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The late Roosters Chicaroo was a champion reined cow horse, but her offspring excelled in many events. • Photo by Midge Ames.

Remembering Roosters Chicaroo, a Quirky Show Horse & Versatile Producer

Roosters Chicaroo was many things during her lifetime — a champion cow horse, incredibly versatile producer and a dream come true for long-time owners Jo Anne and Jim Carollo.

One thing she was not? Friendly.

The Carollos tried for 23 years to change her mind, from the time they bought her as a yearling at the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity sales to the day she died in late June in California, but the mare stuck to her guns and never did warm up to people.

They loved her anyway, quirks and all.

“Didn’t want to be caught, didn’t want to be brushed, didn’t want to be loved on; she just wasn’t friendly – to the day she died,” Jo Anne Carollo recalled. “She actually got a little easier [to catch] because she got arthritic, but she didn’t want any part of us.”

Carollo then laughed, admitting that the mare she rode to the 1999 National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Futurity Non-Pro Championship did eventually make one slight concession.

“She got to where she liked Jim better, because he’d take the rake and scratch her when he was cleaning her corral, scratch her belly and stuff,” she said. “But, she just never was friendly.”

Roosters Chicaroo wasn’t a people horse, but the Bob Greathouse-bred daughter of Gallo Del Cielo (Rooster) and out of Meerly Chic Olena (by Smart Chic Olena) made her mark on the Western performance horse industry.

“She really did fulfill our dreams in the show pen and breeding barn,” Carollo said.

Show Career

Carollo said the main goal in buying Roosters Chicaroo was to show her and then breed her to a bay tobiano stallion she and Jim had, A Master Plan (PT). Back then, Carollo was mostly showing reined cow horses in the non-pro ranks, but she was open to whatever Roosters Chicaroo was inclined to try.

“I was going to do whatever she was best at,” she said.

That turned out to be reined cow horse. She and Carollo won $60,000 in reined cow horse during a career that included several appearances in NRCHA Premier events.

The mare, who Carollo said was a little afraid of cattle, showed some grit with a tough cow during her final fence run at the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity.

“When I made my right turn the cow didn’t stop. You physically had to go and turn in front of him, and it just rolled over, hit me in the hip, it rolled over her hip and actually pushed her in that right turn,” Carollo recalled. “It kind of slammed her hip against the fence, and then she came out of there trying to catch up to circle it.”

In addition to their triumph in the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity, they finished third in the 2000 NRCHA Derby Non-Pro and also made the Non-Pro finals of the 2000 NRCHA Stallion Stakes and the 2001 NRCHA Derby.

Cutters, Reiners, Cow Horses & More

It’s only fitting that a mare bought at a reining sale who went on to have a successful career in reined cow horse would have versatile offspring. As of her death, Roosters Chicaroo’s 11 money-earning offspring had banked more than $446,000 while competing in several events.

Her leading earner, Hick Chicaroo, is a son of Doc’s Hickory who earned $210,227 in the cutting pen and then went to stud. He has an Equi-Stat sire record of $336,676 – $219,554 in cutting; $113,375 in reined cow horse and $3,654 in barrel racing.

Her next two leading earners were both cutters – NCHA Futurity Limited Non-Pro Champion and NCHA Super Stakes Unlimited Amateur Champion What A Rey ($104,860, by TR Dual Rey) and I Like It This Rey, a son of Dual Rey whose $81,967 in lifetime earnings include the NCHA World Finals Show Reserve Championship in the $15,000 Amateur.  

Jo Anne Carollo found success with many foals out of Roosters Chicaroo, including NCHA Super Stakes Unlimited Amateur Champion What A Rey (by TR Dual Rey). • Hart Photo.

However, the mare didn’t only produce cutters; her fourth-leading earner was cow horse Roo To Do ($16,300, by One Time Pepto) and she also had foals win in reining and barrel racing.

One of her daughters, Dual Rey Roo was ridden by Equi-Stat Elite $6 Million Rider Andrea Fappani in the first go-round of the 2009 National Reining Horse Association Futurity Open. The daughter of Dual Rey, one of the all-time leading cutting sires, went on to foal NRHA Futurity Level 3 Non-Pro finalist REF Roos Harley ($14,283, by Custom Harley).

She had three money-earning Paints by the Carollo’s sire, A Master Plan (PT), and Carollo said the mare’s Paint progeny have been shown in a variety of events. Rooster’s Chicaroo’s final performance foal, Roo To Do, recently made the Open finals with Russell Probert at the 2020 NRCHA Derby in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Legacy of Roosters Chicaroo

Carollo has two remaining progeny out of the mare – Rey On Top ($13,367, by Dual Rey) and One Cool Roo ($188, by One Time Pepto). Though both competed in Western performance horse events, Carollo currently shows them in California ranch versatility events.

They have their mother’s talent and Carollo said most had a few of her quirks, including most of them were a bit afraid of cattle. But, they differed from their mother in one significant way.

They were all friendly. Real friendly.

“They’re pocket ponies,” Carollo said. “You don’t wear white when you show them.”