You can ask Mandy McCutcheon about the upcoming National Reining Horse Association Futurity next month in Oklahoma City, but don’t expect a straight answer.
To speak freely about her horses’ prospects merely invites the not-so-welcome spirits, she believes. McCutcheon might not exactly be into the supernatural, but she doesn’t take any chances.
“I’m a little superstitious,” she said. “All kinds of little things. I go through show shirts and show pads … [if she doesn’t do well in them] they go right down the road. I sell them. All kinds of things like that.”
Suffice it to say, she’ll be keeping everything she wore on Friday.
In a pre-trial test leading up to the NRHA Futurity, McCutcheon and Coronas At Nite, bred and owned by McCutcheon and her husband, Tom, rolled to a 219.5 to win the Southwest Reining Horse Association Futurity Level 4 Non-Pro division at the Hardy Murphy Coliseum in Ardmore, Oklahoma.
The 2016 mare, who has the bright, striking eyes of her father Gunners Special Nite, is out of One Last Corona (x Magnum Chic Dream).
Only this summer, Gunners Special Nite became the NHRA’s newest Three Million Dollar Sire, less than a year after achieving Two Million Dollar Sire distinction. Owned by Turnabout Farm Inc., Gunners Special Nite stands at the McCutcheon place, Tom McCutcheon Reining Horses Inc., in Aubrey, Texas.
Before moving to the breeding barn, Gunners Special Nite stood out in the show pen under Tom McCutcheon and Marcy Starr, earning an Equi-Stat record of almost $220,000.
His top offspring performers are Modern Gun, with Equi-Stat earnings of more than $213,000, Baileys Not Painted (PT), who has made $129,852 in the show pen, and Lenas Shining Gun ($104,412).
Coronas At Nite’s run was as good as McCutcheon could have hoped for. Unbothered by the drastic change in the weather — if it got to 50 degrees, no one told anybody about it on an wet, overcast, drizzly day — Coronas “turned good, circled good, she stopped really big. The roll back was smooth and she stayed quiet around the ends.”
“She can be a little sassy sometime, but I think that’s what makes her gritty also. Makes her be a good show horse. She’s tough and ready for the challenge every day.”
McCutcheon, a winner of more than $2.7 million over 29 years, according to Equi-Stat, also said she learned a little bit more about how to get Coronas ready, such as, she said, adding a few extra practice classes before the show, “and I’ll probably do a few more paid warmups and schooling runs before we go to the next one.”
The experience on the whole, she acknowledged, “felt like a really good run to have right before going to the reining futurity.”
But that’s all she had to say about that.