The first year a stallion’s offspring compete can trigger many emotions. A mix of excitement, anxiety and hopefulness flood the senses for those who spend years waiting.
For the 31 freshman sires in the Western performance horse industry this year, the successes and failures of their own show careers are no longer the gauge. It’s up to the next generation to carry their names into the future.
In order to qualify as a 2019 freshman sire, a stallion’s first American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA)-registered offspring must have been born in 2016. Their youngest foals have come of age this year and will be eligible to compete in the cutting, reining and reined cow horse futurities later in the season.
The 2019 class of sires is unique in that it is a bona fide mixture of elite performance horses with six-figure records and stallions whose Equi-Stat records seem minimal in comparison. But now, it’s anybody’s game.
There may not be as many high-dollar freshman reining sires this year, but the ones at the top of the roster are anything but mediocre. They’ve spent years making headlines, and the anticipation is high to see how their offspring live up to their potential.
More than just a striking palomino, ARC Gunnabeabigstar is a living piece of reining history. The 2014 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity Open Co-Champion is by Equi-Stat Elite $2 Million Sire Gunnatrashya and out of $800,000-plus producer Wimpys Little Chic, a daughter of Equi-Stat Elite $11 Million Sire Wimpys Little Step — all three of which were NRHA Futurity Open Champions.
After tying at the Futurity, “Big Star” was shown sparingly. In 2017, he was the NRHA Derby Level 4 Open Reserve Champion, High Roller Reining Classic Level 4 Open winner and AQHA Senior Reining Reserve World Champion. He came back for the 2018 World Equestrian Games (WEG) and helped earn a Team gold medal for America.
Owned by HDC Quarter Horses, ARC Gunnabeabigstar stands at Sterling Ranch. The Arcese Quarter Horses USA-bred stallion, whose lifetime earnings hover at more than $300,000, has 26 foals from 2016 representing him in the futurities this year.
Gotta Big Star, a sorrel colt, is out of 2005 All American Quarter Horse Congress Reining Futurity Open Co-Reserve Champion Ritas San Jo ($27,381, by San Jo Freckles). He is a half or greater brother to the earners of nearly $205,000, including Wimpys Little Freckl ($116,891, by Wimpys Little Step) and Conquistadors Sandy ($66,998, by Conquistador Whiz).
Shez Gunnabea Slider is out of $189,000-plus producer Sheza Shady Slider, a daughter of Shining Spark. The chestnut filly is a half-sister to Star Spangled Whiz (by Topsail Whiz), whose record reflects $176,881 in show earnings and nearly $300,000 as a sire.
In addition to the reining-bred offspring on ARC Gunnabeabigstar’s roster, Gunnabeagoldenstar brings a unique cross to the table. The palomino filly is out of the Shining Spark mare Shiners Little Rita, who garnered her $33,750 in lifetime earnings at the 2004 National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit Futurity. To date, she has four earners on her offspring record, all of which have been shown as cow horses. The group is led by Nu Sand Dollar ($16,439), a son of Nu Circle N Cash.
ARC Gunnabeabigstar and NRHA Open World Champion What A Wave, who went head-to-head at the 2018 WEG, will be reunited in competition once again through their progeny, as they are both welcoming their first foals to the arena in 2019.
What A Wave, who is owned by Steve Vannietvelt and Gina De Pauw, of Belgium, started his show career in the United States. He was sold to Europe after his aged-event years, during which he finished second in the National Reining Breeders Classic Derby Open and NRHA World Championship Shootout. The stallion, bred by Sam and Tina Ellis, of Sapulpa, Oklahoma, thrived in his new home, carrying Bernard Fonck to numerous wins, including the NRHA Open World title in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
During the WEG, What A Wave helped guide Belgium to the Team silver medal before picking up the Individual Gold medal. Following the win, the stallion retired with $275,746 in lifetime earnings.
There is only one AQHA-registered foal from 2016 on What A Wave’s record. SG Waving Spook, an April-born sorrel colt, is out of FM Master Spooka, a daughter of Smart Spook. Although she does not have an Equi-Stat performance record, FM Master Spooka is a full or half-sister to the earners of more than $150,000, including Master Snapper ($77,050, by Snapper Cal Bar), a sire with close to $685,000 in offspring earnings.
With $154,201, Wimpys High Bid is another reining sire stirring attention. The 2009 stallion’s early career was in the Open, with several top finishes as a 3-year-old that culminated at the 2012 NRHA Futurity, where he was the Level 3 Open Reserve Champion and tied for fifth in Level 4. Current owner Brenda Joyce, of Story Book Stables Inc., took over the reins in 2014, proving Wimpys High Bid a solid non-pro horse in the derbies.
Wimpys High Bid, who stands at Tom McCutcheon Reining Horses, is going into the 2019 futurities represented by two get.
The First Bid, a palomino filly, is Wimpys High Bid’s oldest foal. Out of Dun Lost My Mercedes (by Cromed Out Mercedes), she could become her dam’s first money-earner. Dun Lost My Mercedes was fourth in the 2016 NRHA Derby Level 1 Open and has an Equi-Stat record that reflects $3,479.
Out of Surpriseinadarkalley ($23,541, by Jerry Lees Surprise), Wimpys Best Bid is a palomino colt with one money-earning half-brother — Story For You (by Wimpyneedsacocktail).
Other freshman reining sires whose offspring make their debut this year include $100,000-plus earners Guns R For Shootin, Freckles Got Ashiner and Electric Snow.
Freshman Sires Complete List
Stallion/Lifetime Earnings, according to Equi-Stat/Year Born/Pedigree/# of AQHA registered foals, as of April 1 (* # of Australian Quarter Horse Association-registered foals)
ARC Gunnabeabigstar, $308,902
11 (Gunnatrashya x Wimpys Little Chic x Wimpys Little Step)
2016 foals: 26 / 2017 foals: 9 / 2018 foals: 2
Blind Sided, $223,726
10 (Peptoboonsmal x Lil Miss Shiney Chex x Shining Spark)
2016 foals: 17 / 2017 foals: 18 / 2018 foals: 11
Check Counter, $132,756
10 (Im Countin Checks x Haidas Youngster x Haidas Little Pep)
2016 foals: 1 / 2017 foals: 8 / 2018 foals: 4
Chics Smart Lena, $29,753
10 (Smart Chic Olena x Hixie Chic x Doc’s Hickory)
2016 foals: 2 / 2017 foals: 1 / 2018 foals: 0
Cool Cat Dual Rey, $196,207
10 (Dual Rey x Donas Cool Cat x High Brow Cat)
2016 foals: 1 / 2017 foals: 4 / 2018 foals: 0
Dulces Little Light, $30,919
07 (Dulces Smart Lena x Light The Stars x Grays Starlight)
2016 foals: 13 / 2017 foals: 0 / 2018 foals: 0
Electric Snow, $100,399
11 (Jacs Electric Spark x Snow Gun x Colonels Smoking Gun [Gunner])
2016 foals: 1/ 2017 foals: 3 / 2018 foals: 22
Freckles Got Ashiner, $101,442
08 (Smart Shiner x Scats Frecklefoot x Doctor Freckles)
2016 foals: 7 / 2017 foals: 0 / 2018 foals: 3
Gunnin For Chicks, $79,971
09 (Gunner x Dun It By Chick x Hollywood Dun it)
2016 foals: 6 / 2017 foals: 16 / 2018 foals: 6
Guns R For Shootin, $113,873
10 (Gunner x Chelsea Lena x Smart Peppy Doc)
2016 foals: 23 / 2017 foals: 30 / 2018 foals: 24
Guthrie City Limits, $0
12 (Sixes Pick x Jim N Nicks Di x Els Scottish Nick)
2016 foals: 14 / 2017 foals: 18 / 2018 foals: 7
Gypsys Starlight, $16,229
11 (Starlights Gypsy x Mia Uno Tassa x Smart Little Uno)
2016 foals: 4 / 2017 foals: 4 / 2018 foals: 0
Heavy Metal (AS)*, $143,513
12 (Metallic Cat x Reyk It In x Dual Rey)
2016 foals: 30 / 2017 foals: 11 / 2018 foals: 0
Heza Shiney Kodo, $88,200
06 (Kodo x Sheza Shinette x Shining Spark)
2016 foals: 2 / 2017 foals: 0 / 2018 foals: 0
High Brow Shiner, $201,654
09 (Shining Lil Nic x High Brow Meow x High Brow Cat)
2016 foals: 5 / 2017 foals: 2 / 2018 foals: 1
Jesses Topaz, $0
11 (Mr Jess Perry x Paddys Topaz x Paddys Irish Whiskey)
2016 foals: 17 / 2017 foals: 48 / 2018 foals: 32
11 (Metallic Cat x Miss Sea Rey x Dual Rey)
2016 foals: 1 / 2017 foals: 0 / 2018 foals: 2
10 (Very Smart Remedy x Magical Lena x Little Lenas Legend)
2016 foals: 2 / 2017 foals: 1 / 2018 foals: 0
Metallic Gun, $16,117
11 (Metallic Cat x Playguns King Badger x Playgun)
2016 foals: 1 / 2017 foals: 3 / 2018 foals: 7
Meteles Cat, $437,016
10 (Metallic Cat x Teles Lies x Lenas Telesis)
2016 foals: 12 / 2017 foals: 78 / 2018 foals: 35
Natural Bottom, $2,341
11 (Playboys Buck Fever x Natural Ingredient x Peppy San Badger)
2016 foals: 6 / 2017 foals: 16 / 2018 foals: 11
One Fine Vintage, $116,956
09 (One Time Pepto x Shiners Siena x Shining Spark)
2016 foals: 6 / 2017 foals: 3 / 2018 foals: 5
SCR Thunder Crackin, $0
12 (Metallic Cat x Smart Crackin Chic x Smart Chic Olena)
2016 foals: 9 / 2017 foals: 7 / 2018 foals: 9
Smart Time Pepto 10, $148,822
10 (One Time Pepto x Uno Tassa Mia x Smart Little Uno)
2016 foals: 19 / 2017 foals: 13 / 2018 foals: 0
Sushi Boss, $41,321
11 (CD Lights x Shiney Sushi x Shining Spark)
2016 foals: 5 / 2017 foals: 9 / 2018 foals: 6
This One Time, $154,303
09 (One Time Pepto x Katie Starlight x Grays Starlight)
2016 foals: 9 / 2017 foals: 13 / 2018 foals: 12
Time For The Diamond, $150,050
10 (One Time Pepto x Diamonds With Style x Playin Stylish)
2016 foals: 13 / 2017 foals: 16 / 2018 foals: 14
Tricked Out Spook, $68,762
10 (Spooks Gotta Gun x Rowdy Brinna x Rowdy Yankee)
2016 foals: 2 / 2017 foals: 18 / 2018 foals: 17
11 (Wimpys Little Step x Melodys GI Jane x Missin James)
2016 foals: 1 / 2017 foals: 0 / 2018 foals: 0
What A Wave, $275,746
08 (Tidal Wave Jack x What A Sunrise x Sunrise Enterprise)
2016 foals: 1 / 2017 foals: 16 / 2018 foals: 10
Wimpys High Bid, $154,201
09 (Wimpys Little Step x Lucky Little Jewel x Smart Little Lena)
2016 foals: 2 / 2017 foals: 3 / 2018 foals: 5
Disclaimer: This list was compiled using information contained in the last five issues of the Quarter Horse News Stallion Register, major sale catalogs, previous Equi-Stat statistics and other industry publications. American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) records were used to determine eligibility as a freshman sire; therefore, stallions with offspring in other countries or associations — including those born prior to 2016 or those born later in 2016 due to different breeding seasons in other parts of the world — may be included. Although we have made every effort to compile a complete and accurate list, stallions not regularly advertised or those whose offspring have not sold at public auction may not be included.
This article was originally published in the May 1, 2019, issue of QHN.