Girl riding a horse
Tang N Tecate, who died in recent months, was a two-time NRCHA premier event Open champion. The gelding, also a successful youth bridle and reining mount, was remembered by his owners for much more than his accomplishments. • Photo by Primo Morales.

Tang N Tecate: Talented, Gritty & A Teacher To The End

Tang N Tecate was a World Champion and two-time National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) premier event winner, but the owners of the late gelding say he was also a teacher and example of perseverance.

The 1996 gelding, who died Oct. 14, was owned at the time of his death by Nichole Hurst, of Granite Bay, California. Her mother, Pamela Hurst, watched her daughter ride “TNT” to many wins in reining and reined cow horse, as the then-teenage rider learned the ropes from the experienced mount.

“His personality and who he was an individual, not just his performance, was just extraordinary,” Hurst said. “I always felt like he was more like a dog than a horse.”

The Hursts bought the son of Tangys Classy Peppy from Pam Crawford, whose husband, Todd, had ridden the gelding to championships at the 2000 NRCHA Stallion Stakes and 2001 NRCHA Derby, and the 2001 American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Junior Working Cow Horse World Championship.

Todd Crawford, who lived in California at the time, bought the horse as a yearling from breeder Stephen Balfour, of Vacaville, California. He was drawn to the horse because of the dam, Mandos Chex Appeal, a daughter of Bueno Chex Jr that Crawford had seen at a reining. The mare (out of Tia Mando x Last Command) compiled an Equi-Stat record of $18,419, about half of which she earned by making the finals of the 1992 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity Open with Steve Schwartzenberger.

He said the gelding turned out to be a “pretty steady, gritty, tough little horse.”

“He was real strong. He was a real strong stopper, and he had a lot of cow,” said Crawford, who moved his operation to Oklahoma not long after selling TNT to the Hursts. “So, that made it obviously easy to do his job.”

Nichole went on to ride TNT to the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Youth Limited Bridle and NRCHA Derby Youth Bridle championships. They also qualified for the NRHA affiliate finals and the American Quarter Horse Youth Association World Show. The horse made an impression wherever he went, Hurst said.

“He had such an aura about him,” she said of the horse, who retired with earnings of $95,592. “People were just drawn to him and always remembered him, too.”

In 2009, the gelding was diagnosed with severe arthritis in his coffin joint. It was already bone-on-bone at that point, Hurst said, and veterinarians only expected him to live a few more years. Tang N Tecate instead made it for nine years, something Hurst believes was due solely to his positive outlook on life.

“He was the happiest horse and, even though he was in pain, he just didn’t let it stop him. He just always was looking forward to going out in the pasture,” she said. “I would always say if you felt sorry for yourself, wanted to pity yourself, just go out to the stall and talk to TNT, because he was just remarkable in that way.”

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