Every year, Sarah Dawson and her husband, Chris, have a draft to see who gets to show which 3-year-old futurity prospects they have in training at their facility in Perrin, Texas.
It was Sarah’s turn to pick first last year, and she immediately snatched up Selvarey as the No. 1 draft choice for the 2020 futurities.
It was partly a sentimental choice: The mare’s mother, Shine Smarter, helped launch her career. Dawson hoped the mare’s sorrel futurity prospect by the late Dual Rey could continue the winning legacy.
Selvarey did that and more on Saturday, Oct 24, in Fort Worth, winning the biggest prize of them all — the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Championship.
“It’s very special just because we all talk about having that one special horse who kicks our career off. That’s what that horse’s mom was to me,” Dawson said about the dam of the mare bred by her parents, Richard and Cheryl Winters. “Without her, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to ride what I ride today, and so to then have some success on one of her babies is amazing.”
Dawson was the first woman to win the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Championship since 1993, when Sandy Collier rode Miss Rey Dry to victory. They are the only women to win the prestigious title.
Dawson and Selvarey made it happen by getting stronger as the competition went along. They started with a 216 in the finals herd work, upped their game to a 220.5 in the reining and finished with the biggest fence run of the night, a 224.
The crowd in the Will Rogers Coliseum screamed during Dawson’s fence run, but the rider focused on the task at hand.
“In the midst of it, you’re just focused on your job and doing your job, and at the end of it you kind of critique it in your mind,” Dawson explained. “And, it’s like, how good of a run was it?”
The score was up to the judges, but when Dawson pulled Selvarey to a stop, she thought one thing — “Wow.”
“[I] wasn’t expecting that,” she said of the run. “So many things have to come together. You have to have the right cow at the right time and make the right decisions.”
The fence run gave them a winning composite of 660.5.
Selvarey’s owner, Sheri Jamieson, was on hand to cheer the mare to victory.
“That horse showed up for Sarah tonight,” Jamieson said. “She trained her; she has a big heart, big talent. Sarah has done an amazing job with her.
“She’s everything she was bred to be. She has a wonderful dam. I fell in love with her the first time I saw her, and all I can do is congratulate Sarah on a big, big win, and I’m so happy for her.”
Selvarey’s Family Tree
Dawson rode Shine Smarter to the 2015 Snaffle Bit Futurity Limited Open Championship, as well as the Intermediate Open Reserve Championship. She and the mare by WR This Cats Smart also finished fifth in that year’s Open.
Shine Smarter still continues to show — earlier at the event, she and Dawson finished second in the Open Bridle horse show class — and has so far amassed more than $169,000 in earnings.
Thanks to the $125,000 first-place prize, Selvarey’s $128,528 Equi-Stat record makes her Shine Smarter’s leading earner. The other performer on the mare’s record is 2017 mare Me And Mrs Jonez, who has earned $2,128.
Dawson’s other Futurity Open finalist this year, Smart Chic An Tari, hails from the same maternal family as Selvarey. The daughter of Smart Chic Olena is out of Shiney Tari, a Shining Spark mare that is the dam of Selvarey’s mother, Shine Smarter.
Smart Chic N Tari and Dawson finished fourth in this year’s finals with a 656 composite (219 herd/220 rein/217 cow).
There was a tie for the 2020 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Reserve Championship. Ricato Suave (Metallic Cat x Hip Hip Sue Rey) and Clay Volmer, who marked a 223 in the herd work, a 217.5 in the reining and a 216 down the fence, matched Snapdragons (Gunnatrashya x Catnaps) and Zane Davis’ 656.5 composite (215.5 herd/219 rein/222 cow) to split second. Each team won $80,000.