InthePast TRT01 LittleBadgerDulce PBranch 93TJ

In the Past: NCHA Horse of the Year

InthePast TRT01 LittleBadgerDulce PBranch 93TJLittle Badger Dulce (pictured at the 1993 NCHA Super Stakes with trainer Pete Branch) passed away in August of this year at the age of 26. She will be remembered for her numerous achievements inside and outside of the show pen. • Photo by Teresa Jett

In 1992, Pete Branch, now an Equi-Stat Elite $3 Million Rider, rode Little Badger Dulce to a second-place finish in the NCHA Futurity Open finals. The pair started the 1993 show season with a 4-Year-Old Open win at the Abilene Spectacular.

They continued to visit the winner’s circle throughout the year, earning championship titles at such major aged events as the Bonanza Cutting, Chisholm Trail Derby, Abilene Summer Spectacular, Congress Spring Spectacular and Steamboat Springs Derby. “Dulce” accumulated $154,337 in earnings that year, with a show season that ended just as exciting as it began when the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) awarded the athletic and cow-smart mare its first Horse of the Year title.

Bred by King Ranch Inc., of Kingsville, Texas, and owned by Lonnie and Barbara Allsup, of Clovis, New Mexico, Dulce (Peppy San Badger x Sandia Dulce x Doc Bar) is one of the industry’s top 10 cutting horses of all time, with $668,461 in lifetime earnings.

Before her performance career ended in 1998, Dulce carried Branch to two NCHA Open Reserve World championships and Lonnie Allsup to the 1996 NCHA Non-Pro World Championship.

Dulce’s offspring appear to have picked up right where their legendary dam left off. Her 17-year-old son Dulces Smart Lena, by Smart Little Lena, has lifetime earnings of $176,000, and his progeny have won more than $1.2 million. Dulce’s daughter, Sugar N Dulce (by Smart Lil Ricochet), won a mere $12,667 in the show pen, but her son Kit Kat Sugar has lifetime earnings of $249,000 and was named NCHA Open Horse of the Year in 2012. 

Dulce passed away in August 2015. Her ashes were placed at the base of a life-size bronze statue of the mare at the Allsups’ Stephenville, Texas, ranch.

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