National Reined Cow Horse AssociationOctober 1, 2012
Corey Cushing rode San Juan Ranch's CD Diamond (CD Olena-Shiners Diamond Girl by Shining Spark) to the $100,000 championship paycheck in the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity open division. (Photo courtesy of NRCHA)
With four horses in the National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity open finals in Reno, Nevada, the odds were most definitely in Corey Cushing's favor. He still had to work for every bit of the $100,000 championship paycheck as he staged a thrilling come-from-behind victory on CD Diamond (CD Olena-Shiners Diamond Girl by Shining Spark), owned by San Juan Ranch of Shandon, California.
It was an emotional night for the 32-year-old Scottsdale, Arizona, trainer as he talked about his first Snaffle Bit Futurity championship and the high-scoring 222 cow work that sealed the win.
"It always comes down to the fence work, and that's what it came down to today," Cushing said.
He began the finals performance aboard the palomino stallion with 214.5 in the herd work, and then scored a respectable 215.5 in the rein work. The 430 composite score still put him 7.5 points behind Todd Bergen, who had built an imposing lead after two events with a 437.5 aboard the eventual reserve champion, This One Time (One Time Pepto-Katie Starlight by Grays Starlight), owned by Pamela Bailey of Golden, Colorado.
Cushing drew first in the cow work and immediately put up the highest score of the open finals, a 222. Given CD Diamond's natural talent for that event, it wasn't entirely unexpected, Cushing said.
"He's been a fence horse from Day 1. As the saying goes, great fence horses are born, they are not made. It's been something that is so easy for him, to wrap himself around that cow. I wanted to put him in the best place I could and let him do his thing. He just gives a guy confidence."
CD Diamond's owners, John and Brenda Stephenson of San Juan Ranch, had been in Reno to watch their horse throughout the preliminaries. It was the second time they had seen a home-bred horse win the Snaffle Bit Futurity open championship; their mare Stylish Little Oak (Playin Stylish-Shiners Little Oak by Shining Spark) won the title in 2010 with Tucker Robinson in the saddle.
"I still can't believe it!" Brenda Stephenson exclaimed. "I'm really excited for Corey. He deserves to win this futurity. He's a great trainer, he's a great guy, and he's good to his horses. He's just a class act. We love working with him."
Todd, who won the 2011 Snaffle Bit Futurity championship aboard Shiners Dun Juan (Smart Shiner-Cremes Chic Olena by Smart Chic Olena), claimed the $80,000 reserve championship check with This One Time for owner Pam Bailey. He admitted it was disappointing to see the championship slip away, but he couldn't help being happy that his long-time friend and fellow trainer reached the winner's circle.
"I was very close tonight to winning it again, but one little misstep is all it takes," Todd said. He scored a 650.5 composite to earn the reserve placing. "I've known Corey and watched him show since he was 12 years old. You just watched him and knew he was going to be here one of these days. You knew he was going to be one of the best in the industry."
For more results from the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity, visit the website at www.nrcha.com.
Champion Bloodlines, brought to you by The American Quarter Horse Journal
With $61,445 in NRCHA earnings, Shiners Diamond Girl – dam of 2012 Snaffle Bit Futurity open champion CD Diamond – knows her way around the show pen. Bred by AQHA Professional Horseman Carol Rose of Gainesville, Texas, the 2002 palomino mare is by Rose's legendary stallion Shining Spark.
Carol, an AQHA 40-year breeder and 2010 American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame inductee, has a long history with Shiners Diamond Girl's family tree. The 10-year-old mare is out of the Zans Diamond Sun mare Zans Diamond Jackie. Bred and raised by Carol, Zans Diamond Jackie was sold as a weanling, and then bought back by Carol in 1996. In her seven-year show career, Zans Diamond Jackie proved herself to be quite the all-around horse with qualifications to the 1995 AQHA World Championship Show in amateur working cow horse, reining and horsemanship, plus senior heeling and reining.
Aside from Shiners Diamond Girl, Zans Diamond Jackie's other notable offspring include Docs Diamond Sun (by Genuine Doc), the 2001 amateur heading world champion; Shinersdiamondjackie (by Shining Spark), dam of Nics Black Diamond and Mister Diamond Shine; Heats Hustler (by Hollywood Heat), the 2006 AQHA reserve all-around high-point junior horse; and Shiners Diamond Jill (by Shining Spark), the 2007 AQHA Superhorse.
Zans Diamond's Jackie's sire, Zans Diamond Sun, boasts a storied pedigree. The 1983 sorrel sorrel was by Zan Parr Bar, a 2010 American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame inductee, and out of Diamonds Sparkle, a 2007 Hall of Fame inductee. Zans Diamond Sun captured the 1989 all-around high-point stallion title plus the reserve all-around high-point senior horse award. His 95 registered foals earned 71 AQHA Register of Merits and collectively earned 8,387 points; six open, three amateur and one youth world championships; and seven open, one amateur and one youth reserve world championships.
This One Time, the 2012 Snaffle Bit Futurity reserve champion also claims a golden pedigree. By the 2010 AQHA leading National Cutting Horse Association freshman sire, One Time Pepto, This One Time is out of renowned cow horse Katie Starlight.
Back in 1996, AQHA Professional Horseman Sandy Collier piloted Katie Starlight to the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity ladies championship. By Grays Starlight and out of the Colonel Freckles mare Colonel Gunsmoke, Katie Starlight was just on the cusp of her impact as a cow horse and broodmare in 1996. With Ted Robinson in the saddle, the 1993 chestnut mare won not only one, but two, NRCHA World's Greatest Horseman titles.
Katie Starlight's first big winner was her 2002 foal, Nu Circle Of Light by Nu Circle N Cash. With Robinson in the saddle, the sorrel stallion won the 2005 Snaffle Bit Futurity open championship.
AQHA members can research American Quarter Horse performance records and pedigrees at www.aqhamembers.org – members receive $10 in complimentary Internet records each month. Learn more about the benefits of an AQHA membership at www.aqha.com/join.
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