and training reined cow horses until recently. Youngblood, 69, and Pearce, 57, decided to invest more heavily in cutting horses largely because both want to compete as cutters. Both plan to compete at cutting events in the near future, Pearce said.