After a nearly three-month battle with complications from founder in both front feet, cutting performer Nievas was laid to rest on Saturday, Aug. 22. The 8-year-old mare left behind an impressive $361,877 Equi-Stat record, but the void she left in the Dufurrena family’s barn in Gainesville, Texas, is much bigger.
“From the time she was a baby, maybe 1 week old, she’d always been special,” said Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Rider Ed Dufurrena, who bred Nievas and showed her to $56,143 in cutting pens. “She had a human-like thought process from day one, and she always wanted to be a part of what you were doing.”
Nievas (by Cats Merada) quickly secured her place in the Dufurrenas’ hearts. She was out of Smart Little Boogie, a 1997 EG Southern Dancer mare that jumpstarted Ed’s professional training career.
“If that mare would have never cut, if she would have never worked a cow, her mentality was so special that we would’ve still had her forever,” he said. But fortunately for the Dufurrenas, Nievas did excel as a cutting horse, and quickly. “I think by April or May of her 2-year-old year, she was trained. She was as good then as she ever got.”
In 2011, Nievas competed in the Open and Non-Pro with Ed and his son, Brandon Dufurrena, respectively. After garnering $52,286 as a 4-year-old, the mare really came into her own as a competitor. In March 2012, she and Brandon finished third in the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Super Stakes Classic Non-Pro, closely followed by a win in the Special 5 Non-Pro at the Breeder’s Invitational. She went on to earn championships at several limited-age events that fall, and also helped Brandon secure the 2012 NCHA Non-Pro World Championship when they teamed up to win $25,347 at the World Finals.
“Nievas taught me a lot about patience, as far as working a cow. She was always so smart, and she taught me to read a cow and not let it beat you,” Brandon said of the mare. “There ain’t one day that will go by that I will not think about her. Her charisma was next to none. When Nievas was born, my mom [Shona Dufurrena] called that mare her perfect pony, and she still does. She was like a sister to me.”