When Billy and Michelle Cannon, of Cannon Quarter Horses, hosted an open house at their new facility in Waxahachie, Texas, I was happy to be the Quarter Horse News (QHN) team member to attend. It was a chance to see the Cannons’ National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Sales consignments and ogle at the broodmares that produce their great performance horses. And let’s be serious – there were refreshments. Who doesn’t jump at the opportunity for free food?
Cannon Quarter Horses is nestled back off of Highway 287, but it quickly catches the eyes of passersby from where it sits, serenely at the top of a hill. The barn is welcoming and has a home-like feel, but more importantly, it seems functional. Several unique designs caught my attention, which got me thinking forward to our June 15 issue next year. It’s all about real estate and ranch management, and this barn was overflowing with story ideas.
As I made my way into the barn, I immediately noticed Lil Lena Long Legs. I felt a little tingle as I walked up to her stall; I just love meeting great performance horses that have gone on to be great producers. She may be 13, but that mare knows she’s hot stuff. I would say she certainly carries herself with pride.
According to Equi-Stat, Lil Lena Long Legs (Smart Little Lena x Lil Lucy Long Legs x Dual Pep) earned almost $200,000 in the cutting pen, and her offspring earnings total more than $380,000. She was shown by Shannon Hall for breeder Kickapoo Farms LLC, then Phil and Mary Ann Rapp purchased her and showed her in the Open and Non-Pro. Among her many achievements is the 2006 NCHA Super Stakes Open Reserve Championship.
I started working for QHN in 2011, and conveniently, that’s the year Lil Lena Long Legs’ leading money-earner debuted. Cat Belue (by High Brow Cat) carried Grant Setnicka, who I’ve watched become an Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Rider, to his first NCHA Futurity Open finals that year. The stallion continued to rake in the paychecks until 2014, and his lifetime earnings now total more than $190,000!
But the greatest part of mares like Lil Lena Long Legs, who are still producing the champions of the future, is getting to see babies! I have a soft spot for foals’ fuzzy noses, and the Lil Lena Long Legs weanling Michelle plans to keep this season was happy to give me kisses. In just a few years time, I’m sure I’ll see that baby in the performance arena and look back on that day with a smile.
Kelsey Pecsek is the managing editor for Quarter Horse News. The multiple American Horse Publications Award winner began working for QHN in 2011 after graduating with honors from Virginia Tech. Kelsey enjoys showing her 24-year-old American Paint Horse “Lucky” in speed events at breed shows, and the team won the 2015 APHA Novice Amateur Pole Bending Reserve World Championship. With a background in reining and cutting, she hopes to continue her involvement in the Western performance horse industry for years to come.