Smart Chic Olena wasn’t just an intelligent and athletic performer: He transferred those skills to his offspring as he became a leading sire in cutting, working cow horse and reining.
The sorrel stallion was foaled in 1985 on the B.F. Phillips Ranch in Frisco, Texas, where cutting trainer Bill Glass first laid eyes on the colt.
“I paid $25,000 for him – and this was during the recession – so I gambled on ‘Chic,’ but he never made me sorry for it,” Bill says. Bill broke Chic out himself as a 2-year-old for 90 days, then worked the colt on the ranch. Bill showed the horse at several AQHA cuttings to qualify him for the AQHA World Championship Show. The horse won about $38,000.
Then Chic injured a hock in a stall accident, and veterinarians couldn’t say whether he would be sound enough to show again. That’s when Texan Jim Babcock bought the stallion. The stallion’s hock healed, and Jim sent him to trainer Dell Bell.
In the next two years, Dell showed Chic nearly 200 times. They competed in NCHA, AQHA and American Cutting Horse Association events.
In 1990, Smart Chic Olena won the AQHA senior cutting world championship. He was also the year-end high-point winner in cutting and senior cutting. At the same time he was being shown, he was being bred. Chic's introductory breeding fee was $750. By the time he was 20, his advertised fee was $25,000.
At the end of 1991, Chic retired from cutting, with more than $110,000 in NCHA earnings. Then Jim decided to expand the horse’s repertoire to include reining.
At the World Show that year, Chic became the world champion in senior reining. He remains the only horse to win world championships in both cutting and reining.
The next year, five Smart Chic Olenas made the NRHA Futurity finals. Chic sons and daughters have accrued more than $7 million in reining.
He was euthanized June 24, 2012, but his records keep piling up. Chic’s direct sons and daughters are still competing. He has – so far – sired 11 open world champions, four amateur world champions and two youth world champions.
Smart Chic Olena was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2018.
Biography updated as of March 2018.