Dick Pieper aboard the stallion Playgun • Photo by John Brasseaux

Remembering Dick Pieper

Dick Pieper left a mark on the Western performance horse industry, winning in the top ranks of the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) and later standing influential cutting sire Playgun.

The NRHA annonuced that Pieper, a past president of the association, had passed on Sunday, May 15, at the age of 82. Also a member of the association’s Hall of Fame, Pieper won the NRHA Futurity in 1977 on Spanish Mountain and in 1979 was NRHA Futurity Co-Reserve Champion on Cee Blair Masota.

In 1977, he won the NRHA Futurity Open on Spanish Mountain for owner Pauline Welsh, of Brooklyn, Connecticut. He earned the NRHA Futurity Open Co-Reserve Championship in 1979 on Cee Blair Masota for owner J. Crawford Williams, of Raleigh, NC.

He also won the NRHA Open World Championship in 1985 on Miss Cee Blair.

In all, Pieper earned $228,494 as a rider in NRHA competition.


Though he began his competing career in reining, Pieper later rode, owned and stood the great sire Playgun.

He and trainer Jody Galyean shared seat time on the 1992 gray stallion by Freckles Playboy and out of Miss Silver Pistol (by Doc’s Hickory), with Galyean riding the horse in the Open and Pieper in the Non-Pro.

One of the stallion’s biggest shows came at the 1996 Augusta Futurity, where Galyean rode him to the Futurity Open title and Pieper won the Futurity Non-Pro with him. Pieper and Playgun also won the 1996 Bonanza Cutting Derby Non-Pro.

Pieper kept Playgun after his competition years were over, and the stallion went on to sire the winners of more than $9.6 million. Playgun’s daughters have proven to be extremely influential, foaling the earners of more than $12.2 million.

In all, horses bred by Pieper by himself or in partnership won more than $677,756, according to EquiStat.

As a breeder, his leading earner was National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) World Finals Show Champion PG Heavily Armed ($264,975, by Playgun).

Information about Pieper’s memorial service was not immediately available Monday afternoon.