A horse shies from a Yellowstone banner during the Open Hackamore finals. Officials from the show pledged to pay each horse a winning paycheck due to the distraction. • QHN Photo

Yellowstone Banner an Open Hackamore Windfall

Every horse in the Open Hackamore finals at the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit Futurity will get a first-place paycheck after several horses were distracted by a banner for a Yellowstone film shoot.

Officials say a film crew hung the black banner emblazoned with the name of Parmount’s hit television series and brand across the back gate of the John Justin Arena just before the Open Hackamore horse show finals on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at the Will Rogers Memorial Center.

The Yellowstone banner was one of many hung around the edge of the arena, but unlike the others, it had not been in place for any of the previous classes or schooling sessions.

The Yellowstone banner that distracted some horses in the Open Hackamore finals was placed low on the far gate in the John Justin Arena at the Will Rogers Memorial Center. • QHN Staff Photo

That meant horses saw the banner for the first time as they ran straight for it during the rein work, which was a run-in pattern requiring a sliding stop facing where the banner was hung.

Several horses shied or attempted to veer away from the banner during the rundown and while performing circles later in the pattern.

To make up for the distraction, Yellowstone series co-creator and producer Taylor Sheridan offered to pay each of the 19 finalists $13,244 -— the amount that would’ve been awarded to the first-place horse, the NRCHA said.

Sheridan, who was at the event, announced the decision over the public-address system after the first set of the Open Hackamore.

“Paramount is not going to be happy with me,” Sheridan told the audience. “It’s clear the sign has affected the horse show, and we [need] to make it right. All the horses will receive a check for the winning purse.”

NRCHA President Corey Cushing said in a statement that the association appreciated Sheridan’s willingness to acknowledge what happened, and make amends to the contestants and owners.

“The banner that was placed in the arena by Taylor’s crew was opportune for Yellowstone, but unfortunately not for the horses showing,” said Cushing, who finished ninth in the class aboard SJR Diamond Rubicon.

The crew of Yellowstone filmed throughout the day on Wednesday, and leading Western performance stallion Metallic Cat — the Open Hackamore Champion’s sire — was brought to the event for the filming.

Jittery’s Victory

The Open Hackamore winner — the aptly named Jittery — was ridden by Erin Taormino to a composite of 441 (218 rein/223 cow). The red roan gelding is a son of Metallic Cat and the mare Jitters Brown (by Smart Little Lena).

Jittery is a half-brother to the winners of more than $500,000, including cutter Whiskeynadirtyglass ($184,892, by High Brow Cat).

As did everyone in the class, Jittery’s owner, Smith Cattle Co. Ltd., took home a winner’s paycheck of $13,224.