The Southwest Reining Horse Association (SWRHA) Futurity, held Oct. 23-28 at the Hardy Murphy Coliseum in Ardmore, Oklahoma, provides a last shot for reiners to test their 3-year-olds prior to the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity. In the Non-Pro, 57 riders went through the arena, and it was Mandy McCutcheon who landed at the top with both of her horses.
She piloted Whizzenintothenite to a 220 for the Championship, banking a $5,411 paycheck. A 217.5 with Cody Vintage took Reserve, and McCutcheon garnered an additional $3,294.
“He was good everywhere,” McCutcheon, an Equi-Stat Elite $2 Million Rider, said of Whizzenintothenite. “I think I had a little turn penalty the second way, but other than that, he was really pretty solid the whole way.
“It’s a well-run horse show,” she added of why she brought her horses to the SWRHA Futurity. “Southwest does a great job putting it on, and Cheryl [Cody] always does a good job. I like to just kind of see where we’re at, make final decisions before we go to the [NRHA] Futurity.”
Whizzenintothenite, a homebred stallion, is by Gunners Special Nite and out of Ms Whiz Dunit (by Topsail Whiz), who McCutcheon rode to win the 2013 SWRHA Futurity Level 4 Non-Pro before landing the NRHA Futurity Championship later that year. She and the mare also won the National Reining Breeders Classic in 2014, along with other limited-age titles.
Whizzenintothenite is Ms Whiz Dunit’s first money-earner.
“They both have got a lot of personality,” McCutcheon noted.
McCutcheon’s son, Cade, also showed two horses at the SWRHA Futurity, tying for third and ninth, and her daughter, Carlee, placed 15th in Level 3 and ninth in Level 1. McCutcheon said she and Cade are trying to decide which horses they will show at the Futurity.
“The good news about this one [Whizzenintothenite] is he’s too little for anybody but me or Carlee!” she added.
The SWRHA Futurity was the first time McCutcheon had ridden Reserve Champion Cody Vintage, as Cade has been training the horse all year.
“He did a good job,” she added about how Cade prepared Cody Vintage (Electric Code x Whatta Royal Vintage x Hollywood Vintage). “He was real broke and real easy and fun to show.
“Debbie Brown’s done a lot of work on that horse; Fernando’s [Salgado] ridden that horse a little for me,” she added. “When I got here, Dell [Hendricks] gave me a few pointers circling, so it takes a whole village. I try to pick everybody’s brain, but my team at home – [husband] Tom and Debbie and Fernando – are all a great team, and they do a really great job working together. And Cade, too.”
Futurity Levels 3, 2 and 1 Non-Pro
Three riders marked the same score – a 215.5 – to tie for the championship in Levels 3, 2 and 1. The trio also tied for third in Level 4, and all collected a total of $4,815.
Stoney Russell was the second out in the draw, right behind his wife, Stuart. Though Stuart had some tough luck, Stoney and Whata Special Nite landed at the top from the get-go and held onto their lead through the rest of the class. It was a surprise for Russell, who assumed his score wouldn’t hold for the win and had gone back to work.
“Mathieu [Buton] had texted me and told me about 15 out I was still leading [Levels] 1, 2 and 3 with a couple other people,” Russell said. “I wasn’t expecting that at all. A 215.5 typically wouldn’t do that, but I think a lot of the horses were having some problems in the ground and stuff out there.”
When it was all said and done, Russell and “Big John” also tied for the Prime Time Championship, which came with another $697. Though they had some issues with their stops, Russell said the gelding behaved very well.
“It doesn’t take anything to warm him up. If you get him too worked up, you don’t have enough horse really to go in there and ride because he’s just so laid-back,” Russell said. “You go into the show pen and he’s there for you. He knows the difference when you’re going from the make up pen to the arena. He’s one of those that he’s not fidgety or anxious or looky or anything, he’s just ready to go. It made it really easy for me.”
Russell and Stuart purchased Big John (Gunners Special Nite x SLJ Sweet N Juicy x Smart Like Juice) from Tom and Mandy McCutcheon originally to be Stuart’s horse, but when she didn’t get along with him, they swapped horses. Though the then-stallion was a lot more laid-back than the horses Russell was used to riding, he turned out to be a good fit.
The Russells gelded Big John, which made a big difference in the horse’s mind, and Buton helped the green horse catch up to other horses his age. As Russell learned how to ride and warm-up the gelding, he realized trading horses with his wife could be a blessing in disguise.
“He just wants to be in your pocket,” Russell said. “You sit down and start rubbing on him, he’ll follow you anywhere. Just an easy-going horse. You’ve got to ride him because if you don’t ride him, he’s not going anywhere. A little different for me; this one has taken me a little bit to get used to riding him like that.”
Russell thanked his wife, Buton and the McCutcheons for giving him the opportunity to buy the gelding. He also thanked Big John’s former owner/breeder, Lindy Longfellow, who keeps up with the gelding’s career on Facebook.
From the seventh hole, Jillane Brown, of Selma, North Carolina, rode KR Ima Dream to match Russell’s score, also banking an additional $697 for the Prime Time Non-Pro Co-Championship.
“Today was a big confidence booster!” Brown said. “We wanted to be real quiet and have a nice, quiet run. I knew she’d be there in my circles for me, so I ran her there really hard, but I really wanted to just be quiet in my turnarounds. I knew she’d be there in the stops.
“I had heard the ground was really bad so I stayed toward the wall on [one] side. And on the other side I didn’t go real deep, I went to the third cone and stopped, and she nailed every stop so I was really happy about that.”
Brown has owned “KR” for only a short period of time. She bought the mare from Casey Hinton at the Rocky Mountain Reining Horse Association Summer Slide Futurity, where he showed her to earnings of $1,549.
KR, who was bred by Pete and Tamra Kyle, is by Magnum Chic Dream and out of the Tejons Peppy Doc mare KR Ima Tejon. She is now in training with Sam Smith, and Brown thanked him for his work. She was also grateful to Hinton for selling her the mare.
“She’s real sweet, real quiet. She’s curious, always likes to look around a lot,” Brown said. “She’s a really good-minded mare, one of the best-minded mares I’ve got!”
Rounding out the tie were George Lawrence and Time For The Gunshow. Though Lawrence said he was “winging it” in the show pen, the duo slid to a 215.5 from the 38th draw. The gelding is by Gunners Special Nite.
“He was really pure in there. He turned really good, got shut off and circled good. I could have got us stopped better, so I’m going to work on that a little bit,” Lawrence said. “He’s about as honest as they get. This horse doesn’t make me nervous at all, I felt really good.”
The gelding, who Lawrence’s mom named “Ragnar” after the legendary Viking ruler, thanks to her love of the TV show “Vikings,” was bred by Kindra Rader. He is out of the Shining Spark mare Miss Timed To Shine, making him a three-quarters brother to Lawrence’s old horse The Gunfather (by Colonels Smoking Gun [Gunner]), who he sold as a late 2-year-old.
Prior to the SWRHA Futurity, Lawrence and Ragnar won $971 at the Tulsa Reining Classic. Lawrence said he’s feeling pretty confident heading into the NRHA Futurity with the gelding.
“I’ve got to get my stuff in line and make less mistakes as a rider, but the horse has been really good,” he added. “He’s probably better than I deserve.”
He thanked Casey Deary for his help with Ragnar and Luke Gagnon, who rode the gelding part of his 2-year-old year. He also expressed gratitude to his wife, Chloe, as they have been doing most of the work themselves with Ragnar.