Smart Chic Olena in 1999. • Photo by John Brasseaux.

From the Archives: Smart Chic Olena

At the turn of the century, versatile stallion Smart Chic Olena’s career as a sire was taking off, buoyed by waves of successful offspring. The late stallion, who died in June 2012, now stands at $14 million in progeny earnings, with foals competing in cutting, reining, reined cow horse, barrel racing and team roping — often doubling or tripling up in disciplines.

Smart Chic Olena’s Performance

Foaled in 1985, “Chic” was initially trained as a cutting horse by Bill Glass, who advanced to the semifinals of the 1988 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Open, where he lost a cow.

According to Equi-Stat, $5 million rider Bill Freeman and Glass both competed on the stallion in 1989. Chic made a statement with Glass that year when he placed third in the NCHA Super Stakes Open, scoring a 220 and earning more than $32,000.

Smart Chic Olena and Dell Bell competing together in 1990. • Photo by Don Shugart.

The stallion, owned at the time by The Venturous Five Partnership, sustained an injury to his hock in his stall. EQui-Stat Elite $3 Million Breeder Jim Babcock saw an opportunity with the stallion.

Babcock formed The Smart Ones Partnership, which was able to purchase Chic for $40,000 and have enough funds left to promote him as a stallion.

Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Rider Dell Bell teamed up with Chic under the new ownership and together, the duo earned more than $43,000 in the cutting pen during the stallion’s 5-year-old year, including the 1990 American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Senior Cutting World Championship and AQHA High-Point Cutting title. All told, Chic earned $113,604 as a cutting horse.

Babcock then pivoted his focus for the stallion, sending the then-8-year-old cutter to reining trainer Craig Johnson. Johnson and Chic garnered accomplishments such as the 1993 AQHA Senior Reining World Championship and 1993 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Open Reserve World Championship.

Smart Chic Olena and Craig Johnson. • Photo from the QHN archives.

Chic’s final year of competition was 1994. He briefly returned to the cutting pen with Randy Butler, earning $2,376 in 1994 with appearances at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and weekend cuttings throughout Texas.

Smart Chic Olena’s Genetics


Bred by Emily Woodall of Dallas, Chic was sold as a weanling to The Venturous Five Partnership of Arlington, Texas, according to the AQHA.

Sired by Equi-Stat Elite $42 Million Sire Smart Little Lena, Chic was primed to be a cow-smart performer.

On the bottom side, dam Gay Sugar Chic boasts progeny earnings of $401,895, with Chic topping the list. Miss Elan, a 1981 mare sired by Doc O’Lena, sits in second place with $100,814 in earnings.

Gay Sugar Chic is out of Gay Bar King, an NCHA money-earner and AQHA Performance Register of Merit (ROM) recipient. Gay Bar King is by Three Bars, a Thoroughbred that entered the AQHA Hall of Fame after his offspring deemed him an influential Quarter Horse sire. Gay Bar King is out of Gay Widow, an AQHA Champion who earned a superior in halter and money in reining.

Smart Chic Olena’s Legacy

According to the AQHA, Chic’s number of registered foals totals 2,077. Equi-Stat lists the stallion as having 1,037 performers who have won money in the show pen.

The AQHA shows 15 foals by Chic registered in 2019, meaning his prepotency as a sire has stretched nearly three decades (1991-2019), partially thanks to frozen semen reserves. With foals performing in so many disciplines, Chic proved himself as an all-around sire who possessed the ability to pass his versatility to his progeny.

Chic’s leading earner is reiner and Equi-Stat Elite $6 Million Sire Smart Spook, who boasts $405,650 in lifetime earnings. The 2001 stallion out of Sugarplum Spook (by Grays Starlight) was the 2004 NRHA Futurity Open Champion with Equi-Stat Elite $6 Million Rider Shawn Flarida.

His second-leading performer is Olena Oak (Fritzs Oak E Doakie x Doc’s Oak), a reined cow horse competitor who also found his way into the reining and cutting pen. Olena Oak is hailed as the highest-earning horse in the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) with $376,636 of his $381,390 lifetime total earned in that sport.

Chic’s other two $300,000-plus earners include Chics Magic Potion (out of Remedys Magic Potion x Remedys Reply) and A Chic In Time (out of Paula Tari x Tari Glo).

There is no doubt Chic made a lasting impact on the Western performance industry when he showed that competing at a high level in multiple disciplines was possible. He sealed his place in the record books even more when he went on to sire versatile get who have succeeded in disciplines across the board.

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