In 2008, Michelle Cannon was looking for high-caliber mares to breed to her promising young stallion, Shiners Nickle, when she heard about Lil Lena Long Legs. She fell in love with the daughter of Smart Little Lena as soon as she saw her at that year’s National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Sales.
“Just her overall appearance: her conformation, the presence she had about her and the confidence,” Cannon recalled. “And, she’s such a really rich bay color [with a] pretty, tiny little head.”
She went home with Cannon when the hammer fell at $205,000 — the fourth-highest price at that year’s sale — and the mare nicknamed “Chloe” has rewarded her owner’s confidence with one successful foal after another. They recently earned Lil Lena Long Legs the title of Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Dam.
The prestigious title meant a lot to Cannon. It’s the first time she’s ever had a mare that has reached that mark, and it justified the feeling she’d had about the mare since she first saw her at the sales.
“From the time I bought her and her first babies started to show, that was one of my goals for her,” said Cannon, of Waxahachie, Texas. “I just felt like she could be that, that she had that special something to be a million-dollar producer.”
The leading earner out of Lil Lena Long Legs — and, a horse who played a big part in getting his mother to million-dollar status — is NCHA Summer Spectacular Open Champion Sir Long Legs ($337,104, by High Brow Cat). Bred by Cannon, the 2013 stallion also was the NCHA Futurity Open Reserve Champion and, most recently, won at this month’s NCHA Eastern Nationals.
Her second-leading earner, Cat Belue ($190,232, by High Brow Cat), was an Open finalist in many of cutting’s top aged events, including the NCHA Futurity. Her third-leading earner, Two Time Dual (by Dual Rey), started his career as a reined cow horse, but transitioned into yet another successful cutting horse with multiple championships and more than $170,000 won.
It’s easy to see why foals out of Lil Lena Long Legs excel in the cutting pen, as the 2002 mare bred by Kickapoo Farms LLC, of Barrington, Illinois, won nearly $200,000 going to the herd. Her career highlight, the 2006 NCHA Super Stakes Open Reserve Championship, came with trainer Shannon Hall in the saddle. Hall, an Equi-Stat Elite $3 Million Rider, had also ridden the mare’s mother, Lil Lucy Long Legs, to much of her more than $160,000 in cutting earnings.
Cannon, who kept four of Lil Lena Long Legs’ daughters, continues to nurture the bloodlines. The mare has a number of foals expected to hit the ground this year and next year, and Cannon is anxious to continue to cross the mare with the late Shiners Nickle, who died at age 5 in 2010, and his American Quarter Horse Association Working Cow Horse World Champion son, Shiney Outlaw.
“One thing that I think has been so special about her is that it doesn’t matter what we crossed her on, they just have been phenomenal,” Cannon said of the mare, who as of March 21 had 14 earners of $1,010,910 recorded in Equi-Stat. “Phenomenal as far as confirmation, as far as their attitude, mindset, their willingness and their want-to.”
Other earners out of Lil Lena Long Legs, according to Equi-Stat, are: Lil Shiny Long Legs ($76,523, by Shining Spark), Shiners Lil Nickle ($70,650, by Shiners Nickle), Big Time In Cowtown ($59,419, by One Time Pepto), Too Long Til Autumn ($34,104, by Autumn Acre), One Time Too Long ($24,799, by One Time Pepto), A Lil Brown Suga ($15,976, by Metallic Cat), Lil Pepto Long Legs ($15,333, by Peptoboonsmal), One Smart Long Legs ($10,271, by One Time Pepto), Smart Little Autumn ($3,456, by Autumn Acre), Lil Kit Kat ($1,939, by Kit Kat Sugar) and Shesa Lota Long Legs ($298, by Shiners Nickle).