With 22 horses in the finals, the Breeder’s Invitational Derby Open promised to be a good show.
The finals were full of talented horses, including last year’s National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Open Champion All Spice and NCHA Futurity Non-Pro Champion Fiddle And Steel, as well as Gingersnaps, this year’s Arbuckle Mountain Futurity 4-Year-Old Open Champion. It was the latter horse, piloted by Morgan Cromer from the second draw, who went home with the Championship and a check worth $50,155 after marking a 226.
Riding from the top of the bunch is intimidating for some, but Cromer was excited because it meant she had a shot at better cattle. Her first cow with was a bit stronger than she expected, but Gingersnaps was up to the task in the finals held May 29 at Expo Square in Tulsa, Oklahoma,
“I was maybe a little bit timid of getting up there, and I cut more cow probably than I expected to cut,” Cromer said. “That grey cow was a lot, but she [Gingersnaps] handled it really well, and it started off a really strong run with a lot of difficulty.”
For her second cut, Cromer went looking for her favorite cow. It had ended up in the very back of the herd, but she decided to cut it anyway. Though that took some time, the cow handled better than she expected, adding more points to their run.
A cow volunteered for their third cut, but Cromer passed it over for the one behind it, finishing their run on a strong note.
“She just really got a hold of that first cow and kind of bailed me out of a jam because I cut too much cow, and she held it anyway,” Cromer said of Gingersnaps. “She kind of handles all different types of cattle, so that’s more credit to her than me on that.”
Gingersnaps is from the first crop of NCHA Horse of the Year Smooth Talkin Style and out of Catnaps (by High Brow Cat). She’s one of three money earners out of her dam, who also produced National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Reserve Co-Champion Snapdragons (by Gunnatrashya).
Bred by Flying V Ranch, Gingersnaps is owned by Max and Lori Rhyner’s 7R Ranch in Jackson, Wyoming. The mare was started by Russ Miller and has been in Cromer’s program since she was 3 years old.
“She’s got the biggest heart,” Cromer said. “She tries harder than any of them. She’s a little bitty horse, but she’s cow smart. She doesn’t care what I cut her; she’s going to try to hold it. That’s a huge deal.”
Cromer thanked her help in Tulsa — Paul Hansma, Casey Green, Clint Allen and Russ Westfall. She and Gingersnaps were planning to next head to Las Vegas for the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association Core Balance Derby and Classic/Challenge.
Finishing in reserve were Spots Hottist (Hottish x Reyann Hickory x Dual Rey) and Jesse Lennox, who marked a 224.5. The stallion, who was bred by Lone Oak Performance Horses LLC, collected $26,695 for owner Rocking P Ranch LLC.