color-me-smart-stallion
Color Me Smart will soon be inducted into the APHA Hall of Fame. • Photo by Christy Burleson.

Color Me Smart To Be Honored by APHA

Color Me Smart (PT) has always had a way of standing out in a crowd.

The bay tobiano son of the great Smart Little Lena made a splash in the cutting pen, becoming a champion, and went on to become one of the most influential sires in the history of Western performance Paints. Soon, Color Me Smart will be in the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) Hall of Fame.

Now owned by three of his biggest fans, the 1991 stallion out of APHA champion cutting mare Doxs Painted Lady (PT) (by Doc’s Solano) will be honored Feb. 29 during the 2020 APHA Convention at the Fort Worth Stockyards.

He will be joined by fellow 2020 Hall of Fame inductees Cactus Christy (PT) — the mother of three National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) open performers — as well as decorated Paints Scarlet Print (PT) and Olympia Joe (PT).

Buying “Color”

Color Me Smart co-owner Linda Werner was thrilled with the recognition for the stallion she and friends Michelle Sly of Coopersburg, Pennsylvania, and Ann Jones of Fort Worth, joined forces to buy at the 2014 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Summer Spectacular Sale. The hammer fell at $9,200 for the stallion, who they bought in the name of Iconic Color LLC.

Buying the horse was an act of love, a way to make good on a promise Werner made to the horse when she visited him years before at a Weatherford, Texas, breeding farm. “Color” was in fine physical shape that day, but Werner — who was a huge fan of the horse and had bred to him in the past — felt he looked sad.

“I made a promise to him that day and I said, ‘Color, I don’t know how but some day, some way, you’re going to be mine,’” recalled Werner, who cares for the horse at her ranch in Black Forest, Colorado. “‘I’m going to love you and respect you for the horse that you are. And, you’re going to live out the rest of your days, and you’ll have your forever home with me.’”

Paint Powerhouse

Color Me Smart had already distinguished himself in and out of the cutting pen by then, having won the 1997 APHA Cutting World Championship and an APHA Register of Merit. Ridden by Dell Bell and Ascencion Banuelos, the horse bred by Sue Stevens of Azle, Texas, earned more than $9,700 in the cutting pen with accomplishments such as making the Derby Open finals of the Abilene Spectacular.

Werner, Sly and Jones didn’t buy the stallion as a breeding prospect, but he has continued to add to his legacy as a sire by servicing a limited book of mares each year. He stands at Premier Breeding Services in Kiowa, Colorado, during the breeding season, returning to Werner’s ranch to roam his paddock the rest of the year. He also receives visitors; recently a Canadian girl and her family came to meet the stallion, Werner said.

“When she walked into the barn and I slid open the stall, and she got to go in there and actually be in the stall with him and pet him and take pictures, I mean, she was in tears,” Werner recalled of the family, which took a vacation just to visit the horse. “It was like a dream come true.”

$3 Million & Counting

To date, Color Me Smart has sired the earners of more than $3.1 million and his foals have earned 4,814 APHA points and 582 Paint Alternative Competition (PAC) performance credits.

According to Equi-Stat, his leading earners as a sire are: J R Playboy By Color (PT) ($271,515, out of Pampa Playgirl x Freckles Playboy); JR Colord Rambo (PT) ($232,788, out of Doc Leo Berry x Doc Bee Leo); and JR Red Diablo (PT) ($175,440, out of Little Budha Doll [PT] x Doc Doll [PT]).

In addition to his success as a sire, Color Me Smart has also made an impact on the Western performance horse industry through his daughters and as a paternal grandsire. His daughters have foaled the earners of more than $692,000, and he frequently appears in the extended pedigree of many top Paint cutters and reined cow horses.

His impact was crystal clear in the 2019 APHA World Show cutting. Of the 10 championship classes, Color Me Smart was in the pedigree of seven champions and six reserve champions. Three of the titles were won by his sons.

Werner rode Color’s granddaughter, Cataluna (PT), to the Non-Pro Cutting Challenge Reserve Championship. Having the opportunity to be part of Color Me Smart’s life and seeing his impact on the breed has meant the world to her.

“My whole thing is I did it because I love the horse,” she said. “I made a promise; I wanted to keep it and give him his forever, and let him know he’s loved and respected for the horse that he is. That was my biggest thing. “I guess I wanted that little piece of legend.” 

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