by Tara ChristiansenThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Jay McLaughlin rode A Shiner Named Sioux to an impressive 228 down the fence for a combined score of 449.5 in the junior working cow horse finals at the 2011 AQHA World Show. (Journal photo)
A Shiner Named Sioux has won a lot, to say the least. From the 2010 AQHA junior reining world championship to the open co-reserve championship at the 2011 National Reining Horse Association Derby, the stylish palomino stallion is making his mark in and out of the show pen.
But for trainer Jay McLaughlin of Gainesville, Texas, there was one title in particular that he wanted for “Sioux,” and that he wanted for himself.
“You know, Jay said, ‘Of all I’ve ever won, this is the one I really want,’ ” recalls owner and breeder AQHA Professional Horseman Carol Rose of Gainesville, Texas. “He’s been saying it for a long time. He said, ‘I really want the junior cow horse this year on Sioux.’ And he’s really planned hard for it and prepared the horse so perfectly for it. And I’m thrilled!”
For quite a while, Jay has had his eye on the junior working cow horse gold trophy for the 2006 son of Shining Spark and who is out of the mare Docs Sulena by Doc O’Lena.
“He’s been a reiner for a while,” Jay says. “We qualified him for the World in the cow horse early on, and decided we were going to go to the (NRHA Derby) and he was reserve there, and the next step was obviously the cow horse at the World Show. Since (the National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity) it’s been nonstop getting him ready for it. He had a month off while we were at Reno, and it was on again.”
The stallion’s reining skills came in handy for the junior working cow horse finals on November 17.
“(In) the rein work, he did his normal run fast, stop hard, turn around fast deal,” Jay says.
New to the AQHA World Championship Show in 2011, the working cow horse rein work and cow work were run separately, as compared to the back-to-back format that’s featured for the prelims. With a 221.5 in the rein work, Jay and Sioux were leading the pack heading into the fence work.
“That cow felt like it was a pretty fast cow, and I didn’t want to stay very long on it, because you can’t mark on a slow cow. He boxed really good there at the beginning, and it’s been a while … I believe since he was 3, (that) he just walked in there and worked a cow. He’s (used to) rein work, fence work,” Jay explains.
“When we boxed the cow and left the corner, I had a feeling this was gonna be aggressive. And it was – it was aggressive the whole time. He was very good. That cow kept heading away from him after I made my second turn and he handled everything just perfect as could be.”
For Carol, watching the run from the stands of the Jim Norick Arena was a bit more than stressful.
“When the cow came out, I was really nervous because that cow never would look at him,” Carol recalls. “I thought, ‘Oh, oh, baby, what have we got here?’ And you just don’t have a feeling for it when the cow won’t look at him, but it takes a tremendous horse to work a cow when the cow won’t ever look at him.”
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Tremendous indeed – Sioux and Jay put on quite the show, marking an astounding 228 down the fence to take the junior working cow horse world championship with a combined score of 449.5
A Shiner Named Sioux can certainly be said to be following in his legendary sire’s footsteps.
“I almost get tears in my eyes, especially when he runs his circles and when he stops and spins,” Carol says of Sioux’s resemblance to Shining Spark. “He spins faster than Shining Spark ever spun, but he just is deja vu Shining Spark.”
One’s got to admit, when Carol says that this is the greatest win yet, that’s really saying something.
“I’m just so proud of Sioux and so proud of Jay, and I guess this probably means as much or more to me as any world championship that we’ve ever won, and we’ve won several,” she says modestly.
Carol’s also very proud of her crosses between Shining Spark and Sioux’s dam, Docs Sulena. The same cross has produced another one of Carol’s leading sires, Shiners Lena Doc.
“She’s been fabulous. You know, I’ve owned her for a lot of years and the only horse she’s ever been bred to is Shining Spark.
“You know, Shining Spark has had problems breeding since 2000, and in 2011, we only got two pregnancies from Shining Spark and both of them are from Sioux’s mother, Docs Sulena,” Carol explains. “We have two babies left and they’re both going to be from Docs Sulena – there won’t be any more Shining Sparks. We are so blessed.”
It’s been an emotional week for Carol, from the high of the win to the low of Genuine Doc’s death on November 14.
“I told several people (that) I heard about Genuine Doc just like everyone (else) did when (my assistant office manager, Nikki Miller) put it on the tweet. I just told them that Jay and I made the decision that it was time, and I told them to pick a beautiful day and to pick a day when I was not home, but I did not know it was going to be that day. I was really emotional when I read that, like everybody else read, but you know, it was a beautiful day and he has never suffered a day and it was just time. He was 34 years old and a half.
“What a wonderful horse,” she adds affectionately. “We’ve had so many memories.”
As one could surmise, there are definitely some people to thank behind this monumental win. For Jay, getting Sioux prepared for the win, certainly took a lot of practice.
“I’d like to thank everybody at the Rose ranch for kicking out about 5 million cows in the last month – I appreciate it,” he jokes.
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“And I’d like to thank Jay and his family for the dedication – his children, Cutter and Ryder, and his wife, Wendy,” Carol interjects. “The dedication to making this all happen has been phenomenal.”
When it comes down to it, what really is the key behind A Shiner Named Sioux’s success? Is it Jay’s riding? Carol’s knack for breeding world champions? His fans and support staff? Or is it his lucky color?
“We have different shades of purple, but they’re supposed to be the same shade,” Carol says, showing off her and Jay’s purple shirts. “This is Sioux’s lucky color.”
It all started at the Snaffle Bit Futurity, when Sioux was 3.
“It has to be purple, but our purples seem to be different,” Carol laughs. “But it’s OK – they’re purple.”
But really, who has the right shade?
“We both do,” answers Carol with a hearty laugh.