Phillip Ralls and Corey Cushing
The first leg of preliminary competition, the herd work, began at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity in Reno, Nevada, with two horses bred by NRCHA Corporate Partner San Juan Ranch tying at the top of the leader board with identical scores of 219.
The very first horse to work, SJR Metallic Star (Metallic Cat x Starlights Rhonda x Grays Starlight), set the bar high with the first 219 of the day. The roan stallion was shown by Paso Robles, California, horseman Phillip Ralls. The San Juan Ranch-bred entry is owned by Ralls’ mother, Billie Jo Ralls.
The other 219 score came deep in the third set, from NRCHA Million Dollar Rider Corey Cushing and SJR Diamond Rey (Dual Rey x Shiners Diamond Girl x Shining Spark), a stallion bred and owned by San Juan Ranch. SJR Diamond Rey is a half brother to CD Diamond (x CD Olena), the stallion Cushing rode to the 2012 Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Championship. CD Diamond is also bred and owned by San Juan Ranch.
All the Snaffle Bit Futurity action can be viewed live via webcast, thanks to the National Reined Cow Horse Association’s official videographer, Equine Promotion. The live feed is free to watch at www.NRCHA.com. Admission to the show is free until Finals weekend, Thursday, Oct. 1 – Saturday, Oct. 3. Click here to purchase Finals tickets through Ticketmaster.
The first Snaffle Bit Futurity was held in 1970 in Sacramento, Calif., and boasted 27 entries. Over time, the Futurity has become a high-profile, major spectator event, drawing hundreds of entries and thousands of fans who make the trip to Reno each year. Many cow horse enthusiasts describe their first trip to the Snaffle Bit Futurity as the reason they became hooked on the spine-tingling sport.
Other fun Futurity-related activities include the annual NRCHA Hall of Fame Banquet; the enormous Best of the West trade show; the Snaffle Bit Futurity Horse Sales; and a full slate of competitive hackamore, two-rein and bridle classes for horses aged four and up.
The annual Raffle Colt giveaway also is a mainstay at Reno – for the price of a single $10.00 ticket, you could win your very own royally-bred, started 2-year-old with a paid entry to the 2016 Snaffle Bit Futurity! The Raffle Colt is generously donated every year by the Ward Ranch, Kingsburg, Calif. The drawing is held during the Open Finals on Saturday, Oct. 3.