Ashley Flynn and LHR Smooth James Rey drew last in the Abilene Spectacular 5/6-Year-Old Non-Pro finals, held Tuesday, Jan. 9 at the Taylor County Expo Center. The cattle were fractious, and that position in the draw is notoriously not the best for handling angsty cows. Still, Flynn and her gelding powered through and marked a 224, winning the Championship and the Gelding title, as well.
“Being last, it’s hard to know exactly what’s going to happen,” Flynn said. “I knew I had a good horse underneath me, but I was surprised. It’s an exciting way to start the new year!
“A lot of people had some tough luck cutting black cows,” she continued of her run. “I just trusted Sean [Flynn] and my brother-in-law Eddie [Flynn] for picking the cows. When I walked down there, he said, ‘There’s plenty of cows left, just listen to what we’re telling you.’”
LHR Smooth James Rey (Dual Rey x LHR Smooth Jamie May x Smooth As A Cat) is the first horse Flynn trained by herself with help from her husband, Sean. The duo tied for the 2015 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Non-Pro Reserve Championship and took third in the Non-Pro at the 2016 NCHA Super Stakes.
“I got him over $100,000 [in earnings] and I was like, OK, we can share him now,” Flynn said of Sean, who also made the 5/6-Year-Old Open finals with the gelding in Abilene.
Flynn and “JR,” who was bred by Lazy H Ranch of Thorp Inc., won a total of $13,970 between their two titles on Tuesday, elevating the gelding’s earnings to more than $127,000. Flynn’s stand at $568,543. She plans to keep showing JR for the rest of his 6-year-old year.
“He’s a lot more like his mom [than his sire],” Flynn said. “He’s really a sweet, loving horse that doesn’t want to do bad. He’s like my little best friend. We don’t usually keep them this long, but he’s paid his way and some of the others’ ways for me, so if he can do that for us, we’re going to keep him.
“Madison, our daughter, is begging us to keep him so she can show him next year,” she continued. “She’s always liked him and she’s begged me to let her get him ready. He takes a lot of riding. Madison’s 12, and sometimes she gets to talking. I’m pretty OCD and a perfectionist, and I want it done right. I told her when you start listening to me, I’ll be happy to let you get him ready!”