Flo N Blu Boon * Photo By Suzanne Sylvester

NRHA Derby Finalists Give Broodmare Rare Two-Discipline Double

These days, it’s rare that a broodmare has offspring who find success in the elite ranks of two disciplines in the Western Performance Horse industry. Flo N Blu Boon recently became one of the few who can make that claim after the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby.

Two of the mare’s sons — Varsity Blu (by Wimpy Chic) and Gunna Bet My Boon (by Gunnatrashya) — made the NRHA Derby Level 4 Open finals on June 14 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. That accomplishment came less than a year after two of Flo N Blu Boon’s other foals — Brother Blu and Bet Hes Blu, both sired by Bet Hesa Cat — made the 2022 National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit Futurity Open finals.

And, in February, the mare’s leading earner, Bet Hesa Boon, placed third with a strong showing in this year’s World’s Greatest Horseman competition. The four-discipline class requires extreme versatility, combining the traditional reined cow horse events of herd work, rein work and cow work with the additional challenge of steer stopping.

Flo N Blu Boon’s owner, Bev Servi, says she gets chills thinking about all the mare’s offspring have accomplished.

“I just feel so lucky and fortunate to be a part of this,” she said.

Finding Flo N Blu Boon

Before Servi had ever met Flo N Blu Boon, the mare’s offspring sold her on the qualities of the 2003 daughter of Pretty Boy Boon and out of Lena Over Flo (by Lena My Way). First, she bought the mare’s daughter Very Blu (by Very Smart Remedy) at the 2014 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Sale. The following year, she bought Bet Hesa Boon, the son of EquiStat Elite $7 Million Sire Bet Hesa Cat.

Though sired by different stallions, both youngsters had the conformation and mental attributes Servi liked.

“They had everything they needed to compete at a high level in reined cow horse,” Servi said. “[They have] a big hindquarters for stopping and going down the fence, big bones for longevity and a nice broad chest for balance.  Conformationally they were impeccable and on top of that downright gorgeous.  Flo throws gorgeous looking babies.”

When she found out Flo N Blu Boon was for sale by then-owner Alpha Quarter Horses, she bought the mare and Gunna Bet My Boon, her 2016 son by Gunnatrashya. The young stallion went into reined cow horse training first, making the 2019 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open finals with EquiStat Elite $1 Million Rider Clayton Edsall. He was particularly good at the rein work, a talent that served him well when trainer Gabriel Diano bought him to take to the reining pen.

Gabriel Diano and Gunna Bet My Boon * Photo by Kelsey Pecsek

Diano rode the stallion to 27th in this year’s NRHA Derby Level 4 Open. Flo N Blu Boon’s other NRHA Derby entry, Varsity Blu, marked a 226 with EquiStat Elite $2 Million Rider Cade McCutcheon to place sixth. In reining from the start, Varsity Blu (by Wimpy Chic) and McCutchon placed third earlier this year in the Level 4 Open Cactus Reining Classic. In addition, at the Cactus Reining Classic he qualified McCutcheon for the Million Dollar Competition at this year’s The Run For A Million.

McCutcheon can ride any horse he chooses in the Million Dollar Competition, but there’s a good chance Varsity Blu is at least one of his contenders for the spot. There’s also a chance Flo N Blu Boon’s leading earner, Bet Hesa Boon, will also attempt to qualify for a spot in the Reined Cow Horse Challenge at The Run For A Million. Although the stallion’s regular trainer and the man who has ridden most of Flo N Blu Boon’s foals owned by Servi, Clayton Edsall, already qualified for the event with a different horse, Servi said the plan is for Tyler Merrill to attempt to qualify with “Boon” at this month’s Hackamore Classic in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

So far, Flo N Blu Boon has foaled the winners of more than $378,733: $252,240 in reined cow horse, $124,715 in reining and another $677 in cutting. Her 2023 NRHA Derby entrants and Bet Hesa Boon, who Servi still stands at stud, are the mare’s leading earners in the EquiStat database: Bet Hesa Boon ($120,730, by Bet Hesa Cat), Varsity Blu ($80,764, by Wimpy Chic) and Bet Hes Blu ($36,747, by Bet Hesa Cat).

In The Genes

Flo N Blu Boon’s offspring may just come by their versatility and longevity genetically. Bred by Sylvan and Barb Williamson, of Eagle, Idaho, Flo N Blu Boon was a reined cow horse competitor. She started her career with trainer Wade Reaney, who showed her for owner Jan Little. Though she missed the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity due to illness, Flo N Blu Boon competed successfully in many futurities and derbies in the West and Pacific Northwest, and made the Open finals of the NRCHA Stallion Stakes. Reaney’s last show on the mare was a win in the Open Bridle Spectacular at the 2009 NRCHA Stallion Stakes, after which she was sold to non-pro cow horse rider and successful breeder Garth Gardiner, of Gardiner Quarter Horses.

Cade McCutcheon and Varsity Blu* Photo by Kelsey Pecsek

Gardiner showed the mare in non-pro reined cow horse classes, and then legendary reined cow horse trainer Doug Williamson teamed up with Flo N Blu Boon for a run at the 2012 World’s Greatest Horseman competition.

The mare and Williamson finished fourth in the World’s Greatest Horseman behind Champion Olena Oak, Reserve Champion Smart Chic Aloha and third-place finisher Topsails Rien Maker. It was elite company. Two of the three horses ahead of Flo N Blu Boon that day — Olena Oak and Topsails Rien Maker — still rank among the top money-earning reined cow horses of all time with $381,390 and $371,472 in earnings, respectively.

Flo N Blu Boon retired with $65,521 in earnings.

The Future

Flo N Blu Boon’s broodmare career has unfolded in three phases. First, she was bred to reined cow horse stallions by Gardiner Quarter Horses. Then, she was sold to Alpha Quarter Horses, who bred her to reining stallions. Servi has continued to breed her for reined cow horses, first breeding her back to Bet Hesa Cat, father of Bet Hesa Boon.

It’s possible that more of Flo N Blu Boon progeny will represent their mother at futurities in the coming years. She has two 2020 mares by National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Open Champion Stevie Rey Von named Stevi Rocks The Blus and Gynger Rogers. She also has Poursomesugaronme, a 2022 stallion by EquiStat Elite $8 Million Sire Kit Kat Sugar. And, Servi said 2023 breedings are in the works.

Though Servi enjoys the success she’s had campaigning some of Flo N Blu Boon’s foals herself, part of what makes owning the mare so special is seeing people experience success with the mare’s offspring.

“What she has done for me is beyond making my dreams come true,” Servi said. “I know for certain she is doing that for other people as well. It’s full circle when you get to be a part of dreams coming true — even better when you can be in an arena and experience the pure joy.”

Horse chasing a cow
Bet Hesa Boon & Clayton Edsall. • Photo by Molly Montag.