Thirty years ago, Kathy Daughn, a 26-year-old Californian cowgirl at the time, set a record as the youngest person (and only the second woman) to win the coveted National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Open Championship. Carrying her to the winner’s circle was The Gemnist, who was only the third gelding to win the title.
The Gemnist (Doc Bar Gem x Miss Fancy Zan x Black Gold Zan), bred by Jim and Mary Jo Milner, of Southlake, Texas, beat 511 other horses to claim the 1985 NCHA Futurity Open Championship. The victory was worth $294,740 for owners Harland and Kris Radomske, of Venture Farms in Ellensburg, Washington, who also owned Doc Bar Gem.
Daughn’s stategy was well planned and executed. Knowing The Gemnist was capable of qualifying for the finals, she rode conservatively and played it safe during the go-rounds on her quest to get to the moment of truth. She split fourth place in the first go with a 218, split 12th in the second go with a 215, then split fifth in the semifinals with a 215.5.
When the big money was on the line, Daughn and The Gemnist claimed the crown jewel with a finals score of 221.5. The Gemnist did only what was necessary to control the cows. There were no extra fancy dance moves; the gelding kept low to the ground, eyeball-to-eyeball with his adversary, and simply played the game better than the rest.
Click here to return to the QHN Insider Current Edition
Did you miss a story, photo or stat in a previous Insider, or do you just want to revisit a particular column you enjoyed? Click here to visit the QHN Insider Archive.