Champion cutter, reiner and standout sire Smart Chic Olena was hailed for his versatility and trainability during the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Hall of Fame ceremony held recently in Jacksonville, Florida.
The late 1985 stallion (Smart Little Lena x Gay Bar Sugar x Gay Bar King) was one of five horses and six people honored by the association during its annual convention.
The Western performance horse industry also was represented in this year’s class by Dr. Tom Lenz, former resident veterinarian at L.A. Waters Quarter Horses, ranchers Georga and Raymond Sutton, and breeder Robert Sutherland, of Overland Park, Kansas.
Smart Chic Olena’s Hall of Fame plaque was accepted by Tiffiny Bond, who along with her husband, Trevor, bought the late stallion, his frozen semen and all breeding rights in 2015. The stallion, who died in 2012, was owned by Jim Babcock at the time of his death.
“Everybody who was involved, we thank you for never, ever giving up on this horse,” Bond told the audience. “Trevor and I also would like to acknowledge that him nor I had nothing to do with the greatness of this horse. He was a legend long before we ever bought him, and we had nothing to do with that. We just preserved his legacy and we’re focused on the future of that legacy and tonight is about celebrating that legacy.”
Bond asked Pete Kyle, the director of shows and judges for AQHA, to join her at the podium and share some thoughts on the great horse.
“This horse is just an incredible animal and is everything that we want in our American Quarter Horse. He is so athletic, so good minded and talented, that he brings the best of everything and that’s what he proved with his show record and how he was in the show pen,” Kyle said. “There was nothing that they didn’t ask him to do that he didn’t do.”
Smart Chic Olena is still the only horse to earn AQHA World championships in Senior Cutting and Senior Reining. He compiled an Equi-Stat record of $128,964.
The stallion bred by Emily Woodall, of Dallas, Texas, sired the winners of more than $13.7 million, fathering many outstanding performers in reining, working cow horse and cutting.
Smart Chic Olena’s leading earners are National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity Open Champion Smart Spook ($405,650, out of Sugarplum Spook, by Grays Starlight) and two-time AQHA World Champion Olena Oak (out of Fritzs Oak E Doakie, by Doc’s Oak), who is the highest-earning reined cow horse in history.
Other horses inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame this year were the Thoroughbred racemare Maroon and racehorse and stallions Otoe, Runaway Winner and The Ole Man.
Dr. Tom Lenz
As the resident veterinarian for L.A. Waters Quarter Horses, in Utopia, Texas, Dr. Tom Lenz worked on legendary Western performance stallions Colonel Freckles (Jewel’s Leo Bars x Christy Jay x Rey Jay) and Boon Bar (Doc Bar x Teresa Tivio x Poco Tivio).
Although he originally dreamed of becoming a cattle veterinarian, Lenz was happy that he switched career paths to focus on horses.
“I’ve had a wonderful life in the care of horses,” he said at the ceremony, thanking his family and friends for their support. “I’ve worked with some great people and some fantastic horses.”
Lenz, who is on the AQHA Animal Welfare Commission, commended the group’s work in improving the health and welfare of horses. However, he urged horse owners to be proactive, not reactive.
“I think we individually need to take responsibility for our own horses and make sure that they receive the best welfare, rather than our associations [having] to regulate that,” he said. “That’s because horses are not only a part of our professional life or something we use for recreation, they define us as a part of who we are. They work for us, they entertain us, they teach us, they promote our physical and emotional health.
“I think it’s important that we never forget that we are our horse’s greatest advocates and their best interests are always on line with our own best interests.”
Other human inductees were ranchers Georga Sutton and her late husband, Raymond Sutton, as well as the late breeder Robert Sutherland.
Georga Sutton continues to raise and sell Quarter Horses on her ranch near Gettysburg, South Dakota, which hosts an annual production sale. She remains active in AQHA, including by donating yearlings to be trained by youth in the association’s Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program.
Sutherland bred nine AQHA champions, including National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Hall of Fame member King Fritz (Power Command x Poco Jane x Poco Bueno). Champion racehorse owner Abigail Kawananakoa also was honored.
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