Going into the Bonanza Cutting, Tatum Rice wanted some perspective on how to get top-caliber cutter Hashtags back into the elite form he displayed while racking up Open Derby championships in 2017. He knew exactly who to ask.
Rice, of Weatherford, Texas, turned to friend and long-time herd helper, R.L. Chartier. Together, they worked with the blue roan stallion the week of the Bonanza Cutting.
Although Hashtags had kicked off the year by making the finals at the Abilene Spectacular, and followed that up with the Augusta Futurity 5/6-Year-Old Classic Open Reserve Championship, Rice said he went back to the drawing board more than he normally would after the horse didn’t make the finals at The Ike Derby and Classic. It was the first time the earner of nearly $300,000 had missed an aged-event finals.
“Those really good horses, the cow means so much to them they’ll just get a little bit worried about it sometimes,” Rice explained.
That’s when he turned to Chartier.
“He worked my horse once, and it kind of helps me sometimes, if they’re not working as well as they should be, to see someone else work them,” said Rice, an Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Rider. “He worked him and he did a good job and I saw a couple things that I wanted to kind of address when I worked him.”
Teamwork did the trick. Rice and Hashtags – with Chartier, as usual, among Rice’s helpers in the pen – won Saturday’s Bonanza Cutting 5/6-Year-Old Open Championship with a 223. Reserve Champions Cattys Hope (Catty Hawk x Tornados Rey Of Hope x Dual Rey) and Michael Cooper were a point back with a 222.
In addition to the help from his friend, Chartier, Rice credited his wife, Kylie, as being an instrumental part of Hashtags’ success.
“She always prepares ‘Tag’ for the shows and keeps him healthy,” he said. “And, [she] does a great job.”
Last year, Rice and the son of Metallic Cat won the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Super Stakes Open Championship, as well as Derby Open championships at the West Texas Futurity, Idaho Cutting Horse Association Futurity & Aged Event and the El Rancho Futurity & Foothill Fiesta. He capped off the year as runner up in the race for 2017 NCHA Open Horse Of The Year.
Rice believes it’s the horse’s cowiness and strength sets him apart from other horses. Although he’s ridden horses that were as cowy as Hashtags – he said 2017 NCHA Reserve World Champion Eazee E and Jennifer and Jeffrey Foland’s $196,000-earner Shes Twice As Smooth are two that come to mind – Rice said no horse he’s ridden has possessed that same special combination as Hashtags.
“I’ve never had one that was as cowy and as strong as he is,” he said. “If you were to ask me what I would change about him, I don’t know what the answer would be.
“He’s just strong and he moves good and he’s just so cowy and tries so hard. I’ve never really had him get in a spot where I felt like he couldn’t get out of.”
The Bonanza Cutting win earned $20,870 for owners Hashtags Ventures LP. The stallion out of Dual Rey Tag (by Dual Rey) was bred by Jim Haworth of South West City, Missouri.
Hashtags will be pointed next for the Mercuria/NCHA World Series of Cutting at the Mane Event V show, which starts next week at the South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Future events may include the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, Cattlemen’s Classic & Derby and a return appearance at the NCHA Super Stakes.
For more news and information from the Western performance horse industry, subscribe to Quarter Horse News.