cutting horse
Susan Hoenck & Zena Angelena • Photo by Shane Rux Photography

Hoenck Plays the Odds to a World Title

The odds to win a championship were in Susan Hoenck’s favor with two horses qualified for the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Adequan Select World Championship Show’s Cutting finals.

Hoenck, of Winnemucca, Nevada, didn’t let “Team Hoenck” down. She rode Zena Angelena (Quejanaisalena x Dual Heritage x Dual Pep), an 11-year-old mare bred by Greg Coalson, of Weatherford, Texas, and owned by her and her husband, Bob, to the Championship with a 218.5. The pair remained consist from the preliminary round, where they had finished second in the Cutting with a 217.

Hoenck, who also placed ninth in the finals riding her 5-year-old gelding Highbrows Swingin CD, and Zena Angelena drew up 10th in the 15-horse finals. With two head qualified and having already ridden to the herd on Highbrows Swingin CD (High Brow CD x Justa Little Gal x Justa Swinging Peppy), Hoenck said she felt relaxed as she and Angie made their way into the show pen.

Their run began on a high note. The cow Hoenck’s husband had spotted and told her to cut popped its head up and gave the rider the perfect opportunity to drive her from the herd.

“I told myself, ‘I can’t believe this,’ and we rolled it right on out and went straight to work!,” Hoenck said, commending ‘Angie’ for her skill in the situation. “It was awesome.

“The cow was really nice, and I let Angie play with it as she locked down on it. When we went back in the herd, here was another tall, long-legged calf that looked like a littermate to the first one!”

Angie laser-locked onto their second cow, and Hoenck knew they had her.

“Angie got so intense and her moves were so powerful and freakish that my saddle was tipping and rolling!” she said.

Things went just as well with the third cow. Hoenck said Angie cut through the herd like a butter knife, as she peeled their last cow from the herd, locked on and dropped to her belly.

“It was a blast!” Hoenck said.

The World title was the first for Hoenck, who said she has competed at the Amarillo, Texas-based show three times.

“It was our first time to make it to the finals,” she said. “I usually nerve up so bad that it’s embarrassing!”

The Hoencks, who raise registered black Angus cattle on their Nevada ranch, bought Angie from a customer of California trainer Mike Bakey, who had the mare since she was a baby and had developed quite a relationship with her.

“When we looked at her to buy, Mike told me, ‘This one is looking for a friend, and she has got to trust you. ‘ Later that day, I went in her stall and she came walking right up to me. We visited and I scratched her – she loves having her belly scratched – and the ‘bond’ was starting to form.

“The following day, I got to ride her on some cows, and the deal was done!”

While her husband does not show, Hoenck said he’s still part of the team.

“He’s my actual teammate,” she said. “He’s my turnback help 100 percent of the time. He’s in the pen with me. He’s the one, if he sees I’m not lasered in or in the right position or I need a little coaching, he can instruct me while Angie is down being a freak. He keeps everything under control. It’s a real team effort, and it pays off!”