Michael Cooper and Zen And Tonic, pictured at the 2017 NCHA Futurity • Photo by Hart Photos

Cooper and Zen And Tonic Continue Good Karma at Abilene Spectacular

At the 2017 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity, Lance Cooper rode his new horse, Zen And Tonic, to the Limited Non-Pro Co-Championship. They rolled that success over into 2018, winning the Abilene Spectacular 4-Year-Old Non-Pro Championship with a 222 – the same score they marked at the Futurity. It was a great birthday gift for the high school junior, who turned 17 in December.

“It’s awesome. She’s just a good horse,” Cooper said. “I feel like we’re more comfortable. My dad’s trained her some now since we’ve had her a little bit longer, and it’s just working out better. She feels like one of my dad’s horses now.”

Cooper’s dad, Equi-Stat Elite $3 Million Rider Michael, competed in the Open with Catarism RG, and the duo tied for the Reserve Championship. Afterward, he and Cooper went home to Weatherford, Texas, for a day and a half, then Michael decided to stay there.

“He worked her in the morning, and I drove up here,” Cooper said. “I had Beau Galyean and Casey Green help me. I also had to note cattle and everything.

“I just tried to show my horse and just go as consistent as could be,” he continued. “The cows weren’t very good [in the go-rounds], so I was just trying to make clean and slow runs.”

The strategy worked, as Zen And Tonic and Cooper topped the first go with a 219. Their 215 in the second go gave them a combined score of 434, putting them second going into the clean slate finals. Agreeable cattle in the finals helped give the duo the edge they needed to win the $10,000 paycheck, along with the Limited Non-Pro title, which came with $1,432.

“It was pretty simple, let’s just put it that way,” Cooper said of his finals run. “The cows literally cut themselves.

“I just want to thank my help – Casey Green, Sean Flynn, Beau Galyean and Tarin Rice,” he continued. “Tarin actually had to leave after the second go, so I had Clay Johnson help me. And I brought a loper – she loped her at the Futurity. [Mikayla Sabine] came and got her ready for me.”

Cooper and Zen And Tonic (High Brow CD x Dual Citizen x Dual Pep) will likely next hit up The Ike Derby & Classic. He is thrilled with the way his horse is working out so far.

“She’s the nicest horse to ever be around,” he said. “She’s so easy; she doesn’t take much work at all. I’m just looking this year to have her to show and just have a fun year. I’m not trying to do anything special; I’m just trying to show my horse and have fun.”

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