Lance Cooper just might have it figured out when it comes to being in his “zen” – at least with his mare, Zen And Tonic. He and the mare rode to their second win of the year in the 4-Year-Old Non-Pro at the Arbuckle Mountain Futurity on Feb. 24.
One definition of “zen” is a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind. Cooper said Zen And Tonic (by High Brow CD) seems to be coming into her own, even though she was still well on her way last December.
“We bought her for the [National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA)] Futurity because she was so quick and easy, even then,” said the soft-spoken 17-year-old. “She’s really smart on a cow, but it just seems like the more I ride her, the better she gets.”
The duo rode into the herd as the second team to go, and all Cooper had on his mind was making a clean run.
“The cattle were really tough all week,” he said. “The weather was terrible. It was either sleeting or raining most of the time, and I think that really affected them. So, all I wanted to do was go in and ride clean. There was really nothing special about it. It just worked out.”
Work out it did, as for the second time, “Snickers” showed her overall togetherness by scoring a 222 for the win, with Cooper adding $14,000 to her lifetime earnings of more than $50,000. All of that the son of professional Michael Cooper has earned himself.
Since the beginning of the year, Lance and the dark bay mare have pocketed more than $28,000. They took the win in the Non-Pro at the Abilene Spectacular, earning $10,000, then traveled to The Ike where they settled for fifth and a check close to $4,000. Circling back to Texas for the Bonanza, the duo got close to the top of the board, winning Reserve and almost $11,000.
Zen And Tonic is the highest-earning offspring out of Dual Citizen (by Dual Pep), an earner of $61,819 with produce earnings of more than $101,000.
“I am so comfortable on this horse,” said the Weatherford, Texas youth. “With her, I feel like I can do anything.”
Cooper will be looking for an older horse to ride in youth competition and qualify for the Youth World Finals, but in the meantime, this young duo will have plenty to say in the winner’s circle.
Chad Bushaw and Snappcat (High Brow Cat x Badgers Playdough x Playdox), also of Weatherford, bagged the Reserve Championship with a score of 217 and a check worth $11,559, bringing the chestnut mare’s record to more than $25,000.
5/6-Year-Old Non-Pro continued on page 2