For the 6/7-Year-Old Amateur riders, weeks of competition at the Kit Kat Sugar National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Super Stakes came down to two sets of talented cutters who threw down Thursday, April 15 under the storied lights of Will Rogers Coliseum.
In the end, the judges couldn’t separate two outstanding horse-and-rider teams at 221.5: Austria Arnold and Cat About Houston and Jessica Banuelos Feiner and Metallic Mania.
“I’m grateful to have this this opportunity to show, I’m really glad they did the seven-year-old [horses] and we had an opportunity to show again,” Arnold said of the son of Equi-Stat Elite $41 Million Sire Metallic Cat. “To me [Cat About Houston] is so special. I had never won in the Will Rogers Coliseum before this horse. He allows me to use him and he’s so consistent. It’s such a gift and a blessing to show him, I’m really at a loss for words to describe what he means to me,” Arnold said.
Arnold has enjoyed great success with Cat About Houston, winning with him previously at Will Rogers at the NCHA Summer Spectacular, and the gelding is his mother’s second-leading earner with more than $170,000 on his record.
Next on the roadmap for Arnold and Cat About Houston, or “Stick”, is the Breeders Invitational, although according to her, every ride on the gelding out of millionaire producer Bet On Houston (by Peptoboonsmal) at this point is “a bonus.”
Co-Champion Metallic Mania, another 7-year-old son of Metallic Cat, was originally purchased as a practice horse, but according to Feiner, the roan gelding’s work ethic and attitude earned a him place on the show string.
“We’ve really loved this horse from the beginning. We bought him as a practice horse and we just got to getting along with him so well that decided to show him,” she said of the horse out of Purdy Aristocrat (by Smart Aristocrat). “He showed us he was more than a practice horse.”
Feiner echoed Arnold’s approval of NCHA’s decision to allow 7-year-olds to compete in the Super Stakes in 2021. The NCHA Executive Committee made the decision to allow 7-year-olds to compete in aged events, rather than capping it at age 6 as is customary, because of the impact of COVID-19 on the show season.
Many events last year, including the 2020 NCHA Super Stakes, were canceled due to restrictions on large gatherings.
“For me to have this opportunity to show him this year, now that he’s 7 is awesome because he’s one of the most athletic horses that I’ve had and he’s just been so fun,” Feiner said.
Metallic Mania goes by “Banchi”, and is in training with Feiner’s brother Adan Banuelos. Feiner thanked Banuelos and Wesley Galyean for the training they had done on Banchi.
Each horse earned $8,351.
The win pushed Metallic Mania’s lifetime record to more than $50,000. He is one of 20 earners out of his dam, who has foaled the winners of more than $775,000.