Shareholders in the Smart Little Lena Syndicate received e-mail notices today from Robin Levison, the syndicate’s secretary, stating the horse’s longtime veterinarian, Dr. John McCarroll, Equine Medical Associates, had examined the horse. The veterinarian decided to euthanize Smart Little Lena so the horse would not suffer.
Tommy Manion boarded Smart Little Lena during most of his life. He said it was a sad day at Manion Ranch, adding the 1979 stallion had not been himself for a few days. “For about the last week, he’d been having a little problem with his balance,” Manion said. “Then this morning [Aug. 30] he just apparently suffered a stroke. We immediately called Dr. McCarroll. He’s always been his attending veterinarian. He came up and did everything he could for him. He thought it was definitely irreversible.”
Asked about Smart Little Lena’s place in history, Manion said, “I think he created an indelible image in our industry. He sired champion reining horses, champion cutting horses, champion working cow horses. And I don’t think anyone will dispute the fact that he’ll go down as the greatest broodmare sire there’s ever been.”
Smart Little Lena (Doc O’Lena x Smart Peppy x Peppy San), bred by Hanes Chatham, Pilot Point, Texas, also carried his career-long trainer and rider, the late Bill Freeman, Rosston, Texas, to the first Triple Crown in National Cutting Horse Assocation history in 1982 and 1983. Smart Little Lena earned $743,275 as a cutter, No. 4, all-time according to Equi-Stat records. He still holds the record for most money earned as a 3- and 4-year-old cutter, $643,275 and he ranks as cutting's No. 2 all-time sire.