The cutting industry lost a special horse on Wednesday, Aug. 5, when Oh Cay Felix was euthanized after he colicked. The standout cutting performer was more than just a show horse – to owners Pat and Laura Collins, he was a once-in-a-lifetime gelding.
Oh Cay Felix was an early product of the Collinses’ Three Hills Ranch breeding program in Lincoln, Illinois. The 2003 gelding son of High Brow Cat was out of the family’s mare Oh Cay Shorty (Shorty Lena x Oh Cay San x Peppy San), who is an Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Dam and ranked among the top 15 cutting dams of all time. The couple’s son, Quinn Collins, started him as a 2-year-old.
“Then we sent ‘Felix’ to Craig Thompson in Buffalo, Texas,” Laura Collins said. “In January of Felix’s 3-year-old year, Craig told Pat that Felix was going to take us places we had never imagined going.”
Thompson, an Equi-Stat Elite $2 Million Rider, could not have been more accurate. The gelding carried his trainer to the Open finals at the 2006 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity, an accomplishment that would keep most amateurs out of the saddle for the duration of the show.
“Craig insisted Pat show Felix too,” Collins said, thanking the trainer for his wisdom and hard work with the horse. “[It’s] one of the things Pat will always appreciate.”
When Pat and Felix walked to the herd in the Futurity Amateur finals, they stole the show with a 222 and won the class. The $13,157 paycheck paled in comparison to the excitement Pat felt, but Felix’s job was far from finished. He returned stronger than ever in the Open finals to mark a smooth 227 with Thompson in the saddle, earning the $250,000 championship.
With two Futurity titles to his credit, there wasn’t much left for Felix to prove, but that didn’t stand in the gelding’s way. He continued to compete with Thompson and Pat, performing well in Open, Non-Pro and Amateur competition, and in 2011, Collins also climbed in the saddle to start showing the horse. Felix finished his career in the fall of 2014 with an impressive $464,685 Equi-Stat record.
“Oh Cay Felix was a pleasure to own, ride, show and take care of,” Collins said, emphasizing how special the gelding’s love of people and other horses was. “[He] was a gift that Pat and I will appreciate forever.”