The Brazos Bash kicked off to a great start for EquiStat Elite $10 Million Rider Austin Shepard. He was one of thirteen riders to qualify for The Run For A Million’s Cutting Challenge in 2024 marking a 223 on Fancy Deville in the Open 5/6 first go at the bash.
He advanced four horses to their respective finals classes, and showed three of those on Monday, October 9. His first horse of the day, Fancy Deville (Once In A Blu Boon x Louella Deville x High Brow Cat), marked a 216.5 in the Open 5/6 Finals.
Then on to the 4-Year-Old Open finals. He drew in the first set with Sniperr (High Brow Cat x Gini One Time x One Time Pepto). The stallion, owned by Sean and Ashley Flynn, had a miss-step during his first cut and fell on his side. On top of Shepard.
“It could have been a lot worse,” Shepard said later. “It wasn’t the most graceful thing in the world, but we didn’t land too terrible and, you know, at least I wasn’t hurt bad enough I couldn’t show.”
Although the fall got the crowd on their feet and his herd help off their horses, Sniperr remained calm after regaining his feet and Shepard was able to stand and leave the pen without assistance. He had one more horse to ride that night in the last set. Kittennish (Hottish x Show Biz Kitty x High Brow Cat).
Kittennish and Shepard have been blazing a trail to the Horse Of The Year title. Most recently they’ve captured wins at the Cotton Stakes and the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association (PCCHA) Futurity.
The pair marked a 229 to capture the Brazos Bash 4-Year-Old championship as well.
“It just gets better every time,” Shepard said.
“I can’t say enough good things about her. I mean, I get to ride a lot of really good horses but she’s a great horse, and she’s the best mare I’ve ever ridden and she might end up being the best horse I’ve ever had,” Shepard praised the sorrel mare.
Fans can expect to see Kittennish and Shepard at the Southern Futurity in Jackson, Mississippi before long. And after that, the mare has two more years left in her career as long as all goes to plan.