Here Comes The Boon was named in a play on the artist Nelly’s song titled, “Here Comes the Boom.” In it, the rapper says: “ain’t in it to win; to win it I’m all in.” For Here Comes The Boon’s pilot, Lance Johnston, the words are spot on target.
To win the Open and Intermediate Open divisions at the National Stock Horse Association (NSHA) Futurity in Las Vegas, Nevada, Johnston doesn’t only make the sacrifices most trainers make of time. He pays for each ride in pain. But, the reward for each painful ride is the satisfaction of being in the industry he loves.
“Basically, I’m 47 with the back of a 75 year old. I have degenerative spinal scoliosis and severe pinching of my nerves in my lower back,” said Johnston. “When I was a little kid, I got hurt and didn’t tell anybody. [The pain] was kind of always there. Riding horses, it gradually got worse and worse. I need to have major surgery and get it fused and everything, but that means a year off then a year to get back to where I am at. In this deal, [that break] crushes you. I have to deal with a lot of pain but I don’t want to quit.”
Instead, Johnston trains reined cow horses like Here Comes The Boon (Once In A Blu Boon x Stay Outta My Shorts x Shorty Lena) and the 2019 NSHA Derby Intermediate Open champion, Helomynamesjohnycash (Cee Mr Hickory x Smart Hard Chex x Ill Be Smart). The two horses are very different.
“I don’t get along with big horses at all; I’ve always ridden little bitty horses like [Here Comes The Boon],” Johnston said. “There is only one big horse I’ve really liked and that is Helomynamesjohnycash that I won the Derby on here. That is the only big horse I’ve ever got along with showing. The little guys have big hearts.”
The tall trainer from Lindsay, Calif., has a big heart, too. While Johnston, 47, knows his time to train and show is more limited than other professionals, he is giving it his all while he can.
“I love reined cow horses,” he said. “If I couldn’t ride anymore, I’d be a huge fan cheering for my buddies and watching it. Now, if I don’t make the finals somewhere, we pull it up on the web on the way home. I don’t want to quit even though I cannot always compete at the level I used to. But I don’t want to quit. I want to keep going.”
For the Open win, Johnston earned $31,313 and the Intermediate Open win $8,989, for owners Rocking BS Ranch.
NSHA Futurity Open Reserve Champion Chris Dawson piloted Lil Shiney Jonez (Travelin Jonez x Shiners Lil Ann x Shining Spark) to a 652 and earned $18,787.80 for owner Linda Mars.
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