Who are North America’s top reined cow horse trainers going to ride in the $150,000 Teton Ridge Invitational Fence Work Challenge at The Run For A Million?
Quarter Horse News set out to find out.
Trainers can ride whatever horse they want in the big show – there’s no requirement they commit to a specific mount beforehand. And, that means trainers with more than one prospect can wait until the last minute to decide which horse will give them the best shot.
Here’s the list of contenders for the class, which is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 20 at the South Point Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, Nevada:
Pedigree: 11G (One Time Pepto x Dual Nurse x Dual Pep)
Career Highlights: The 2014 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Champion and a finalist in two-rein competition at the 2017 NRCHA Stallion Stakes.
Cushing: “He’s very healthy. He’s very sound. Watching him and my boy [son Caleb rides him in Youth classes], you know, why not take a walk down memory lane? And, just knowing how he thinks and his ambition and what he could do … I don’t know, something weighs real heavy right there just because I know that he would never quit me — I know all of them would never quit me, but he’s just got that little extra power and snap … that kind of, whether you want to call it help finish the run [or it can] make a maneuver just that much better. “
Fast Fact: Good Time won the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity with Cushing, and then retired from competition in 2017, but recently returned to his former trainer when owner Lynne Wurzer gave the gelding to the Cushing family. For the past two years, Cushing’s son, Caleb, has ridden the gelding in Youth Limited classes – including at this summer’s DT Horses NRCHA Western Derby.
Pedigree: 08S (Smart Chic Olena x Shine Smartly x Shining Spark)
Career Highlights: NRCHA Open Two-Rein World Champion and winner of five AQHA World titles: 2013 Junior Working Cow Horse, 2015 Senior Ranch Riding, 2018 Amateur Working Cow Horse, 2018 Senior Working Cow Horse and 2019 Senior Ranch Riding.
Cushing: “He’s been a great horse for a long, long time.”
Fast Fact: Has a long and very diverse show career, competing at major reining and reined cow horse events, as well as in ranch riding classes.
Pedigree: 15S (Hottish x Sugars Smart Kitty x High Brow Cat)
Career Highlights: Won the 2020 Tres Osos Derby Open; Open Reserve Champion in the 2020 NRCHA Derby; and NRCHA Stallion Stakes and third in the 2018 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity.
Cushing: “Hott Rod is still a little bit young, but mighty … We’ve got big plans for him the next coming years.”
Fast Fact: Hott Rod is the leading reined cow horse earner for his sire, Hottish, the late EquiStat Elite $5 Million Sire.
Pedigree: 10S (One Time Pepto x Ruby Bagonia x Peppy San Badger)
Career Highlights: The 2014 NRCHA Hackamore Classic Open Champion and 2014 NRCHA Stallion Stakes Open Reserve Champion. He also earned the 2019 World’s Greatest Horseman Reserve Championship, and was a finalist in many top derby and open bridle events.
Fast Fact: His dam, Ruby Bagonia, was a cutting horse who is the mother of earners of more than $817,474 combined in cutting and reined cow horse, according to EquiStat.
Pedigree: 09S (Peptoboonsmal x Shes Icing Onthe Cat x High Brow Cat)
Career Highlights: 2017 CD Survivor Memorial Open Bridle Spectacular Champion, 2018 CD Survivor Memorial Intermediate Open Bridle Spectacular Champion, 2012 National Stock Horse Association Futurity Open Reserve Champion and the 2017 World’s Richest Stock Horse Open Reserve Champion.
Fast Fact: Brother Jackson began his career with Davis and then was sold to new ownership, and competed successfully for several years for trainer Ken Wold. The stallion competed at the AQHA World Show in cutting and working cow horse classes.
CSR Lay Down Sally
Pedigree: 11M (Dual Spark x Look AT Her Glo x CD O Cody)
Career Highlights: Won 2018 CD Survivor Memorial Bridle Spectacular and the Open Bridle Spectacular at the 2020 NRCHA Eastern Derby. Earned several reserves in the Open, and also earned many championships with owner Meredith Graber in Non-Pro and Non-Pro Limited competition.
Dawson: “She just seems like she gets better and better really. When you go to an event like that you just want to make sure you’ve got one you just … have all the belief in the world in. You want to have all the faith you can in them, so that when you call for that cow you don’t have any second thoughts about what they’re gonna kick out. You’re just like, ‘You just bring me all you got back there and we’ll see what we can do.’”
Fast Fact: Full sister to two-time AQHA World Champion rope horse and American Rope Horse Futurity Association Heeling World Champion Dual Patron, a winner of more than $79,558.
Pedigree: 14S (Dual Rey x Sheza Shinette x Shining Spark)
Career Highlights: 2019 AQHA Junior Working Cow Horse Reserve World Champion and Open Two-Rein Spectacular Champion at the 2020 NRCHA Eastern Derby.
Dawson: “The reason he’s backup is probably because it’s the first year he’s straight -up in the bridle. I showed him in the two-rein last year, he got his Supreme Reined Cow Horse and I just I haven’t shown him as much in one-hand, high-pressure situations. Every time I showed him, he’s tried to step up and tried to be good, and so I believe in him.”
Fast Fact: His dam, Sheza Shinette, was an accomplished show mare who went on to become the mother of the winners of more than $759,185 – including venerable bridle horse Hes Shinettes CD ($193,828, by CD Olena) and World’s Greatest Horseman Champion Heza Diamond Spark ($122,724, by Diamond J Star).
Travelin Miss Jonez
Pedigree: 13M (Travelin Jonez x Playin With Rubies x Lectric Playboy)
Career Highlights: 2017 NRCHA Celebration of Champions Cow Horse Derby Open Champion, 2018 NRCHA Stallion Stakes Open Reserve Champion and third place in the 2016 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Intermediate Open.
Dawson: “She’s a really pretty mare and I’m really excited about showing her. She can be really big in both the rein and the fence work. I’ve had her a long time and I’m excited about showing her.”
Fast Fact: Travelin Miss Jonez is the leading earner for her mother, Playin With Rubies, and her father, Travelin Jonez, a horse Dawson’s husband, Chris, piloted to championships such as the 2013 NRCHA Stallion Stakes and NRCHA Derby Open championships.
Lil Time Reymanising
Pedigree: 15S (One Time Pepto x Reymanising x Dual Rey)
Career Highlights: Won Open Two-Rein Spectacular and the Open Two-Rein class at the 2021 DT Horses Western Derby, 2020 NRCHA Eastern Derby Open Reserve Champion and third in the 2020 Tres Osos Cow Horse Derby.
Dawson: “He’s taken to the bridle really well, this is his first year in it … He acts like he really wants to like it. He’s real good in the reining and down the fence so I think he’ll be a good backup.”
Fast Fact: Full brother to Santiago Time, one of the contenders that trainer Nick Dowers is considering taking to The Run For A Million.
High Stressin Cat
Pedigree: 13G (WR This Cats Smart x Playguns Melody x Playgun)
Career Highlights: 2019 NRCHA Hackamore Classic Open Champion, 2020 NRCHA Derby Open Bridle Spectacular Champion and Open Bridle Champion at the 2020 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity.
Dowers: “High Stressin Cat can be really phenomenal in the reining and the fence work, and he’s just been a proven performer for a long, long time.”
Fast Fact: High Stressin Cat’s sire, WR This Cats Smart, competed in cutting but has proven to be a versatile sire. Of his more than $14.4 million in progeny earnings, WR This Cats Smart’s offspring won more than $10.3 million in cutting and more than $3.7 million in reined cow horse competition.
Pedigree: 14S (One Time Pepto x Reymanising x Dual Rey)
Career Highlights: 2019 Open Hackamore Champion at the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity, Derby Open Champion at the 2018 Idaho Reined Cow Horse Association Futurity show and Open Two-Rein Spectacular Champion at the 2020 NRCHA Stallion Stakes.
Dowers: “Santiago Time is kind of my younger bridle horse and he’s an exceptional fence horse. He’s not quite as solid in the bridle, but if I need him he’d be ready.”
Fast Fact: Santiago Time is one of at least three sons of EquiStat Elite $18 Million Sire One Time Pepto under consideration for at start in the Fence Run Invitational at The Run For A Million.
Pedigree: 13M (Metallic Cat x Sparking Train x Shining Spark)
Career Highlights: 2018 NRCHA Stallion Stakes Open Champion, 2019 NRCHA Open Hackamore World Champion and the 2020 NRCHA Stallion Stakes Open Reserve Champion.
Edsall: “I think she’s got an immense amount of stop and she can read a cow. She can read a cow going fast. And when you combine stop like that with being able to read a cow at that speed, she’s been an amazing fence horse for me.”
Fast Fact: Her biggest lifetime win, the NRCHA Stallion Stakes, took place at the same venue as The Run For A Million – the South Point Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Mr Comin In Hot
Pedigree: 15G (Mr Playinstylish x Lil Sally Cat x High Brow Cat)
Career Highlights: 2018 Colorado Reined Cow Horse Association Mid America Futurity Open Reserve Champion and a finalist at several major NRCHA events, including the World’s Greatest Horseman, and NRCHA Stallion Stakes.
Jones: “I’ve had him his whole career. The best thing is, I’m very familiar showing him and he has a lot of grit and a lot of stamina.”
Fast Fact: Owned by his breeders, Kit & the late Charlie Moncrief, Mr Comin In Hot is a son of their stallion, NRCHA Open Bridle World Champion Mr Playinstylish.
Remember the Magic
Pedigree: 14S (Very Smart Remedy x Magical Lena x Little Lenas Legend)
Career Highlights: Earned the Derby Open Reserve Championship at the 2018 Idaho Reined Cow Horse Association Futurity show and won the Derby Open Championship at the 2019 Dirt & Diamonds NRCHA Derby.
Johnston: “He’s very talented and very good minded. He’s pretty nice. I rode his full sister [Very Smart Choice}. I showed her three or four years and I can see a lot of similarities in her [and him]. She’s now a broodmare, Rockin BS owns her, so it’s pretty exciting to ride the full brother and feel the same amount of talent and the great mind that both of them have.”
Fast Fact: Johnston borrowed the ride on Remember The Magic thanks to trainer Jimmy Flores and owner Lucinda Lawton-Reuter for The Run For A Million. The stallion is one of 12 money-earning full siblings out of the blue hen mare Magical Lena, and the dozen earners have collectively won more than $526,755. Overall, Magical Lena’s total progeny earnings are nearing $700,000.
Smart Ladies Sparkle
Pedigree: 15M (WR This Cats Smart x Shiners Diamond Lady x Shining Spark)
Career Highlights: 2018 Colorado Reined Cow Horse Association Mid America Futurity Open Champion, the Derby Open Champion at the 2019 Colorado Reined Cow Horse Association Mid America Futurity show, 2020 National Western Stock Show Derby Open Champion and a finalist at multiple reined cow horse and ranching heritage events.
Koch: “[She’s] a little green in the bridle but she’s a real pretty mover, good down the fence and pretty decent in the reining. She’s actually my little boy’s horse; he rides her more than I do most of the time.”
Fast Fact: Full sister to 2018 NRCHA Derby Open Champion Shiners Diamond Cat, an earner of more than $142,706.
This Cats Sinful
Pedigree: 12M (WR This Cats Smart x Sinful Playgirl x Freckles Playboy)
Career Highlights: 2016 Sagebrush Slide Derby Open Champion, 2017 Colorado Reined Cow Horse Association Mid America Derby Open Champion and 2019 National Western Stock Show Open Bridle Spectacular Champion. Finalist in the World’s Greatest Horseman and several other reined cow horse and ranch horse events.
Koch: “I made the Worlds Greatest Finals on [her]; my wife shows her in the non-pro bridle, so she’s a solid horse to. We’ll take her with us and if we need her, we’ll have her with us.”
Fast Fact: Like Koch’s other horse, This Cats Sinful is a full sibling to an NRCHA Derby Open Champion. In her case, it’s the 2012 Open Champion Sinful Cat ($106,602).
Duals Lucky Charm
Pedigree: 13G (Dual Smart Rey x TRR Ms Pepcid Olena x Pepcid)
Career Highlights: 2016 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Champion, 2016 NSHA Futurity Open Champion, 2018 NRCHA Celebration of Champions Cow Horse Classic Derby Champion and was the Open Bridle Spectacular Champion at the 2020 NRCHA Stallion Stakes.
Phillips: I bought him as a 2-year-old and we’ve had him [in training for his owners] ever since. Won the Futurity on him and he’s finaled everywhere. He’s been a really consistent horse.”
Fast Fact: Duals Lucky Charm’s $272,503 in earnings ranks him fifth on EquiStat’s list of all-time money-earning reined cow horses.
Pedigree: 15S (Dual Rey x Shes Twice As Smooth x Smooth As A Cat)
Career Highlights:2020 Tres Osos Cow Horse Derby Open Reserve Champion, Derby Open Co-Champion at the 2020 Idaho Reined Cow Horse Association Futurity show and third place in the 2019 NRCHA Derby Open and the 2020 NRCHA Stallion Stakes Open.
Phillips: “Taylor Sheridan owns him. He’s big time in the reining, really good down the fence, and he’s been a good horse for [Sheridan].”
Fast Fact: Owned by Taylor Sheridan, co-creator of the hit TV series Yellowstone and the founder of The Run For A Million horse show. Stands at stud at the famed 6666 Ranch.
Pedigree: 13S (Bet Hesa Cat x Ginnin Attraction x Tanquery Gin)
Career Highlights: Won several ranching and ranching heritage championships, was the 2019 AQHA Senior Working Cow Horse Reserve World Champion and third in the 2018 NRCHA Hackamore Classic,
Rice: “He’s the only bridle horse I got. I called the 6666 [Ranch] and asked them, and they said ‘Get after it!’ He’s pretty automatic. He doesn’t ever cheat me and I can just put my hand down and let him go get them.”
Fast Fact: His mother’s family hails from a bloodline cultivated by his breeder, Burnett Ranches, of the famed 6666 Ranch. Like his father, Bet Hesa Cat, Quahadi stands at stud at the 6666 Ranch.
Red Hot Jade
Pedigree: 09G (Smart Little Pepinic x Miss Nica Dual x Mister Dual Pep)
Career Highlights: 2016 NRCHA Non-Pro Two-Rein World Champion, 2016 NRCHA Derby Non-Pro Bridle Spectacular Champion and 2013 Calgary Stampede Open Hackamore Champion. Winner of several other bridle events.
Swales: “He can be pretty good in the reining and typically is good down the fence.”
Fast Fact: Red Hot Jade was ridden to many of his wins by Bart or Terri Holowath, his owners.
Pedigree: 06G (CD Olena x Shiners Little Oak x Shining Spark)
Career Highlights: 2021 NRCHA Youth Bridle World Champion. Began career as a reining horse, making the finals at several events such as Reining By The Bay, the High Roller Futurity & Derby show and the Cactus Reining Classic.
Swales: “My boy Tyree shows him. I’ve shown him some. He carried Tyree to the Youth World Championship this February at the NRCHA World Show. He’s a pretty good horse.”
Fast Fact: During the finals of the 2021 World’s Greatest Youth Horseman, Tyree Swales and CD Shiner completed their cow work with only one rein after the other rein unhooked from the bridle while they were boxing the cow in preparation of taking it down the fence.
Im So Stunning
Pedigree: 15S (Metallic Cat x Absolutely Stunning x Smart Little Lena)
Taormino: “He’s been really, really consistent for me … He’s a two-rein horse, but I feel like he’s taken to the two-rein really well and he’s been really consistent for me.”
Fast Fact: His second dam, Autumn Boon, is a famed broodmare who has already produced three sons who have sired more than $1 million in progeny earnings: Im Countin Checks ($6.3 million), Once In A Blu Boon ($4.6 million) and Boon A Little ($1.1 million). His third dam is the illustrious Royal Blue Boon, mother of the legendary stallion Peptoboonsmal.
Pedigree: 12S (Shiners Nickle x Mereyda x Dual Rey
Career Highlights: Won the 2021 CD Survivor Memorial Open Bridle Spectacular, 2020 AQHA Senior Working Cow Horse World Championship, 2017 AQHA Junior Working Cow Horse World Championship and the 2021 World’s Greatest Horseman Reserve Championship.
Volmer: “I’m excited to get to show one of the best bridle horses in the business.”
Fast Fact: Shiney Outlaw has earned money in reined cow horse, cutting and ranch versatility.
Light And Sassy
Pedigree: 12M (CD Lights x Dual Sass x Dual Pep)
Career Highlights: Reserve Champion in the Open Bridle Spectacular and Open Bridle class at the 2021 NRCHA Derby, won the Non-Pro Bridle Spectacular at the 2019 Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity and also won the Derby Open & Intermediate Open championships at the 2017 NSHA Snaffle Bit Futurity show,
Wright: “She is a mare that a non-pro of mine has been showing and I thinks she’s got the experience in the bridle. I don’t think anything with phase her.”
Fast Fact: Light And Sassy was bred by EquiStat Elite $2 Million Rider Winston Hansma, who showed her father, NCHA World Champion Open Stallion CD Lights, and also trained that stallion’s parents: NCHA Futurity Open Champion CD Olena and NCHA Summer Spectacular Derby Open Champion Delight of My Life. Hansma also was one of the riders of Light And Sassy’s maternal grandsire, Dual Pep.
Pedigree: 15S (Kit Kat Sugar x Scooters Daisy Dukes x Dual Rey)
Career Highlights: Two-time NRCHA Stallion Stakes Open Champion (2019 & 2020), winner of the 2020 NRCHA Derby Open and 2018 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Reserve Champion.
Wright: “I’m bringing him as a back-up and I would have loved to show him, but I don’t think it’s fair to him, being his first year in the two-rein. [I don’t want] to put him under that much pressure one-handed. He’s had a couple big years, and I wanted to show him [but] I just don’t think it’s fair to him.”
Fast Fact: Scooter Kat is the seventh-richest reined cow horse of all time, according to EquiStat records. As of press time he was less than $6,000 shy of the horse that ranks sixth (Smooth N Cash, $270,116) and roughly $8,000 behind Duals Lucky Charm ($272,503), who ranks fifth all-time and is one of the horses trainer Kelby Phillips is considering riding at The Run For A Million.