Lady Eldorado & Bob Loomis. • Photo by Waltenberry

In the Past: The Best-Laid Plans

It has been nearly 39 years since Bob Loomis, of Marietta, Oklahoma, and Lady El Dorado, pictured in 1979 at a Wisconsin Quarter Horse Association State Show reining, won the 1978 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity Open Championship.

Darryl and Arlene Keener, of Olmitz, Kansas, brought Lady El Dorado (Doc’s El Dorado x Birthday’s Lady x Poco Birthday) to Loomis to train, and Loomis was hooked from the start. He thought the pretty palomino mare was the sweetest horse and could do no wrong.

But the six-time NRHA Futurity Champion rider had other plans for the mare besides competing at the NRHA’s most prestigious event. Determined to make a cow horse out of her, he purchased some cattle and set his goal on taking the mare to the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit Futurity.

Everything seemed to fall into place, as Lady El Dorado showed a lot of promise in becoming a tremendous snaffle bit horse. Halfway into her 3-year-old year, though, “Lady” surpassed Loomis’ reining prospects’ abilities, so the competitive trainer reconsidered his original plan. Did he want to go ahead and show the mare in an event he’d never competed in, or would it be wiser to pay her up in the NRHA Futurity, an event he’d won before?

The first time Loomis showed Lady, he knew he made the right decision entering her in the NRHA Futurity. She not only won the Nebraska State Fair reining class but also revealed her best asset – her big heart. The mare tried even harder in the show pen than she did in the practice pen at home.

Following their 1978 NRHA Futurity victory, Loomis and Lady continued to beat a path to the pay window as they won a Reining Maturity at the Quarterama in Toronto, Canada, a number of NRHA Open championships and finished third in the Junior Reining at the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) World Show.

In 1980, Lady carried the Keeners’ daughter, Dalena, to an AQHA Youth Reining World title. Following that show, Loomis purchased the mare and took her home, where she remained for the rest of her life.

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