Life may be about the journey, but sometimes one stop along the way will eclipse all others. That's what happened last night in Fort Worth for National Reined Cow Horse Association Professional Brad Lund and the 3-year-old mare, Ima Smart Catt, when they won the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity CINCH Intermediate Open Championship. Their composite score of 652 in the three events of herd work, rein work and cow work, earned them $30,000.
“This is unbelievable, but it really is about the journey. You start them as 2-year-olds and you really get to know them, and this mare, she’s just got a big heart,” said Lund, La Cygne, Kansas. “I’m real fortunate that I’ve had good horses all year and good help all year and very good owners.”
Ima Smart Catt (WR This Cats Smart x Shiney Patrona x Shining Spark) is owned by Renee Cudd. This is the first reined cow horse that she has ever owned.
“I’m so excited I don’t know what to say. She’s a true athlete – she can do it all,” Cudd said. “My friend Ty Smith and Brad found this horse, so I bought it for Brad to show.”
Cudd runs one hundred broodmares and eight stallions at her ranch in Woodward, Oklahoma, where she raises between 70 and 80 foals per year. For the past 35 years, Cudd has held an annual production sale. Cudd has always admired reined cow horses but was never been to watch the Snaffle Bit Futurity. In fact she’d never laid eyes on Ima Smart Catt until she’d owned her for 18 months.
“I raise a lot of roping horses and barrel horses and horses for everyday use, but this is the first horse like this that I’ve owned,” Cudd said. “I know people spend years trying to get one to the finals and for us to do that, and then to win it, there aren’t words to describe it. She’s also in the Open finals on Saturday so we’re not done yet.”
“The cows were waspy. We tried to get the cows drove up and out of the herd real good because usually, if she gets started right, then she’s real good. We got started in pretty much in the middle and she got settled in and got to moving good,” Lund said.
In the reining, the pair marked a 220.5 which surprised Lund, until he saw a video replay of his run.
“When I was out there doing it, I felt like she wasn’t really stopping, and then I came back and watched the videos and she slid forever and I was just sitting there enjoying it,” Lund said. “When I saw it, I was really happy with the way she stopped.”
A 215.5 in the cow work capped off Lund’s and Ima Smart Catt’s championship run.
“She boxed the cow real good but that cow was real numb-acting, he didn’t have a good feel about him so I wanted to drive around there. Normally I would have went one turn earlier but I went one more time and it worked out.”
Lund, 49, has claimed the reserve championship once before in the Intermediate Snaffle Bit Futurity.
“I struggled there for a little bit, getting the right horse power. I’ve been trying to learn how to do this and get better for about ten years, and it’s a struggle, it’s a grind every day,” said Lund who is mentored by two-time Worlds Greatest Horseman champion Ron Ralls. “Ron took me under his wing and has been teaching me. I grew up roping and learning how to be a better horseman and now, here I am.”
Myles Brown Wraps Up Limited Open Futurity Title on Miss Scarlets Cat
Something a lot like real good – that’s how Myles Brown described winning his second championship at the 2017 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity. Riding Miss Scarlets Cat, Brown marked a 645.5 to win the Limited Open and $15,514. This win came just two days after the duo won the 2017 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Level 1 Limited Open and $8,520 with a composite score of 651.
“It was fun,” Brown said. “I was real happy with my horse. She was real good.”
The pair started their finals in top form by marking the high score in the herd with a 218.
“I tried to do my job of cutting the cattle clean and in the middle of the pen. She read that cow so good and I thought I did a better job of staying relaxed, leaving my hand on her neck for the most part, and just letting her read that cow,” said Brown who was helped by Boyd Rice, Robbie Boyce, Todd Crawford and Ty Brown. “They’re the best help, bar none.”
Brown marked a 207 in the reining but blames himself for mistakes that lowered his score.
“The mare was good. I wasn’t quite on point. She ran and stopped and drug her rear end.”
In the cow work, the pair shone with a 220.5.
“We were ready to go get them. I know this mare and she can be huge-she can run, she can stop and she can turn. She’s quick-footed and she’s got a lot of wind, she can run for a long time for a little horse. The first turn was okay, we went and open-fielded that cow for the left turn and she was tight and then we got a right turn open field and she was good and then when we circled, she was unbelievable,” Brown said. “Down the fence, this mare never hardly misses. She’s on point 100% every time and that’s why we love her.”
Brown and Miss Scarlets Cat also placed 8th in the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Intermediate to earn $5,500.
A score of 641 resulted in a tie for the reserve championship which paid $11,247 to each horse. They were Metallic Chrome Cat (Metallic Cat x Teletrona x Little Trona) owned by Kirk Johnston and ridden by Clay Volmer and, Unos Blue Lightening (Uno What Time It Is x Miss Vibrant Chex x Nu Chex To Cash) owned by Julie Gibbons and ridden by Dustin Mills.
Amy Bailey and Callme Mister Mister Gallop Away With Non Pro Bridle Championship
Amy Bailey had never shown a horse at the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Horse Show before, but she came to Fort Worth firing on all cylinders. Bailey marked a 291.5 on her gelding Callme Mister Mister (Mister Dual Pep x Travelin With Sass x Travalena) to win the Non Pro Bridle and $3,792.
“I’m very excited about it,” said Bailey, “I never went to Reno (where the show used to be held) because I couldn’t justify making such a long trip for just one class. It was that, and it is so close the AQHA Worlds that it made it hard.”
Bailey, Sparta, Tennessee, leaves her horse with trainer Robert Chown, Gainesville, Texas, year-round and describes herself as Callme Mister Mister’s catch-rider.
“His heart is what makes him special,” Bailey said of the gelding that gets called Hiram in the barn, after Hank Williams Senior’s real name. “He tries so hard and will not quit. He can read the cow better than I can. Today I was just a monkey on his back. He is so physical in his turns and working and at times he’s hard for a non pro to ride because he could be an Open level horse.”
Prior to the horse show, Bailey worked at improving her competitiveness in the reining.
“My large fast circles were much improved because a lot of times I won’t go fast enough. On my run down to the stops, we were very aggressive today. Here at the show Robert has let me practice hard and go hard because I don’t get to ride every day,” said Bailey, who works at her family business, Charles Bailey Trucking. “I work in an office setting and am sitting down at a desk every day, but I try to get to the shows three to four days before I show so I can practice. I’d like to thank Robert because he is dedicated to these horses and to making them fit me and be the best they can on show day.”
Bailey and Callme Mister Mister won the 2014 NRCHA Non Pro Hackamore World Championship at the Celebration of Champions, which is held in Fort Worth each February. She has enjoyed returning to Cowtown for the Snaffle Bit Horse Show.
“There are plenty of riding areas here to exercise your horse and warm up,” Bailey said. “I like showing here because you don’t have to qualify for the show so anyone can enter, but what I really like is that the main focus here is the Snaffle Bit Futurity so there’s less pressure on you at the Horse Show. I’d recommend that everyone come show here.”
Bailey’s husband, Paul Bailey, was on hand to see his wife win.
“I want to thank him because he pushes me and pushes me to excel and to succeed,” Amy said.
Terra Micek marked a 291 to be the reserve champion in Non Pro Bridle on Nic N Chics (Nic It In The Bud x Desire A Chic x Smart Chic Olena). They scored a 291, winning $3,033 for their efforts.