WR This Cats Smart has a dominating presence at Western performance horse events, and the 2020 National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Celebration of Champions was no exception. The Equi-Stat Elite $13 Million Sire was well represented by top-notch contenders.
Among the many “WR” offspring showcased at the Fort Worth, Texas, show were three who advanced to the Open Two Rein finals in pursuit of a World title. Smokin Smart Cat, Sinfully Smart Cat and SJR Smart Dancer all proved why their sire is among the industry’s leaders.
Smokin Smart Cat (out of She Smokes Smart x Senors Lil Brudder) led the preliminary round with a composite of 295.5 (146.5 rein/149 cow), followed closely by Sinfully Smart Cat (out of Sinful Style x Docs Stylish Oak), who trailed by merely a half-point at 295 (145.5 rein/149.5 cow).
When the dust settled after the Open Two Rein finals, Sinfully Smart Cat emerged victorious with a 214 in the rein work and an incredible 226 down the fence. SJR Smart Dancer, a son of the Like A Diamond mare Like A Sundance, was crowned the Reserve World Champion with a 435.5 (214 rein/221.5 cow).
Sinfully Smart Cat, whose lifetime earnings totaled $42,937 before arriving in Fort Worth, added $6,477 to his bankroll with his World title. The 7-year-old gelding was piloted to the top by Wade Reaney, who has taken notice as WR This Cats Smart has climbed up the sire ranks.
“I have judged a bit, watched a bunch of other WR This Cats Smart horses and competed against two in this [Open Two Rein] final, and they are really good cow horses,” he said, commending Sinfully Smart Cat for his willingness to work and competence as a competitor. “These horses need to be overachievers because it takes quite a horse to handle the cows. WRs are the perfect horse for it. They are so athletic and so physical. They are always thinking, looking for something to do.”
Rebecca Sternadel, who guided SJR Smart Dancer to second place for a $5,066 payday, classifies her own gelding as an overachiever who is honest and enjoys showing. The earner of more than $26,000 came recommended as a long yearling by 2017 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Champion Jake Gorrell.
“The horse looked at me when I looked at him, and he kept paying attention to me,” Sternadel recalled. “It was his attention that attracted me. He’s very cow smart but also very smart at showing.”
SJR Smart Dancer, who finished third in the race for a year-end NRCHA Open Two Rein National Championship, has done so well for Sternadel that she plans to breed Like A Sundance to WR again for a full sibling.
“They take training well and retain the information,” she explained of WR This Cats Smart’s offspring. “They are overachievers so you can’t overdo it, or their feelings will get hurt. I really enjoy them, and they have been great horses to learn with.”
WR This Cats Smart, who is owned by Wagonhound Land & Livestock and stands at The Four Sixes, also had offspring advance to the World Show finals in the: Limited Open Bridle; Non-Pro Bridle; Non-Pro Two Rein; Open Hackamore; Non-Pro Hackamore; Non-Pro Limited; and $1,000 Non-Pro Limited. In addition, Shine Smarter (out of Shiney Tari x Shining Spark) qualified for the World’s Greatest Horseman finals, where she carried Chris Dawson to ninth.
Thanks to the cow sense and intelligence WR has passed on to his offspring since 2004, he remains prolific in both the cutting and reined cow horse industries. His 615 money-earners average $21,270, and his top 31 performers boast records in excess of $100,000 each.
Cow horses need grit, and the professionals agree that the WRs have got it.