horse and rider and cow
High Stressin Cat & Nick Dowers • Photo by Primo Morales

High Stressin Cat and Dowers Named Hackamore Classic Open Champions

Held at the same time as the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit Futurity, the Hackamore Classic placed a spotlight on hackamore horses Oct. 17 during the Open rein and cow works.

High Stressin Cat and Nick Dowers made a last-minute entry in the Hackamore Classic count when they won the Open by 4 points. The gelding recovered from surgery to remove a knee tumor just in time for the show and came back stronger than before, marking a 663 composite.

“It feels really good,” Dowers said. “I’ve really liked this horse all along. He’s been really awesome for me, so to finally get the win that I feel like he’s had coming for a while, it’s good to finally get that.

“He’s kind of missed out a lot the last couple of years because I was hurt last year, and then he had a tumor on the back of his knee that we had to have surgically removed this summer, and we just got him in shape,” Dowers added. “I was a late entry because we didn’t know how he was going to come back from the surgery. We didn’t want to push it because he’s such a good horse. But he was flipping his feet out there, he’s sound as he’s been.”

The duo scored a 222 to take Reserve in the herd work, which came with a $738 check. In the rein work, where Dowers tried to push the horse more, another 222 won the round, and they banked an additional $885.

“We had kind of a little bit of a stinker calf so he was a 219 [in the cow work], but he can do all three events just really, really well,” Dowers said. The duo still collected $148 for their score down the fence.

The winner’s share of the payout, $15,932, pushed High Stressin Cat’s lifetime earnings to more than $83,000. He and Dowers’ biggest check to date came from a fourth place finish at the 2016 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity in the Open.

The gelding (WR This Cats Smart x Playguns Melody x Playgun), who was bred by Wagonhound Land and Livestock, belongs to Clint Marshall, of Rathdrum, Idaho, who has been Dowers’ client for the last few years.

“I’m really happy for Clint because this is his first win,” Dowers said. “We’ve kind of been dancing around a few of them, and now this. I’m really pumped for him.”

Dowers has had “Hot Rod” in his program since he was 2 years old, although the horse didn’t have a barn name for the first year.

“He was 3 years old when we took him to the first pre-futurity, and we still hadn’t named him,” Dowers said. “On the stall from the previous horse show that was [held at the facility], it said ‘Hot Rod,’ and I was like, oh! That works!”

Dowers planned to take the horse home and get him going in the two-rein after the Hackamore Classic. He hopes to show him at the World’s Greatest Horseman in the next few years.

“He’s pretty down to business. He’s real easy to get ready to show, and he doesn’t take a lot of riding. He’s super consistent and he’s just really pretty easy,” Dowers said. While Clint could one day take over the reins, Dowers added, “He’s [Clint] going to have a hard time getting him out of Nevada, I know that! I love this horse, he’s really cool.

“I couldn’t do it without the support of my family and my awesome, awesome crew, barn help and everybody,” Dowers added. “I’ve got an unbelievable team behind me. They do all the work and I get all the glory, so it’s awesome.”

Intermediate Open

horse and rider and cow
Quahadi & Boyd Rice • Photo by Primo Morales

The Bet Hesa Cat stallion Quahadi is “getting it on” this year at the Snaffle Bit Futurity, piloted by $1 Million Reined Cow Horse Rider Boyd Rice, of Weatherford, Texas. The duo claimed the NRCHA Hackamore Classic Intermediate Open Championship with a composite score of 657.5.

The 5-year-old red roan earned a paycheck of $4,868 for the win, as well as $9,958 for placing third in the Hackamore Classic Open. A 219 in the herd work gained additional earnings of $669, while a rein work score of 218.5 and a 220 in the cow work brought home another $940 for their efforts. And that was just on Oct. 17 – on Oct. 14, the competitors took first in the American Quarter Horse Association Ranching Heritage 5- & 6-Year-Old Working Ranch Horse, bringing home yet another check of $1,420 for breeder and owner Burnett Ranches LLC, of Fort Worth, Texas.

“I didn’t really have a plan going in,” explained Rice, who has a total of $5,683,621 in lifetime earnings, according to Equi-Stat. “He did so well in the Ranching Heritage deal that today I just thought if I could do that again, I would be good. I did that exact same thing, and marked the exact same thing.”

Quahadi, who is out of the Tanquery Gin mare Ginnin Attraction, was originally trained by Rice as a cutting horse prospect.

“I trained him to cut and he did good in the cutting, but I knew the whole time that he needed to do this event,” Rice said. “I finally talked the owners into letting him try it, and he’s just gotten better and better. He can do the cow horse good!”

The stallion has more than doubled his lifetime earnings during his time at the 2018 Snaffle Bit Futurity and Hackamore Classic, and he’s not done yet. Quahadi is set to compete in the heeling division of the American Rope Horse Futurity Association World Championship Rope Horse Futurity, presented by DT Horses, on Oct. 19.

“I want to show him in the World’s Greatest Horseman competition one of these days, that’s what my goal is,” said Rice, who won the 2104 World’s Greatest Horseman aboard Oh Cay N Short.

While this “laid-back” horse appears to be the epitome of versatility, his strength still lies in the cutting according to Rice, who recently rode Quahadi to the Southwest Reined Cow Horse Association SRCHA Pre-Futurity Derby Open and Intermediate Open titles in August.

“[He’s] still best in the cutting, but he’s good down the fence, too. It took him a while to figure it out, but now that he has it, he’s really good,” Rice said.

The Reserve Intermediate Open Hackamore Classic title went to Metallic Train (Metallic Cat x Sparking Train x Shining Spark), who was piloted by Clayton Edsall to a 652 composite score (214 herd/220 rein/218 cow). The duo brought home a champion’s check of $3,894 for owner Beverley Vaughn, of Durango, Colorado. They also earned $3,983 for seventh place in the Open, along with a $935 paycheck from the rein work and $158 for the cow work.

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