Losing a Legend: Little Badger Dulce

Dulces Smart Lena (by Smart Little Lena) is the most successful show horse the Allsups have bred out of their matriarch mare, and the 17-year-old stallion, whose lifetime earnings exceed $176,000, is passing his dam’s genetics on to his own foals. As of early August, Dulces Smart Lena’s progeny had amassed more than $1.2 million.

“But I’d have to say that Sugar N Dulce has been her best because she’s produced that third generation [on the maternal side],” Branch said.

Sugar N Dulce, a 14-year-old Allsup homebred mare by Smart Lil Ricochet, earned merely $12,667 in her own career, but when it came time to produce a champion, she held nothing back. In 2008, the mare gave birth to a sorrel colt that was “the total package.” The Allsups called the stallion Kit Kat Sugar, and he was named the NCHA Open Horse of the Year in 2012. He finished his career with more than $249,000 to his credit.

“To come back and have one of her fillies produce ‘Skeet’ [Kit Kat Sugar] just makes it all the more special,” said Branch, a 45-year industry veteran. “He is more like Dulce than any of the others, and while he could do more physically than she could, Dulce is still the smartest horse I ever rode.

“She had tons of integrity,” he continued. “She gave it all she had, every time, no matter what.”

Dulce’s ashes will be placed on the Allsups’ Stephenville, Texas, ranch at the base of the mare’s life-size bronze statue. The mare’s last foal is a yearling stud colt by One Time Royalty, but with maternal granddam earnings of more than $600,000, it isn’t likely that the cutting industry has seen the last of the Little Badger Dulce name.