Last year’s National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Open Champion and two NCHA Horses of the Year were recently sold privately in a blockbuster deal.
The sale, which was announced on the official Facebook page for Smooth Talkin Style, saw the EquiStat Elite $1 Million Sire and 2015 NCHA Open Horse of the Year selling to Teton Ridge Ranch. The deal also included 2020 NCHA Futurity Open Champion All Spice and 2020 NCHA Open Horse of the Year Twice In Santiago.
A representative for Teton Ridge Ranch confirmed the stallion and mares were purchased by the ranch, which was created by businessman Thomas Tull. It bought Smooth Talkin Style and All Spice from the partnership of Holmes & Hill. Twice In Santiago was sold by her owner-breeder, Double Dove Ranch, which is owned by Gail Holmes.
Price was not disclosed.
Holmes said the decision to sell was a big one, and that she wasn’t looking to sell the horses when she was approached about a possible deal with Teton Ridge Ranch. A new player in the Western performance horse industry, Teton Ridge Ranch is described in press material as a “multi-platform brand devoted to the iconic American way of life and Western equine sports.”
It was recently announced that Teton Ridge would be the title sponsor of this year’s The Run For A Million horse show.
“What really got me on board on this situation is I felt like this buyer, who is new to the cutting horse industry but also is jumping into several different disciplines, had a vision that I was very much on board with, as it was explained to me,” Holmes said. “And I think it’s going to be tremendous for the whole industry.”
Dottie Hill, part of the Holmes & Hill partnership, said she had mixed emotions about the sale. She and her husband, Bobby, had worked alongside Holmes in recent years to launch Smooth Talkin Style’s breeding career.
Smooth Talkin Style was fast off the blocks in the breeding barn, with his first crop of foals reaching show age in 2020 and already propelling him to the status of EquiStat Elite $1 Million Sire.
“There’s someone out there who is trying to put together the best of the best, and we feel like we had the best of the best,” Hill said. “Now, all of that being said, was it hard? Of course. Very emotional, but business is business.”
Smooth Talkin Style
Bred by Double Dove Ranch, Smooth Talkin Style was the 2014 NCHA Futurity Open Reserve Champion with Lloyd Cox. The son of Smooth As A Cat and the blue hen mare Stylish Play Lena (by Docs Stylish Oak) won the NCHA Open Horse of the Year title in 2015, a campaign that included Derby Open Championships at the NCHA Super Stakes, Breeder’s Invitational and the Arbuckle Mountain Futurity show.
He made several other limited-age finals in 2015, retiring with an EquiStat record of $305,284.
As a sire, Smooth Talkin Style’s leading earner is Gingersnaps ($128,717), a mare who has won multiple major limited-age championships this year, including the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association (PCCHA) Derby.
He’s also had several winners in the reined cow horse discipline. At the DT Horses Western Derby, Smooth Talkin Style’s son SJR Talkin Diamonds was third in the Open and Smooth Outta Style was the Reserve Champion in the Intermediate Open. Teton Ridge Ranch actually won the 2021 Western Derby Open Championship with Hesa Dual Bet, a Bet Hesa Cat stallion ridden by Corey Cushing.
Smooth Talkin Style’s ability to sire winners in multiple disciplines was a big attraction for Teton Ridge, said Jeremy Barwick, agent for the sale.
“We were very interested in Smooth Talkin Style because of his ability to sire not only cutting, but also cow horse winners,” said Barwick, who also owns the breeding facility, Brazos Valley Stallion Station, that stands Smooth Talkin Style. “He also has some very promising foals coming up in the roping and barrel horse industry. We were looking for a sire for as many disciplines as possible which we feel is important in today’s market. To date he has sired offspring with earnings more than $1.2 million in only seven short months of competition.”
He said the plans are to continue to promote Smooth Talkin Style at the highest level. Dottie Hill and Gail Holmes said they both plan on being part of that by breeding to the horse nicknamed “Talker.”
“We are very thankful for the past Breeders, and we intend on keeping that relationship with those breeders in the future as well as bringing more people onto Team Talker,” Barwick said.
Holmes said Barwick, who also owns the Western Bloodstock Ltd sales company that conducts major horse sales in the NCHA and National Reined Cow Horse Association, was a big reason she felt comfortable going through with the sale.
“Both Dottie and I have long-standing relationships with Jeremy because obviously we sell a lot of horses at Western Bloodstock, but probably an even bigger thing is the relationship with Talker,” she said. “And, he’s got an awful lot of stallions out there and for him to identify this stud as a superb individual and convey that [to Teton Ridge], he had to have a lot of confidence in that horse in order to get this done.”
Top Class Mares
One of the three horses included in the sale, All Spice, is still competing in cutting events. She and trainer Adan Banuelos recently marked a 221.5 to tie for the lead in the first go-round of the NCHA Summer Spectacular Derby Open while listed in the draw as being owned by Teton Ridge Ranch.
The 2017 daughter of Once In A Blu Boon and out of Show Biz Kitty (by High Brow Cat) entered the NCHA Summer Spectacular with earnings of $346,420. Her career highlight so far has been winning the 2020 NCHA Futurity Open Championship with Banuelos. They also won the Derby Open Championship at this year’s Cattlemen’s Derby & Classic and finished second this year in a number of other major derbies.
All Spice is a full sibling to NCHA Futurity Open Reserve Champion Badboonarising ($$356,581) and a half-sibling to multiple limited-age event champion Rollz Royce ($353,872, by Dual Smart Rey). In all, her mother, Show Biz Kitty, has foaled the winners of more than $1.3 million, according to EquiStat.
Teton Ridge Ranch may ultimately have purchased three Horses of the Year: All Spice is currently in the lead for NCHA Open Horse of the Year. According to the NCHA’s website, she currently has 418 points – and a 76-point lead over the second-place horse – in the cumulative, year-long contest.
“All Spice was a great opportunity to add another phenomenal mare to our broodmare band,” Barwick said. “Adan will continue to show her throughout this year with hopes of winning Horse of the Year. She has a huge future as a broodmare for us with two foals coming in 2022.”
The third horse in the sale, Twice In Santiago, is now a broodmare but had an illustrious show career. She kicked off it off with the Open Reserve Championship at the 2019 NCHA Futurity. She and Banuelos went on to win the NCHA Open Horse of the Year title the following year, bringing her career total earnings to $276,587.
Like All Spice, Twice in Santiago is by EquiStat Elite $4 Million Sire Once In A Blu Boon and from a strong maternal family. Her mother, Twice As Reycy (by Dual Rey), was the 2003 NCHA Futurity Open Reserve Champion and is the grand-dam of 2016 NCHA Futurity Open Champion Second Spot ($464,447, by Spots Hot).