Once In A Blu Boon did a lot right to earn a 228 and a much-coveted championship on the floor of Will Rogers Coliseum. With James Payne aboard, the stallion won the Classic/Challenge Open at the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Summer Spectacular on July 18, earning nearly $40,000.
Cutting fans know how hard it is to win a Fort Worth championship, and how things must fall together to pull off a crowd-pleasing run like the one the Once In A Blu Boon made, down to a wicked move just before the buzzer.
“I was ready for the buzzer to sound,” Payne said. “Everybody agreed on the cows, and they were in the right spot, and they were good cows,” said Payne, of Waurika, Okla. “When you force it, it doesn’t work; when you don’t expect it, it works. I just didn’t want to mess it up.”
Payne and the 6-year-old horse (Peptoboonsmal x Autumn Boon x Dual Pep) have several limited-age titles to their credit including the 4-Year-Old Open at both the Arbuckle Mountain Futurity and The Non Pro Plus The Open in 2012, and the 5/6-Year-Old Open at the Arbuckle Mountain Futurity and The Cattlemen’s Derby last year. Earlier this year, they won again at The Cattlemen’s and The Non Pro Plus The Open.
Payne said that where Once In A Blu Boon is in his career makes a rider feel bullet proof and invincible. Not one to gloat, he added a sincere, “It’s fun. I wish I could train them all to do that, but I can’t. He’s the best horse I’ve ever been on.”
Once In A Blu Boon will finish out the year competing, and then continue to breed mares. Owner Jill Freeman, wife of the late Bill Freeman, said the stallion’s first crop arrived this year.
“When this horse was born, Bill went over to look at him and said he could not have made this horse any better out of that stud and mare. His next comment was, ‘Now I have my stud’”, she said. Freeman died two months later.
There was a tie for the Reserve Championship between Fort Worth Pipeline (Cats Merada x Fort Worth Skyline x Mr Skyline Peppy), ridden by R.L. Chartier for Lisa Bankston, and The Boon (Peptoboonsmal x Boon San Kitty x High Brow Cat), ridden by Jesse Lennox for owner Walton’s Rocking W Ranch. Both horses marked a 221.
The NCHA Summer Spectacular continues through Aug. 2. Subscribe to Quarter Horse News for complete coverage of the cutting horse industry.