Equine communities across the world conveyed feelings of sadness upon learning of the passing of acclaimed sire Hydrive Cat on Oct. 15.
“Hydrive” was humanely euthanized in Texas at age 16 following complications arising from a hind suspensory ligament injury, said owner Shane Plummer, who added that he will live with “a heaviness that will be with me for quite some time.”
Hydrive’s last couple of months were spent in his paddock with friend and son “Lowdrive,” a 4-year-old pony out of one of the Plummer-owned SDP Buffalo Ranch’s American Miniature mares.
“He had a sweet nature,” Plummer said of Hydrive. “He was one of those horses — even though being a breeding stallion, they tend to have a more aggressive nature — he was one of those I could allow my kids into his stall and wouldn’t even worry. We would joke around that you could throw a grenade in Hydrive’s stall and he wouldn’t do anything.”
The decision to put him down, Plummer said, “was the right thing to do. Watching that magnificent specimen deteriorate was so awful.”
As a cutter, Hydrive Cat was a winner of more than $416,000, most of it with Clint Allen aboard, including the 2006 NCHA Futurity Open Reserve Championship, but it was as a sire the 2003 stallion gained renown.
Hydrive, who has been part of breedings on five continents, sired 323 performers, according to Equi-Stat. They are the winners of more than $4.6 million, for an average of $14,399. The top earners among his progeny are Somethingtobelievein ($281,365), Once You Go Black ($194,413) and Overdrive ($181,123).
Hydrive’s imprint will live on longer; SDP Buffalo Ranch has nearly 1,000 doses of Hydrive’s frozen semen.
“His biggest impact on us was how he stamped his foals,” Plummer said. “They all looked exactly alike. It didn’t matter what bloodline he was bred to or what size they were or type, they all kind of just came out looking like him. I’ve bred thousands of horses and I’ve never seen anything so uniform.”
From a spectator’s standpoint, Hydrive was Michael Jordan, always sticking his tongue out and wanting people to scratch it, Plummer recalled.
“We had lots of people from around the world posting selfies with Hydrive sticking his tongue out,” Plummer said.
Hydrive was born in April 2003, bred by Esperanza Ranch of Parks, Arizona, and with the best of pedigrees. He was the son of famed stallion High Brow Cat, the sire of performers with $82.7 million earned. His mother was Ruby Tuesday DNA, a $1.4 million producing dam. His maternal grandfather was the great Peppy San Badger, whose daughters produced the winners of more than $44 million.
Hydrive was Ruby Tuesday DNA’s top earner. As a 3-year-old owned by Dave and Georgia Husby, he was the Open Reserve Champion at the 2006 NCHA Futurity in Fort Worth, Texas, under the steady hand of Allen, a native New Zealander and NCHA Riders Hall of Fame inductee who has earned more than $5 million.
In 2007, during Hydrive’s 4-year-old season, Plummer’s family reportedly acquired him for $1.7 million, an amount Plummer disclosed last week.
As a sire, his impact is international.
Plummer called Hydrive, “without question, the most dominant breeding stallion in Australia over the past 10 years,” noting that the horse had sired 185 registered Australian Quarter Horses and “probably many dozen Australian Stock Horses, as well.”
He has made an impression in Brazil, too. Bingos Cat, a son of Hydrive’s, is reportedly among the all-time winners in the Land of the Palms.
Hydrive’s stamp is also on Plummer, who acknowledged that without the revenue Hydrive brought in, the Great Recession of 2008 would have been too much for his horse business to endure.
“This is a business to me,” Plummer said. “It’s hard not to try to think of him as inventory and a commodity-type aspect, because I have to. Then there are those who become part of the family. I can’t say I would never sell one of my horses because that’s my business and I have to. But there are some who supersede that … they become a part of you, no matter what. He was one of those.”
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