The National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Super Stakes Open finals, held April 6 at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas, boasted two sets of finalists for a total of 21 horse-and-rider combos. Included in the line-up were second go-round winner Exs N Ohhs; NCHA Futurity Open Reserve Champion Badboonarising; Southern Cutting, Cotton Stakes and West Texas Futurity Open Champion Stylish Hailee; Bama Jelly, the Augusta Futurity and Arbuckle Mountain Futurity Open champion; and semifinals winner Hiss N Vinegar.
According to Jennifer Foland, who bred and owns Hiss N Vinegar with her husband, Jeffrey, “there’s an old thing that if you win the semis, you don’t win the finals, and she won the semis last night so I was like, oh, great. Now we’re not going to win the finals.” Nobody informed the little mare of the superstition, though. She carried Phil Hanson to a 227, topping the class and earning Hanson and her owners their first NCHA Super Stakes Open buckle.
The winner’s check of $72,294 made Hiss N Vinegar’s dam, Hissy Cat (by High Brow Cat), a $1 million producer. The mare, an earner of $314,699 who is also owned by the Folands, has produced 19 money-earners, including $100,000-plus earners Johnny Reyngo ($193,119), Dureyngo Kid ($134,526), Hisstereya ($132,035) and now Hiss N Vinegar, whose bankroll rocketed to $149,727.
“Hissy Cat had so much heart,” Foland said. “She made the finals every time she got shown here, and she was so consistent and had so much try and was so smart on a cow. This mare is super smart on a cow also, but she may have that little extra charisma that brings her up to that next level.”
By Dual Smart Rey, Hiss N Vinegar, or “Smudge,” entered Hanson’s program as a 2-year-old. She was very sensitive and had a “huge personal space bubble,” requiring some extra work as she learned to trust her handlers. Jacob Hadden started the mare, and Hanson took over the reins in January of her 3-year-old year. At the 2018 NCHA Futurity, the duo tied for seventh in the Open finals.
“This little mare is so special and so smart,” Hanson added. “She’s just a fun horse.”
Sugrspiznevrthingniz and Matt Gaines took Reserve in the Open with a 221.5. Owned by Jim Vangilder, the mare is by NCHA Super Stakes title sponsor Kit Kat Sugar and out of the Lizzys Gotta Player mare Jewels Gotta Lizzy. The $63,633 Reserve champion’s check made the Robert and Connie Rust-bred mare the No. 1 offspring by Kit Kat Sugar.