Snapdragons and Zane Davis improved throughout the week to snatch the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Tres Osos Cow Horse Derby Championship with a 663.5 composite.
For Snapdragons’ owner Shane Law, the victory was validation for a gamble he had taken on the little stallion nearly four years ago.
“I have always wanted to have a really nice horse,” Law said. “But everybody told me I was stupid. Stupid that I bought Snapdragons as a little colt, saying ‘He’s a dink, he’s not going to ever make it.’
“But I never lost sight of [my goal].”
A 217 in the herd, 221 in the reining and a 225.5 down the fence on Monday night at Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas, gave Snapdragons a half-point margin over reserve champions Nineteen Ten (Hickory Holly Time x Lil Miss Shiney Chex x Shining Spark) and Kelby Phillips.
The newest title has pushed the son of Equi-Stat Elite $4 Million Sire Gunnatrashya into the $100,000 club, with lifetime earnings standing at $111,099. Not bad for a horse Law says he bought for less than $10,000 as a yearling from longtime rodeo friend R.J. Chambers.
Snapdragons was Law’s first reined cow horse, and a good one at that.
The stallion’s first big moment was at last year’s NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity, where he and Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Rider Davis became Open Reserve Co-Champions, winning $80,000.
“He’s always been easy to train and come along the way a horse should without resistance,” Davis said. “He’s really good in the reining and the fence work.”
Known as “Circle” in the barn for his circular star, the stallion’s origin story is one of luck and timing. His dam Catnaps (by High Brow Cat) was originally slated to be bred that year to Reyzin The Cash. When that top-flight cutting stallion was unavailable due to a show, Law said a breeding to National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity Open Champion Gunnatrashya was offered as a replacement.
With more than $4 million in progeny earnings in the reining pen, Gunnatrashya is one of the top reining sires in the country. Several years ago, the connections of the stallion owned by Arcese Quarter Horses decided to see if Gunnatrashya also could breed winners in cutting and reined cow horse shows.
So, they bred him to some mares with cow in their blood.
It was not a typical move, given how specialized the Western performance horse breeding industry has become. However, Chambers took the unconventional breeding and later sold the resulting colt to Law.
The pairing put Chambers, and now Law, on the leading edge of a very good thing: Gunnatrashya has not only sired more than $160,000 in cow horse winners in the past few years, but the resident of Oswood Stallion Station also holds the very unusual distinction of being a reining stallion that has also sired money-earning cutting horses ($46,166).
Growing up can be an awkward time for any youngster, and though Snapdragons grew up to be a fantastic show horse — Law said the colt wasn’t at his most handsome stage back when he bought him.
As a result, people tried to warn him off the purchase.
“Everyone said ‘You’re getting screwed, you got taken advantage of,’” he said. “And I said ‘It’s not your money that you’re spending. It’s my money that I’m spending.’”
According to Law, the whole endeavor was a gamble. But the dream of owning an excellent horse and stallion prospect was too tempting. He’s now jumped into the horse industry, and the stallion’s family, with gusto.
Humorously calling himself a “dumb cowboy from Idaho,” Law came out of retirement to drive semi-trucks again and pay for his horse habit. Now, he owns one full-sibling to Snapdragons, and two half-siblings by National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Horse of the Year Smooth Talkin Style. They’re 3 and 2 years old, respectively.
Next up for Snapdragons and Davis is the NRCHA Stallion Stakes, where Law hopes his beginner’s luck will continue to hold.