Sixteen Carat Cat entered the John Justin Arena with an attentive expression and willingness to handle any cow that came out of the gate. When the dust settled, the Beechfork Ranch-bred and -owned mare scored a 222.5, good for a composite of 649.5 after a 220.5 in the herd work and a 206.5 in the reining.
That performance earned Sixteen Carat Cat $12,426 and the Level 1 Limited Open Championship at the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit Futurity®, presented by Metallic Cat.
The red roan mare, guided under the hands of Geoffrey “Spud” Sheehan, has earned more than $28,800 in her short career.
“She’s always been really simple, really good. She cuts good, she reins good, she went down the fence good,” Sheehan said.
As the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity prelims unfolded, Sheehan was admittedly unsatisfied with his performance in the reining pen and determined to make up ground in the standings.
“I didn’t do very good in the reining, so I was [thinking], ‘You know what, I cut. That’s how I make a living, so I need to make up some points and show her like I would show a horse to make the finals, so I’m going to cut the cows I know I can cut,’” Sheehan explained.
His plan paid off, and he marked the second-highest preliminary herd score of all the open riders, earning Sixteen Carat Cat (Metallic Cat x All That N Cat x High Brow Cat) an additional $4,000. The duo also advanced to the Intermediate and Limited Open finals.
“To me, [reining is] not really that it’s difficult — it’s different. And it’s something simple that’s very overwhelming,” Sheehan said.
Although he may feel less at home in the middle of a reining pattern compared to the middle of the herd, the Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Rider is making a name for himself in the reined cow horse world.
There were co-reserve champions in the Futurity Level 1 Limited Open. Suns Out Guns Out (Chics Playgun x Clark Jones Lass x Clark Jones), bred by Kevin Bennett of Heyburn, Idaho, accumulated a 646 (215 herd/218 rein/213 cow) with owner Alexandra Ciavardelli of Collegeville, Pennsylvania, for a $8,339 paycheck.
That composite was matched by One Time Up North (One Time Pepto x Our Special Kitten x High Brow Cat) thanks to a 208 in the herd, a 220.5 in the reining and a 217.5 down the fence. Ridden by Chet Martin and bred by Lone Oak Performance Horses, One Time Up North is owned by Up North Performance Horses. They also picked up an $8,339 check.