As thrilled as Gusti Buerger was to win the Limited Open at the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit Futurity, it wasn’t the thing she was the most proud of at the show in Fort Worth.
The trainer from King Hill, Idaho, said she probably was even more proud that she and Sweet Voodoo Mama also made the Open finals.
“I think making the Open finals [meant the most],” she said, standing next to the mare by Shiners Voodoo Dr after the finals on Saturday, Oct. 24. “Just the consistency that my horse and I had this week and just making it there, you know?”
Their composite of 651.5 (216 herd/218 rein/217.7 cow) won the Limited Open, placed in a tie for third in the Intermediate Open and in a three-way tie for tenth in the Open.
In all, they earned more than $44,000 for owner/breeder Joyce Pearson’s J Pearson TTEE JWP TR.
Buerger had ridden Sweet Voodoo Mama for some time, but became a team with her in the last few months when the horse’s planned Snaffle Bit Futurity partner, NRCHA Hall of Famer Annie Reynolds, was unable to make the show.
“This horse was actually supposed to be Annie Reynolds’s Snaffle Bitter this year, and she ended up having to have eye surgery and she wasn’t able to show her,” she said. “She is a really great little mare. She’s super sweet and she tries so hard. Sometimes she tries too hard almost, you know. That would be her only flaw.”
Though the mare is really good at reining, Buerger said it’s the cow work that the palomino really loves.
“She stops huge, and she’s definitely a show pony,” she said. “She always shows up on show day, she’s there for you, and she’s a huge fence horse.
“If you just trust her, she’s going to go do it.”
Sweet Voodoo Mama
Sweet Voodoo Mama hails from a female family that Pearson and her daughter, Reynolds, have nurtured for years.
Sweet Voodoo Mama’s dam, Very Smart Sweethart, is by Very Smart Remedy and out of a mare Reynolds rode to the 1998 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Non-Pro Championship, Magical Lena.
Once retired to broodmare duty, Magical Lena became the mother of 16 money-earning performers who have so far compiled an Equi-Stat record of more than $656,000.
Sweet Voodoo Mama’s sire, Shiners Voodoo Dr, was a reining horse whose sons and daughters have earned more than $1.3 million in reining, but he also has sired working cow horses. Before the Snaffle Bit Futurity fathered winners of nearly $100,000 in working cow horse events.
Sweet Voodoo Mama will be his leading earner in the discipline.