The late Shining Spark, pictured at age 31 with his owner-breeder Carol Rose. • Photo by Cam Essick.

Shining Spark Leaves Widespread Legacy

A legend has died.

One of the greatest sires in the history of Western performance horses, Shining Spark, passed away. His death was announced Monday, Dec. 27, on the Facebook page of his breeder, Carol Rose Quarter Horses, who owned the golden palomino his entire life.

“As much as Shining Spark’s mind, heart and eyes shined bright, I knew in my heart that his body was getting tired. Today, just three weeks shy of his 33rd birthday, we made the decision to say our good byes,” the post said. “‘Shiner’ was always a wise, kind gentleman and for over 32 years, he was the ‘heart and soul’ of Carol Rose Quarter Horses. He lived a legendary life and had a tremendous impact on so many families, friends, young people and equine disciplines worldwide.”

Shining Spark at age 31 with his owner and breeder, Carol Rose • Photo by Cam Essick

The son of American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Senior Cutting Reserve World Champion Genuine Doc and Diamonds Sparkle, an AQHA Superhorse, Shining Spark was a reining horse by profession. He won the 1994 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby Open and was the 1993 AQHA Junior Reining World Champion, retiring with more than $62,000 in earnings.

It was the breeding barn, though, where Shining Spark rewrote the record books — first as a sire, and then as a prolific broodmare sire. His offspring, grandsons and granddaughters made an impact on a wide variety of events in the horse industry, but were especially prominent in reining and reined cow horse.

Shining Spark is currently an NRHA Four Million Dollar Sire and reigned for many years as the leading sire of all time in the National Reined Cow Horse Association. In the latest edition of the EquiStat Lifetime Reined Cow Horse Statistics, Shining Spark ranked second on the sire list with his sons and daughters earning $4,536,790 in cow horse competition.

His leading earners are NRHA Futurity Level 4 Open Champion Shining N Sassy ($260,164), AQHA Junior Working Cow Horse World Champion A Shiner Named Sioux ($163,425) and the versatile stallion Shine By The Bay ($162,297), who was a champion cow horse with earnings that stretched into roping and reining.

Many of Shining Spark’s daughters went on to become fantastic broodmares. As of his death, the great stallion’s daughters had foaled the winners of more than $24.1 million. His top-earning grand-progeny include the venerable reiner Shiners Chic ($315,876), as well as one of the top money-earning reined cow horses of all time and certainly one of that sport’s most decorated bridle horses, CD Dee Vee Dee ($290,095).

Shiners Chic, one of Shining Spark’s leading grand-get • Photo by Fletch

The influence of Shining Spark will not end with his grandsons and granddaughters, as many are themselves also successful sires or broodmares, furthering their grandsire’s legacy in the Western performance horse world.

Shining Spark was indeed a horse who was special from the start, a standout in the pasture who more than lived up to his looks.

“He fulfilled my dreams and inspired so many others. His life exceeded expectations, his career and versatility unmatched,” Rose said in her Facebook post, thanking Humberto Camacho, Todd Wagner, Sam Rose, Dr. Joe Carter and his staff for their love and assistance with Shiner’s final moments. “It will always be an honor and a privilege to have shared in his life’s work and to be a part of his legacy, as well as future. Good bye Shiner, you will forever be the Shining Spark in my heart, and for so many others — you lived up to your name in every way. Rest in peace my friend.”

This is a developing story and will be updated. Check back at for more on the incredible legacy of Shining Spark.