Through the years, my job has presented me a lot of fabulous opportunities when it comes to horses. I’ve gotten to talk to the world’s best horsemen, and I’ve met some of the greatest horses across different disciplines and industries. One of my fondest memories, however, wasn’t work-related at all. It centered around a clinic.
As this issue (Sept. 15, 2016) was going to press, I received a letter from well-known trainer Bobby Ingersoll. He wanted to address the National Reined Cow Horse Association’s (NRCHA) announcement that its Snaffle Bit Futurity is moving from Reno, Nevada, to Fort Worth, Texas, in 2017.
The decision to change venues is potentially the most controversial issue the cow horse industry has ever faced and certainly the most polarizing in recent years. Horsemen either agree with the move or they don’t, and there are plenty of opinions on either side.
On Tuesday, May 19, at 5:18 p.m., I was sitting in my office when I got a text message. By 5:55 p.m., still sitting in my office, I owned a horse.
After two years of not owning a horse, it wasn’t the way I expected to dive back into horse ownership. For starters, I generally like to figure out what, exactly, I want to do with a horse before I start looking for one. I set a budget, then I start shopping. I’ve driven across the state of Texas to look at horses and spent too much money on pre-purchase exams that ended up being cheap compared to the veterinary problems I would have dealt with had I bought the horse. I’ve passed on horses I should have bought, and bought horses when I should have passed.
But I’ve never bought a horse sight unseen off the Internet. And I’ve never rescued a horse out of the kill pens…until now.
As we were preparing the June 1 issue, I sat down to read Associate Editor Brandyl Brooks’ article on the National Reining Breeders Classic (NRBC). The Level 4 Open finals ended in a tie between Casey Deary, on ARC Gunna Sparkya, and Andrea Fappani, on SG Frozen Enterprize. In reining, tied competitors can both opt out of a run-off and split the championship, but if either person wants a tie-breaker run, the other must comply or forfeit the win. While Casey would have split the title, Andrea called for a run-off. It was a smart call, as Andrea and “Iceman” turned in another solid run and took top honors. What really stuck with me was Casey’s comment afterward. He said, “I voted to not run [ARC Gunna Sparkya] off just because he’s 4, but I know Andrea’s horse is older and so broke...that his horse could probably come in there and do that same thing again.”
While cutting has 3-year-old futurities, 4-year-old derbies, and 5- and 6-year-old classic/challenge events, most reining derbies are for 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds. Deary’s comment about not wanting to run-off his 4-year-old versus Andrea’s 6-year-old made me wonder...does age matter that much?