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Matt Koch and SJR Hitime Shine * Photo by Pimo Morales

SJR Hitime Shine & Matt Koch shine in Tres Osos Derby

SJR Hitime Shine and Matt Koch marked a 225.5 from an early set in the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Tres Osos Open Derby fence work. The pair then had to wait through 16 sets to find out if their scores would hold up for the Champion title.

“That was quite a long time of sweating it out,” Koch said.

The EquiStat Elite $1 Million Rider Matt Koch, has had SJR Hitime Shine (High Brow Cat x Shiners Little Oak x Shining Spark) for training since the horse was a long yearling for owners San Juan Ranch. The duo made the Snaffle Bit Futurity finals in 2023, kicking the horse’s career off to a great start.

“He wants to be a show horse,” Koch said. “You ride in the pen and his ears go up and he just seems to be happy to be in there.”

During this show, SJR Hitime Shine started off by earning a 215 in the herd work, then marked an impressive 223 in the rein work. Headed into the fence work they were sitting in a good spot.

“My first cow come out and it left and didn’t hardly go, and they blew me a new cow,” Koch explained. “So the next one come out and I thought I boxed it longer than I did. But watching the video I did not. I just hit it a couple of times and left and about halfway down there I was like, ‘Oh, I might have left with too much.’ But that colt caught him and stayed in control and had a real good second turn and stayed with me to get circled, and it was pretty fast the whole time.”

Their 225.5 down the fence brought the composite score to a 663.5, but they had to wait hours to find out that they’d officially won the Tres Osos Derby.

The cowboy from Colorado brought a trailer-full to the Kalpower Quarter Horses Celebration of Champions and relies on an unusually small crew to keep the horses taken care of and ready to show.

“It’s just my wife and I, so we’ve got a pretty good system. We both know what needs to be done at the beginning of the day and we just go about our business,” Koch elaborated. “During the herd work it was a lot of long days turning back and being stuck in the Coliseum and when you get done you knew everything was taken care of, so just having the two of us worked out pretty good for us.”

Other than his wife, he’d also like to thank the San Juan Ranch for trusting him with the horseflesh to compete at such a high level.

Tres Osos Reserve Champion

EquiStat Elite $1 Million rider Nick Dowers was one point behind Koch on A Reyl Rebel (Metallic Rebel x Never Reylinquish x Dual Rey). The 2019 stallion owned by Clinton Marshall marked a 225.5 in the herd work, a 219.5 in the rein work and a 220.5 in the cow work to earn the reserve championship.

A Reyl Rebel has been a top competitor, beginning his career with the 2022 Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity Championship and continuing on to make the finals at the 2022 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity.