As the dust settles from a week of fantastic good things, what I can say is this: the stars aligned for Turnabout Farm at this year’s Tulsa Reining Classic. Horses we bred dominated the feature events, winning the Non Pro Derby, Non Pro Futurity, and Open Futurity; and our stallion, Gunners Special Nite, crossed the Two Million Dollar Sire mark, a milestone only seventeen other stallions have reached in the history of the sport.
It gives me chills: only seventeen other sires, ever. And it took our boy only a year to get from one million to two.
That Two Million Dollar Sire milestone, in other words, is a measure of offspring earnings. Gunners Special Nite won double gold at the World Equestrian Games in 2010, and now his offspring are carrying on his athleticism and fabulous show-horse mind. The challenge and risk and art of breeding is you never really know what traits a sire will pass along until you see his offspring grow up. Ditto for the mares, of course: you have to study the bloodlines, understand your mares’ characteristics and how they might cross with the stallion’s, and then use your horseman’s instinct and hope for some luck.
We’re a relatively small-scale breeder, in terms of the foals we raise out of our own mares. (Gunners Special Nite breeds over a hundred mares a year, but only a few of those are ours.) So to see his offspring out of our mares win all those classes was an against-the-odds kind of thrill. Tough to tear myself away from that live video feed once I knew one of ours was in the lead—and let me tell you, it takes forever to run a reining class of 100-ish entries. My normal daily activities—such as responding to calls and emails, making food, eating food, sleeping when it gets dark—pretty much ground to a halt while all this was going on. Ah, the nail-biting adventure of the horse business!
Congrats to the owners, riders and trainers of these winners. Here they are, a lineup of white-faced sorrels who can slide a mile, like their daddy… (And you can see here the sweet, folksy reiner tradition of inviting a whole bunch of friends into your win photo. Also note: these futurity horses are only three years old and just learning how to horse-show; so you’re allowed to ride two-handed, as Madison does below.)
Duane Latimer and Oh Starry Nite
2015 mare by Gunners Special Nite x Chic Olena Starbuck
Level 4 Open Futurity Champions
Owned by XCS Ranch
Madison Steed and Into the Nite
2015 stallion by Gunners Special Nite x Chexy Dun It
Level 4, 3 and 2 Non Pro Futurity Champions
Owned by Madison Steed
Cade McCutcheon and Me And Julio
2014 Gelding by Gunners Special Nite x Darlins Not Painted
Level 4 Non Pro Derby Champions
Owned by Tom & Mandy McCutcheon
All in all, the Gunners Special Nite offspring won over $58,000 at the Tulsa Classic, bringing his offspring earnings to roughly $2,043,000.00. Thanks to Tom and Mandy McCutcheon and the crew at Tom McCutcheon Reining horses for all they do for Gunners Special Nite and Turnabout Farm—and to Colleen McQuay and her team for putting on a beautiful horse show!
Here’s Gunners Special Nite winning World Games Gold: