A Gritty Kitty and Hope Mills are the 2021 NRCHA Stallion Stakes Non-Pro Champions. • Photo by Primo Morales.

A Gritty Kitty & Hope Mills Win NRCHA Stallion Stakes Non-Pro

Everyone needs to start their earning record somewhere, and A Gritty Kitty made a statement by starting hers at the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Stallion Stakes.

With a composite of 653.5 (217 herd/216.5 rein/220 cow), the mare and owner Hope Mills won the Non-Pro Stakes by a large margin – outpacing Reserve by 5.5 points. They earned $8,208 for their efforts, a respectable start to A Gritty Kitty’s show record.

Their partnership is relatively fresh, since Wills purchased the mare in February just prior to this year’s World’s Greatest Horseman event.

“I went and tried her, and I loped her around for half an hour and said ‘Yep, this is it,’” Mills said. “I liked the dam and that’s part of why I [bought her]. I’m looking for broodmare prospects and her dam is pretty good. I usually buy mares. I get along really good with mares. We mesh together, we’re both mare-y.”

Her dam is good indeed. A Gritty Kitty is out of Scooters Daisy Dukes, a daughter of Dual Smart Rey whose foals have dominated the NRCHA Stallion Stakes in recent years. In addition to having this year’s Non-Pro Champion, she also is the mother of NRCHA Stallion Stakes Open Champion Hazardouz Material (by Metallic Cat). 

The progeny that put Scooters Daisy Dukes on the map, Scooter Kat (by Kit Kat Sugar), won two straight NRCHA Stallion Stakes while banking an incredible $264,523 in lifetime earnings. As of this weekend, Scooter Kat ranked as the sixth-richest reined cow horse recorded in the Equi-Stat database.

 “She’s super sweet and goes with the flow. She wanted to please me at the show, and she was pretty tired by the end of it,” Mills said.

Tired or not, A Gritty Kitty lit up when she saw her lop-ear cow step out of the gate during her cow work. The daughter of the Chiquita Cat, a winning cutter sired by High Brow Cat, put things into high gear to stop the spirited cow down the fence, and circled at a gallop. Mills excitedly praised A Gritty Kitty at the conclusion of the run. 

“I’m just so happy to see it all come together for that mare. You just try your best every time you go in there and hope it works out,” Mills said. 

Mills thanked her husband Dustin Mills along with her parents Dan and Shawna Miller. She thanked her rig driver Robert Smith as well.

“I think [cow horse] is so much fun. The drive of mastering all three events, it’s not just one, you have to be good at all three. You’re always learning something new and pushing yourself,” Mills said.