fbpx Skip to main content

By Molly Montag
June 12, 2024
Quarter Horse News

At one time, elite reined cow horse and   reining stallions went off to the breeding shed never to see the inside of a show arena again. Unless their fans visited the ranch, they probably only saw their favorite retired show horses in pictures or promotional videos released by stallion stations and breeding facilities. More and more, however, young breeding stallions are either staying in training or returning to the show pen for select lucrative events. Such was the case with Quahadi, who is now a breeding stallion at the famed 6666 Ranch. The attractive red roan Burnett Ranches LLC-bred stallion, whose first foals turn 3 this year, has been a familiar face at the top ranks of the reined cow horse industry throughout his career. When EquiStat Elite $6 Million Rider Boyd Rice thought about horses he wanted to ride in the qualifier for the Reined Cow Horse Challenge at this year’s The Run For A Million, he knew his trusted show partner Quahadi should be in the lineup. The top five riders in the qualifying class—which was held Friday, June 7, at the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Western Derby—make the lineup for the lucrative Reined Cow Horse Challenge at The Run For A Million. The field is limited to 15 riders, and all must qualify in order to show at the event scheduled for Aug. 12-17 in Las Vegas. So, when it came to who he was going to ride in this past weekend’s qualifier, Rice put in a call to Taylor Sheridan, actor-producer and said to be a member of the ownership of the 6666 Ranch. Sheridan, who has competed in all three Western performance horse disciplines, is the co-creator of the popular Yellowstone television series and started The Run For A Million horse show. “When I got ready to come down here, I called Taylor and asked him if I could bring Quahadi. And he said, ‘Just go get him and get him ready and see what happens.’,” Rice said, who has previously ridden Quahadi twice in reined cow horse events held during The Run For A Million. “So, we got him from the from the ranch, about, oh, I don’t know, three weeks before we came out here, I guess. And we got him ready and took him out [to Scottsdale] and he never, never missed a beat from the last time I showed him.” The 2013 son of EquiStat Elite $8 Million Sire and fellow 6666 Ranch stallion Bet Hesa Cat and out of Ginnin Attraction (by Tanquery Gin) marked a 444.5 (222 rein|222.5 cow) to win both The Run For A Million qualifier and the Open Bridle class. Together, the two titles added $13,153 to his lifetime EquiStat record, which now stands at more than $162,534. Even after a break for his breeding duties, Quahadi remains an exceptionally honest show partner, Rice said. “Quahadi, has never been in trouble in his life. He never makes…I mean, if he makes a mistake, it’s an honest one. He never gets in trouble for nothing, because he just comes out and he’s the same every day. If he makes a mistake, before I can get the slack out of the reins, he apologizes. I’m serious. That’s just kind of the horse he is.” “When I show him in the reining, he’s just the same every time. He never tries to outthink me. He never tries to do anything. He slides a mile, he turns fast, he runs them circles just as hard as he can run them and he’s going to be 73.5/74 every time you ride in there on him. And then down the fence, he’s just one of them horses that could go do it on his own.” Rice was second in The Run For A Million qualifier on another horse, My Boots Are Royal, marking a composite of 443.5 (222 rein|221.5 cow). While Rice can ride any horse he wants at The Run For A Million, he said the current plan is to take Quahadi and My Boots Are Royal to the show. First nod goes to Quahadi, Rice said, but if for some reason Quahadi isn’t ready or gets hurt, My Boots Are Royal would get the slot. The runner-up spot was another good showing for My Boots Are Royal, who in April won four titles at the NRCHA Stallion Stakes. He and Rice won that show’s Open Bridle, Open Bridle Spectacular, Open Two-Rein and Open Two-Rein Spectacular championships. Bred by his owners, Kit and Charlie Moncrief, My Boots Are Royal banked more than $23,383 in Scottsdale to push his lifetime earnings of more than $75,357, according to EquiStat.

2024 The Run For A Million Qualifiers Like their counterparts in cutting and reining, cow horse riders earn their spot in The Run For A Million lineup at a series of qualifying events. The NRCHA slated three for the field in the 2024 The Run For A Million: the first was the National Stock Horse Association (NSHA) Pre-Futurity in August, 2023; next is this event, the NRCHA Western Derby; and the final opportunity to qualify is at next month’s NRCHA Hackamore Classic in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The top five riders from each of the three events qualify for the Cow Horse Challenge at The Run For A Million. Riders who qualified at the NSHA Pre-Futurity, which was held at the South Point the week after that year’s The Run For A Million, were: Jake Telford, Shane Steffan, Sarah Dawson, Justin Wright and Abbie Phillips. The NSHA Pre-Futurity qualifiers will be joined by Rice and the other top five finishers this past weekend in Scottsdale: Matt Koch, Shadd Parkinson, Gusti Buerger and Erin Taormino. Because of how much is on the line, qualifying events are nerve-wracking experiences, Rice said. “The pressure is on, especially if you’ve been there before to The Run For The Million,” Rice said. “It’s so much fun to be out there and be a part of that. You want to be in there so you can go and compete at that level and be there with all the reiners and the cutters. It’s just a big fun time.” Plus, because of the horsepower and the skill on display in the qualifiers and associated Open Bridle events, Rice said winning has become more difficult than ever. “The Bridle class used to be hard to win. You had to rein like nobody’s business and then you had to just get the right cow,” Rice said. “It’s like that now, too, but it’s even tougher. There’s more pressure and even more good horses are showing up because of trying to get qualified.”

Riders Qualified for the 2024 The Run For A Million Cow Horse Challenge List includes the riders and the *horse they rode to earn the qualifying spot in the 2024 Cow Horse Challenge at The Run For A Million. *NOTE: Riders are not obligated to ride their qualifying horse at The Run For A Million. They can ride any bridle horse of their choosing.

  • Gusti Buerger (Quizzicality)
  • Sarah Dawson (Smart Chic An Tari)
  • Matt Koch (MPH Voodoo Badger)
  • Shadd Parkinson (CR Tuff Star War)
  • Abbie Phillips (Peptos Stylin Time)
  • Boyd Rice (Quahadi)
  • Shane Steffan (Sprinkld Confetticat)
  • Erin Taormino (Bad To Tha Boon)
  • Jake Telford (Upper Class Cat)
  • Justin Wright (Scooter Kat)

6666 Ranch