junie wood and john mitchell
Junie Wood & John Mitchell • Photo by Hart Photos

Junie Wood, NCHA Open Horse of the Year, Laid to Rest

Just two weeks after her dam’s death, 2014 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Open Horse of the Year Junie Wood was laid to rest. She was 10 years old.

“She was diagnosed with kidney disease a few weeks back and unfortunately we had to make this tough decision,” owner Slate River Ranch announced on Facebook this morning.

Junie Wood’s dam, Tuffs Junie (Tuff Lena x Candy Quixote x Doc Quixote) — a millionaire producer whose offspring record also includes Equi-Stat Elite $5 Million Sire Woody Be Tuff and at least 12 other money-earners — died just two weeks earlier. The 31-year-old mare owned by Craig and Janet Crumpler was humanely euthanized on March 26.

Junie Wood: The Performer

Junie Wood was a spectacular performer from the start. The daughter of Nitas Wood debuted at the 2013 NCHA Futurity, where she won the Non-Pro with breeder and then-owner Craig Crumpler.

The momentum only built from there.

Slate River Ranch’s Glade Knight bought Junie Wood immediately following her Futurity win. The 2010 sorrel mare never gave the Equi-Stat Elite $6 Million Owner reason to doubt the purchase; she garnered more than $221,000 in the next 12 months alone with trainer John Mitchell and Knight sharing time in the saddle.

In her derby year, she secured titles like the NCHA Super Stakes Open Championship and NCHA Summer Spectacular Derby Open Reserve Championship. The next season she nearly cleared the $200,000 mark in year-end earnings again. She wrapped up 2015 with $198,183 in the coffers and six first-place finishes — including another NCHA Super Stakes Open title — on her annual Equi-Stat record.

At the close of her limited-age career in 2016, Junie Wood had been to the pay window 35 times and accumulated $540,438 in earnings, according to Equi-Stat. She picked up wins at major aged events across the country, ranging from the Abilene Spectacular and Bonanza to the Brazos Bash and Southern Cutting.

But Junie Wood wasn’t done yet.

Mitchell’s daughter, Jade, climbed in the saddle to show Junie Wood in Youth competition several times in 2017 and 2018. The duo added another $1,555 to the mare’s bankroll and secured the 2017 NCHA Junior Youth World Finals Show Championship with a 217.5, 224 and 220.

The Future

Junie Wood retired in late 2018 with $541,993 to her credit in Equi-Stat. She has seven registered offspring according to American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) records, the oldest of which is 4.

Ethell, a daughter of Equi-Stat Elite $34 Million Sire Metallic Cat and Junie Wood’s only performance-age foal, boasts earnings of $12,500-plus. The next two Junie Wood offspring eligible to show are 3-year-olds Lil Ricky (by Meteles Cat) and Mamaz Boy (by Metallic Cat).

Junie Wood also has registered foals by Stevie Rey Von and Im Countin Checks.

“This special mare has been such an assets [sic] to the ranch in so many ways,” Slate River Ranch posted following Junie Wood’s death. “She will be dearly missed by all but her legacy will live on through her offspring.”