Just one look 12 years ago convinced Norda Berger that she wanted to buy High Classed Model. Little did she know the mare would eventually produce a Breeder’s Invitational Classic/Challenge Amateur Champion. This year, High Classed Hottie carried Berger to a 224 for the win.
“When I saw ‘Christie,’ I wanted to buy her, just because of the color,” said the 63-year-old Simonton, Texas, resident about High Classed Model. “I just love red duns.”
In addition to Berger’s BI Classic/Challenge Amateur win and $9,033 payday with Christie’s homebred son, “Hottie,” the duo also placed eighth in the Classic/Challenge Unlimited Amateur finals. High Classed Hottie, who is sired by Spots Hot, and trainer Wes Galyean also tied for 10th in the Classic Open finals on May 14. Altogether, the horse earned $19,266 at the show, sailing past the $100,000 mark in career cutting earnings.
As for “Hottie’s” mother, the 12-year-old red dun mare Berger bought as a weanling, she boasts an offspring record of nearly $150,000. Berger’s friend Shelly Mowery was taking care of the then 3-month-old filly, still at the side of a recipient mare, when she advised Berger it was worth taking a look at the young filly, by popular reining sire Gallo Del Cielo and out of the High Brow Hickory mare Highly Insured.
Berger, who was new to cutting at the time, made an offer to buy the filly after her initial visit. Celina, Texas, trainer Punk Carter helped complete the High Classed Model sale from her original owner and breeder, model and actress Christie Brinkley. Berger, her husband, Jim, and other handlers still refer to the mare by the barn name Christie.
Berger bought High Classed Model based on her looks, but she said she also thought the mare looked like she’d compete well as a cutter – which she did. High Classed Model went on to earn $86,947 for the Bergers before she became a full-time mom.
High Classed Hottie is just her mother’s second foal to compete as a cutter. The first, a homebred 8-year-old gelding still owned by the Bergers, High Classed JPB, has earned $35,527 as a cutter so far. Christie has four other foals on the ground, including Berger’s 2013 NCHA Futurity prospect, High Class Covergirl, by Spots Hot.
Brinkley bred one other money-earning cutting horse, which was purchased by Wilbur Rimes, father of country singer LeeAnn Rimes. The 1997 gray stallion was named Rimes Like Blue, after Rimes’ first hit song in the mid-1990s, “Blue.” That horse earned $92.
Berger has received several offers from people wanting to buy High Classed Model and her response is always the same: “I will never get rid of her.”