At 20 years of age, National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Amateur Champion and decorated youth competitor Wood Ya Wanna has moved to greener pastures.
The 2000 gelding was euthanized Sunday, April 19, following colic surgery.
Wood Ya Wanna’s caretaker, Jake James, a longtime employee for owner Julie Wrigley, said he would remember “Woody” for his mischievous attitude and hunger for horse treats.
“He was always a little bit of a wild man,” James said. “He liked to be out in the pasture, not in a stall. He wanted to be turned out and was a good babysitter to lots of yearlings.”
Woody was by Equi-Stat Elite $5 Million Sire Zack T Wood and out of Curly Gray Hair, a mare by Grays Starlight. His full sister Wood I Never earned more than $360,000 in the cutting pen and lived with Woody during retirement.
Love of Cutting
Woody racked up nearly $300,000 in the cutting pen, earning titles such as the 2003 NCHA Futurity Amateur Championship with owner Wrigley.
“[Woody] was a very big horse for a cutter,” James said. “Everybody always said, ‘How can that horse cut?’ and you put a cow in front of him he disappeared below you and moved.”
Frequent trips to the finals in limited-age events with Equi-Stat Elite $5 Million Rider Clint Allen gave Woody more than $125,000 in earnings in 2006. Allen said working near the Silverado on the Brazos arena made it easy to “just run up there on the weekends and show.”
Woody’s cool attitude and love of cutting qualified him for the 2007 NCHA Open World Finals, and he finished third in that year’s Open World Championship race with Allen.
“I don’t think he ever had a run where he didn’t try his hardest,” Allen remembered. “He was real low maintenance and easy to work. You could pull him from the trailer and go show him.”
After Woody’s limited-age event years, Wrigley’s generosity kept the gelding in the show pen, especially in Youth events at the NCHA Summer Spectacular in Fort Worth.
“Julie was always very accommodating and Woody loves to cut, so if a kid needed a horse to ride at the Scholarship Cutting or anything after his career [was over], she always offered him,” James said. “And everybody who was really looking to win was always coming for him.”
One of the industry’s most well-known memories of Woody was Tarin Rice’s 2007 NCHA Summer Spectacular Youth Scholarship Finals run, when Rice rode with a broken right tibia.
“That was probably one of the most memorable runs,” Allen said. “Tarin came out with his crutch in the morning, saddled him up and hobbled out to the arena with his crutch in one hand and the horse in the other.”
With a spur duct-taped to the white cast, Rice and Woody were prepared to make the best of the situation.
“We experimented what the best way to show was,” Rice said. “You couldn’t really fit a cast in a stirrup and if the stirrup was still on the saddle, then it was flopping around, so we just ended up taking the whole [stirrup] off.”
After laying down a blazing 229 and winning the scholarship cutting, it was apparent neither Rice nor Woody were slowed down by the slight adjustment.
“He was enjoyable. If he was a person, he would have been your best friend,” Rice said. “Thanks to Julie and thanks to Clint for the time I was able to be around him.”
According to James, Woody’s last years were spent in the pasture with Wood I Never in Sun Valley, Idaho, with elk trekking through the pasture every morning.
“He didn’t want to be caught. He would prefer no human contact. But once you got him caught he was sweet. He loved cookies,” James said. “We tried to provide the absolute best for him.”
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