Cool N Hot & Sean Flynn • Photo by Dawn Baxstrom

Open Finals on Fire at The Non Pro Plus the Open

For some horses, transitioning to a new rider in a fairly short period of time can take some getting used to, but Cool N Hot proved he could be cool about the transition and remain hot in the arena. On June 17 at The Non Pro Plus the Open, he carried Sean Flynn to the 4-Year-Old Open win with a score of 226.

Flynn rode for owner Paula Wood, of Stephenville, Texas, and her husband, Kobie, Cool N Hot’s regular rider and trainer, after Kobie had his hip injected and then had open heart surgery shortly after winning the Open at the 2018 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Super Stakes with the stallion.

“Sean showed him the first time at The Ike after Kobie had his hip injected and split third,” Paula said. “He had told Kobie that anytime we needed someone to catch ride for us to let him know, so Kobie hauled him to Monroe [Louisiana] pretty much in time to get him shown there.”

As Kobie recovered from open heart surgery, Flynn took the horse to Tulsa for the Breeder’s Invitational, where he scored a 223 to tie with Austin Shepard aboard Dual Reyish and then placed second after the work-off.

“I got the horse ready before Sean showed him in Ardmore,” Paula said of the Non Pro Plus The Open. “We took him to Sean this time the Wednesday before the show, and this is the first time we’ve ever left him overnight. But, they take real good care of the horses there, so we weren’t concerned about that.”

Paula, who also rides Cool N Hot, or “Trigger,” in non-pro competition, was clearly pleased with the talents of her horse and his replacement jockey.

“I thought Sean shown him with so much confidence,” she said. “He didn’t look like a 4-year-old – he looked like an open horse to me. He was outside the cow and showed him with no fear.”

As a matter of fact, Trigger’s performance was so smooth, it seemed like a walk in the park for the young son of Hottish, a Woods’ homebred out of their mare Donas Cool Cat (by High Brow Cat).

“It looked like it was no big deal,” Paula said with a laugh. “But those cows were testy. It was game on when they got a hold of you.”

Kobie had worked with Sean in picking cattle for their stallion and pointed out the first two cows were ones they had both selected, but the third was one Sean cut shape on to get a fresh one.

“I really like the way he rides – no b.s.,” Kobie said. “He’s quiet and doesn’t brag. I’ve never seen him get mean with a horse. He’s a true horseman.”

Paula said she was fairly confident the duo would do well – maybe even win – but with so many good horses in the 14-horse field, like Purdy Metallic, who was shown by Paul Hansma for owner Jimmie Miller Smith, of Geary, Oklahoma, it could have been anyone’s game.

“That’s a good horse, and Paul shows so good,” she said of Hansma and the Tejas Trading Company-bred mare (Metallic Cat x Purdy Aristocrat x Smart Aristocrat), who ended up the Reserve champions with a 222.5 and banked $6,311.

With his win, “Trigger” earned $7,414 of the $43,505 purse, pushing his lifetime earnings close to $230,000.

“He’s been such a blessing,” Paula said of the stallion, who will stand to his first book next year. “He’s sure making our life a lot easier now.”

5/6-Year-Old Open

Hot Revolver & James Payne • Photo by Dawn Baxstrom

James Payne knew the results of the 5/6-Year-Old Open finals were likely going to be the luck of the draw. The Equi-Stat Elite $2 Million Rider had three horses in the 10-horse finals, so his chances looked good.

“I knew I had a pretty good shot with ‘Beulah Mae’ [Hot Revolver] and ‘PG’ [Heavily Armed], and it was all going to be about where we drew up,” said the Overbrook, Oklahoma trainer.

Taking a shot ended up being the theme as Payne rode Hot Revolver (Spots Hot x Baretta Boon x Playgun) into the finals as the first to go, scoring a 223 that was essentially never challenged throughout the rest of the class.

“The way the cows were that day, and really the way they were all that week, being first I was happy,” Payne said. “There were decent cows in there, but there was only a small number of really nice cows. I was very happy because the cows were a little numb and quick, where they would push into you pretty strong, but they would also ‘die’ on you in the corners.”

Hot Revolver, a stunning gray mare owned by Kathleen Moore, of Madill, Oklahoma, made the most of the three cows selected by Payne, particularly with the second cow. Payne said that cow allowed Hot Revolver to show the three judges how well she could focus.

“I had shown her in some of the $2,000-added opens that week, so she had been shown several times. She was wore down and tight, so I felt like she was ready to handle that situation,” he said after taking $7,867 of the $33,525 purse.

Payne added the horse to his barn as a 3-year-old after she was purchased by Moore from Hunter Williams.

“She’s been a very opinionated, strong-willed mare,” he said with a laugh. “I could tell she had some really, really good stuff, but it’s been more of getting it out of her. She had a slow start at the beginning of her 4-year-old year, but by the time the [NCHA] Super Stakes rolled around, I felt like I had her,” Payne said, noting their third-place finish in 2017.

Payne had a total of five horses in the two open finals on June 17, but he said juggling that many horses was simple by then.

“By the time I got to that part of the show, everything had been worked and shown enough that it was fairly easy,” he said. “Sometimes that can be an issue, but they all had been through the routine and they were all dialed in.”

Payne’s goal is to reach $200,000 in earnings with Beulah Mae, whose current earnings now stand at just more than $128,000. He will take her to the NCHA Summer Cutting Spectacular and then through the fall run, including the West Texas Futurity, Cotton Stakes and Brazos Bash.

“I would imagine we will pull an embryo off her next year and see where we go from there,” he added.

Taking Reserve was Jerry and Kathy Erwin-bred CR Gotcha Covered, owned by Joel Colgrove Sr., of Boligee, Alabama. Shown by Tarin Rice, the son of Dualin Boon (out of The Catattac x High Brow Cat) earned $6,555 for his score of 219.

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