“It revealed that he died of a ruptured aorta at the base of the heart,” Hartman said. “It’s an age-related change and a number of stallions have died of this. It was very, very sudden and there was nothing anyone could do for him.”
CD Olena was by Doc O’Lena and out of CD Chica San Badger by Peppy San Badger. It was a young trainer by the name of Winston Hansma who talked Bobby Pidgeon, owner of Bar H Ranche in Texas, into making that particular match.
“Doc O’Lena was in his twilight years and it did seem like the obvious way to go with that mare,” Hansma said. “This was before Smart Little Lena and Doc O’Lena was the horse. She was a daughter of Little Peppy – I can’t tell you there was any in-depth genetic study done on it. It just seemed like it was the most logical choice. A lot of the Doc O’Lenas were probably a little lighter, longer-muscled horses and she was a pretty stout, thick mare.
“I guess it worked,” Hansma added with a smile.
Doc O’Lena was an established sire of champions and producers (he sired foals that won $15.5 million, according to Equi-Stat). CD Chica San Badger was great in her own right. She was bred by the King ranch and performed to $279,038 in a career that began when she and Buster Welch tied for 13th in the Open finals at the 1986 NCHA Futurity. Mrs. Buster Welch also rode the mare to the Non-Pro finals at that same show, placing 18th. Pidgeon purchased the mare in 1988 and owned her until 2001 when he sold her in the Preferred Breeders sale at the NCHA Futurity for $400,000.
CD Olena was CD Chica San Badger's first foal and he was born in Tennessee, the location of Pidgeon’s home ranch. CD Chica San Badger continued to produce foals, and Equi-Stat records show that nine of her babie have won a combined $352,769, a group topped by CD Olena, Arturo Fuente ($132,387) and Chilly Stufflebean ($23,327).
That was perfectly evident when CD Olena and Hansma arrived at the 1994 National Cutting Horse Futurity. The pair began with a 218 in the first round and came back with a 212.5 in the second, which landed them a spot in the semifinals. They marked a 215.5 there and drew up seventh in the first bunch of the Open finals. A 225 set the standard and stayed – adding up to a $100,000 NCHA Futurity Championship.
Hansma rode CD Olena as a 2-year-old.
“We’ve probably had horses take a hold of a cow a little quicker than he did, but once he figured out what his job was he was a lot of fun,” Hansma recalled. “By the fall of his 2-year-old year, he was doing some amazing things and he was really strong on a cow.”
When asked to characterize CD Olena’s personality, Hansma says the horse was a bit of a "clown."
“He was always kind of full of himself. He was the kind of horse that when you got on and rode him he would shake his head and carry on. But it just seemed like when you put him in front of a cow he took all that energy and focused it toward his job.”
“It was probably the best run I’ve ever had,” Winston recalled. “I was just fortunate it all came together on the right night. Like I’ve always said, it takes a little luck to win the Futurity. I could have had that run on the first night. I would have felt good about it for a while and I’d probably remembered it, but no one else would have.”
Hansma’s brother, Paul, who was holding herd, remembers CD Olena's performance on that particular finals night. “I still think his Futurity run is the best run I’ve ever seen. It was so crisp. It wasn’t like a 3-year-old run. It was like a weekend, get-things-hard, super-quick run.”
CD Olena would take that win and them come back to top the Summer Spectacular in 1995 with another 225-point score. If it had not been for some sticky cattle in the 1995 NCHA Super Stakes that refused to break apart, there might have been a chance for CD Olena to have made history as an NCHA Triple Crown winner. Instead, he wound up in fifth place at that event. In addition to those three showings, CD Olena placed second at Chisholm Trail, sixth at Abilene, seventh at the Bonanza, 11th at Steamboat Springs and made the finals at Augusta. He retired after his 4-year-old season with $170,706 on his record.
In 1995, CD Olena was honored as the NCHA Horse of the Year. According to Winston, the sorrel stallion always seemed to know when it counted most at the Will Rogers Coliseum.
“He was a bright-lights horse,” he said. “When the money was up in that building, he just seemed to step his game up and perform at his highest level. That’s hard to find in horses. More times than not, you think you’ve got the best horse and they kind of let you down a little bit. He seemed to know when it was his time to step it up.”
In the spring of 1996, CD Olena was sire of 29 AQHA-registered foals. After that, his book took off with 133 foals born in 1997, 131 in 1998 and 144 in 1999. Those babies came on strong and it wasn’t long before they were impacting the show pen in a big way.
Today, 544 foals by CD Olena have earned close to $14 million, with winnings mostly in cutting with some in reined cow horse ($518,603) and reining ($28,313). His No. 1 cutting offspring – by a long shot – is a special gelding who’s the second-leading cutting horse of all time. Sister CD, owned by Skip and Elizabeth Queen, is a 10-year-old who last year helped carry Elizabeth Queen to her NCHA Non-Pro World Championship. Thanks to his active weekend schedule and successful limited-age career, Sister CD has more than $800,000 in earnings, according to Equi-Stat, and is the cutting industry’s second-highest earning horse off all time (Red White And Boon is the leader with $922,063.) AQHA records refect that, to date, CD Olena has 1,129 registered foals.
According to Hartman, there’s a good probability there will be more CD Olena winners in the years to come. Right at 80 foals are due for arrival next spring, plus there's plenty of genetics in storage.
“We do have a substantial amount of frozen semen and we will continue to breed him,” Hartman said. “We hope people will continue to want to breed to him. He has good semen and it should be successful.”
Not only is CD Olena a producer of great foals but his record as a grandsire is on an upward trend, both on the paternal and maternal sides. CD Olena sons have fathered 222 foals that have won $3.3 million, while his daughters have produced 135 babies that have earned $5 million. CD Olena is certainly becoming known as a broodmare sire, a statement backed up with the likes of Quintan Blue, the mare who Roger Wagner and Jim Vangilder rode to $601,140 in earnings, including the 2004 NCHA Futurity Reserve Championship. Then there are High Brow CD, 2007 NCHA Futurity Champion; Yadacat, 2009 NCHA Futurity Reserve Champion; and many others. (See below for a full list of CD Olena’s leading offspring and top grandget.)
According to those involved with CD Olena – the Hansmas and Hartman – the 19-year-old was in the best of health and was still fertile.
“He appeared to be extremely healthy, he was in great shape and he loved to go out in the pasture and run,” Hartman, who leased the stallion starting in January 2010, confirmed. “He was extremely fertile to this day. It looked like we were going to breed him for the next several years.”
“He looked good and you'd thought he’d have at least another 7, 8 years [of active breeding],” Winston added.
“In the short time I’ve been around him, I loved him,” said Hartman, who leased the stallion starting in January 2010. “He was just a great, great horse. He was sound, healthy. He was a wonderful horse to be associated with. I felt very, very fortunate to have the opportunity to first breed him for Mr. Pigeon and then lease him.”
Paul Hansma buried CD Olena at the Bar H Ranche in Weatherford, Texas. His grave is near the barn, in front of the office where a windmill stands and the American flag flies.
“We used to walk him across there when we turned him out into his trap to play,” Paul explained.
There’s no doubt that CD Olena departed before his time. But there were a good many of his foals born in 2007 and some of those are sure to do their daddy proud at this year's futurities. And there's next year, and the next. The legacy of CD Olena is far from over.
“It was a shock,” Winston said about his reaction to the news of CD Olena's death. “But he lived a good life.”
CD Olena foals with earnings of $100,000 and more
1. SISTER CD $805,426 G
2. CD BOONSMAL $233,641 S
3. CD LIGHTS $233,383 S
4. PALE FACE JOSE $228,789 S
5. CLASSICAL CD $226,002 M
6. PLAYIN CDS $223,931 G
7. CD HOMBRE $218,046 S
8. CD FANCY CHANCE $213,329 G
9. OPUS EX $191,743 G
10. CD ROYAL $190,907 S
11. TESS MY GRIT $185,787 G
12. CD GRACEFUL DUAL $177,881 G
13. PATRICK LA DUAL $166,465 G
14. PATRICK LA DUAL $166,465 G
15. CD SURVIVOR $152,723 S
16. CAPPUCCINO AND PASTA $151,355 M
17. CD STARS $147,086 S
18. SDP HICAPOOS CD $142,160 G
19. CAPOO $138,224 M
20. BETS CD $129,230 S
21. HAIDAS CD $125,438 S
22. DESDE EL COMIENZO $123,295 S
23. TO WHIT FROM GEORGE $122,930 G
24. JUSTANOTHERWHITEBOY $122,735 G
25. RAGTIME CD $121,598 M
26. CD OLENA PEPPY $120,947 S
27. CDS FROM HEAVEN $120,500 M
28. CD DATE $117,909 M
29. CD SUPER DUALLY $114,116 S
30. CDS MASTERPIECE $112,127 M
31. PLATINUM CDS $108,794 G
32. SWEET LITTLE CD $106,185 M
33. SIXES CD $105,664 M
34. FLETCHS FIRST CD $102,226 G
35. KODO $101,925 S
36. DMAC SNOOP DOG $101,191 G
37. CDS SCOOTER $100,900 S
38. KADEE LENA BELLE $100,747 M
CD Olena's maternal grandget with $50,000 and more in earnings
1. QUINTAN BLUE $609,140 M
2. HIGH BROW CD $541,345 S
3. PET SQUIRREL $389,160 M
4. BOB DUALIN $217,981 S
5. AL POOCINO $206,771 G
6. MOCHA CAPPUCCINO $205,692 M
7. LITTLE SILVER BELLES $195,955 M
8. BOILER ROOM $189,571 S
9. YADACAT $168,585 G
10. CD PEPTOFILLY $145,526 M
11. FRAPPUCCINO N PASTA $105,471 M
12. ROYALS MAGNIFICAT $99,810 S
13. BILLYS COOL CAT $94,849 G
14. SIDS SANOLENA $88,389 M
15. SMOOTH AN BOON $73,726 G
16. PEPTOS SMOKER $66,669 S
17. MECOM BAY ROAN $62,171 S
18. INCREDI BABE $61,686 M
19. SDP AL CAPOONE $57,879 S
20. POWDERED SUGAR CAT $56,300 M
CD Olena's paternal grandget with $50,000 and more in earnings
1. RUBYS ROYAL CD $224,759 M
2. CEE DEE ROYAL TE $176,381 M
3. LIL BIT RECKLESS $129,935 M
4. MH MY KINDA CD $126,059 G
5. THAT CD ROCKS $118,792 S
6. CD DEE VEE DEE $116,091 G
7. BETS PRETTY SUE $102,998 M
8. ROYAL INCOGNITO $97,103 G
9. MIA CDEE (AS) $88,523 M
10. LIL DUSTY LOLA $85,035 M
11. KODOS DEBUTANT $78,834 M
12. CD ROYAL JOYFUL $71,680 M
13. ROYAL PANDALENA $71,208 M
14. MH THE COMPETITOR $64,993 G
15. TOO BOSSY $63,663 G
16. TWO TIMES A STAR $62,710 G
17. A LITTLE BOSSY $55,679 G
18. FUNTIME FOXY $52,935 M