When the National Reined Cow Horse Association wrapped the 2021 show year, offspring earnings tallied showed that two stallions achieved the earnings milestone to become NRCHA Million Dollar Sires: Dual Smart Rey and Woody Be Tuff.
The NRCHA Million Dollar Sire accolade has only been earned by 22 sires since the association’s inception in 1949. Owned by Strawn Valley Ranch, of Strawn Valley, Texas, Dual Smart Rey (Dual Rey x The Smart Look x Smart Little Lena), a 2002 Quarter Horse, has NRCHA earners of $1,038,613.54 as of December 1, 2021. The stallion earned more than $330,000 and the NCHA Open Super Stakes Champion title in the arena. When Don Horton dispersed his Quarter Horse program in 2013, he kept Dual Smart Rey, called “Lloyd,” as the stallion was just venturing into the breeding world. At the time, the family was focused on cutting horses, and the sire had offspring earning more than $9 million in the NCHA.
Lloyd garnered attention when NRCHA Million Dollar Rider Kelby Phillips piloted 2013 gelding Duals Lucky Charm (out of TRR Ms Pepcid Olena) to the 2016 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Championship. The win drew the eye of reined cow horse breeders, and after also winning the 2020 World’s Greatest Horseman with Phillips, Duals Lucky Charm, owned by JB6 LLC, is Dual Smart Rey’s highest money earning reined cow horse with $273,753.
“We were counting it down! It’s not easy to be a reined cow horse million-dollar stud,” Michelle Horton said. “It’s great he made that milestone. We knew that Lloyd had babies in reined cow horse, but until my daughter, Madeline, started riding cow horses, we weren’t familiar with it. In January 2020, she made her first fence run and has been hooked ever since. Even though Lloyd had been marketed in the cutting horse world by my father-in-law, Don—who firmly believes a good horse will market himself—my husband and I realized the potential for him as a reined cow horse sire and really started a push to market him there.”
In 2021, the Non Pro Snaffle Bit Futurity Champion Abbie Phillips rode was sired by Dual Smart Rey—TRR Dual Smart Olena (out of TRR Ms Pepcid Olena). That win boosted Dual Smart Rey’s offspring earnings by $25,000. The Hortons look forward to watching the next NRCHA earners make their mark in the arena.
Woody Be Tuff (Nitas Wood x Tuffs Junie x Tuff Wood) sired the 2021 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Champion Zak 34 (a 2018 stallion out of Cat Digs Lucinda), which helped to catapult him over the million-dollar mark to claim $1,176,601.12 in reined cow horse offspring earnings. Owned by the Center Ranch in Centerville, Texas, the 2001 sorrel Quarter Horse stallion stamps many of his offspring with his signature sorrel color with a flaxen mane and hair and, often, white legs or blazed face. When a horse matching that description enters the arena with a “C-Sigma” brand, it is more than likely sired by Woody Be Tuff.
“He’s a bigger horse and not a typical smaller, cow-bred horse,” said Jay Dickson, Center Ranch manager. “His trainability is his most valuable asset, even the horses we punch cows on the ranch. Everyone wants one not only for the looks but for the demeanor and talent. Woody Be Tuff has earned his place in the industry. He’s an awesome horse, and his legacy will live on for many years.”
Following Center Ranch owner Finis Welch’s death the ranch is being dispersed and Woody Be Tuff will be sold in December 2021. However, Dickson says the stallion and Welch’s sigma sign will forever be linked through the many offspring stamped with both the stallion’s qualities and the ranch’s brand. The stallion sells at the Center Ranch Dispersal at the 2021 Western Bloodstock NCHA Futurity Sale, Thursday, December 9th.
Milestones such as these are due in part to the commitment of the NRCHA Board of Directors and sponsor family that help to continually increase the prize money awarded for the accomplishments of these horses and trainers at premier events. The efforts of dedicated owners and breeders push our industry forward, making horses that compete in the three disciplines of reined cow horses competitive in any industry.
“When a horse begins to reshape a sport by nature of the offspring they send to the pen, they’ve made a lasting impact on the industry,” said Anna Morrison, NRCHA executive director. “That is certainly the case with Dual Smart Rey and Woody Be Tuff, and we congratulate all of the connections of these great stallions.” For more information on the NRCHA Million Dollar Sire list, visit nrcha.com.