By Larri Jo StarkeyThe American Quarter Horse JournalDecember 16, 2013
Clay Johnson rides Dual Smart Kitty to the NCHA Futurity open title December 14 for owners Rusty and Shelley Simpson. (Larri Jo Starkey photo) For more photos from the open finals, scroll to the slide show below.
Dual Smart Kitty marked a lot of firsts December 14.
The little sorrel mare was the first aged event cutter that owner Rusty Simpson purchased. She was the first National Cutting Horse Association Futurity finalist for Rusty and his family. She was the first Futurity finalist for rider Clay Johnson of Shadow Oak Ranch in Stephenville, Texas.
And with a score of 224.5, Dual Smart Kitty was first in the open finals, winning a check for $200,000 for the Simpson family of Nemo, Texas.
“My daughter (Sadye) started cutting a little bit with Jeremy (Barwick) over there at Shadow Oak Ranch,” Rusty said. “We got interested in it, and came up here and bought one.”
Dual Smart Kitty is a 2010 mare by Dual Smart Rey and out of Cats Peptolena by High Brow Cat. She was bred by Tim L. Brewer of Weatherford, Texas. Rusty, who’s in the rock crushing business, and his wife, Shelley, bought the filly as a 2-year-old.
Even from the start, she showed a lot of promise, Rusty said, but in the finals, she really showed her mettle.
“Even a year ago, she was cutting about like she is now,” Rusty said. “It’s just unbelievable. She’d get down and dance.”
Working fifth in the second set of cattle, Clay concentrated on sitting still in the saddle.
“Last night (in the semifinals) I sat as still as I have in 10 years,” Clay said. “I marked a (222) on her last night and she was great. All day today, I told myself to sit there and wait on her, let her do her thing. I just sat on her tonight and she crawled around underneath me. She was so smart tonight, and it felt like she was stopping hard. It just worked out great.”
In the first two go-rounds Dual Smart Kitty scored 217s to make it back to the semifinals. For the finals, all of the Simpsons were keyed up watching their filly snake the cows out of the herd.
“We were sitting on the edges of our seats, for sure,” Rusty said. “It was kinda hard to breathe there for a little bit."
Journal Coverage of the NCHA Futurity
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