Peponita and his show partner, Matlock Rose. • Don Trout photo.

From The Archives: Peponita

The nimble, black stallion Peponita was a fierce competitor throughout the 1970’s and 80’s. 

Bred by Douglas Lake Cattle Co. Ltd of Douglas Lake, BC, Canada, Peponita was sired by Peppy San and out of Bonita Tivo (by Poco Tivo). The stallion was the culmination of decades of specific breeding for cow sense and ranching versatility. 

Show Pen Success

Acquired by Matlock and Carol Rose of Gainesville, Texas in 1975 as a six-year-old, Peponita’s cutting reign was just beginning. Showing under the hand of famed trainer Matlock Rose, Peponita earned multiple American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) World Championships in cutting, as well as his National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Certificate of Ability. He also earned NCHA Bronze, Silver and Platinum awards.

In 1977, Peponita earned more than $38,000 in one year, qualifying him for the NCHA Hall of Fame. 

Peponita & Matlock Rose. • Don Trout Photo.

He went on to win the 1978 American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Senior Cutting World Championship and 1979 NCHA World Championship with Matlock Rose.

The pinnacle of achievement for Peponita in the show pen was in 1979, when the stallion broke his earnings record with $49,042. He retired from showing in that year at the age of ten, having amassed $126,221 in lifetime earnings, according to the NCHA. 

Peponita’s Siring Ability

When he stood at stud, Peponita commanded a hefty fee of $3,000 in 1983. When adjusted for 2020 inflation, the fee compares to a steep $7,000.

According to the AQHA, Peponita sired 729 foals over a 20-year period. His Equi-Stat record indicates he sired 170 money-earner performers who earned more than $2 million. His leading earner is Leanin Nita (Peponita x Measles Olena x Doc O’Lena) a 1983 mare who cut for 13 years and earned $222,454. Other top earners include NCHA Futurity Open Reserve Champion Mr Peponita Flo ($148,875), a son of the mare Brinks Hickory Flo (by Doc’s Hickory), who carried his father’s sire line by becoming a successful sire ($2.9 million in earnings) and maternal grandsire ($3 million in earnings).

Peponita proved to be powerful on the bottom side of a pedigree too, with his daughters producing winners of more than $3.4 million. 

His winning granddaughters including NCHA Horse of the Year Shakin Flo, a daughter of Mr Peponita Flo and out of Shakin Cee (by Colonel Freckles) who won $428,306 during her career. Among her many victories is the NCHA Futurity Non-Pro Championship with Sandi Bonelli. She carried the Peponita genetics on to another generation as a broodmare, foaling sons and daughters who won $610,847.

Among Peponita’s other granddaughters who made significant contributions to the Western performance horse industry is Hickorys Holly Cee, a mare by Doc’s Hickory and out of Miss Cee Nita (by Peponita) who was a successful show horse ($161,421 in earnings) but an even better producer. Hickorys Holly Cee has so far foaled the earners of more than $530,000, a list of winners topped by World’s Greatest Horseman Champion and hot young junior sire Hickory Holly Time ($231,020, by One Time Pepto).

Cee Mr Hickory, a West Coast-based stallion who is a full brother to Hickorys Holly Cee, has proven himself to be a capable sire in the reined cow horse realm with nearly $500,000 in progeny earnings and winners at NRCHA premier events.

Peponita’s extended career paired with the black stallion’s breeding shed successes make him a notable part of cutting horse history. Horses who still sport Peponita on their pedigrees possess some of the iconic genetics of cutting.