Cassandra Cody and Boss Sugar Bars were reining champions, champion producers and best friends who shared the “granny pasture” at Loomis Ranch.
October 24, 2010
From The American Quarter Horse Journal
Some girls do it all. And very few have done it all better than Cassandra Cody and Boss Sugar Bars, two show champions who competed at the highest level, then retired to produce the next generation of champions with a variety of stallions. In the golden years of their long lives, they occupied five special acres with their own barn and pond, adjacent to Bob and Pam Loomis’ house at Loomis Ranch in Marietta, Oklahoma.
“Once, a visitor looked at them and only saw two really old mares,” Bob says. “He asked why we kept them in such a place of honor. And I said it was because I was so very proud of them. When those mares were younger, nothing on my place was prettier. And when they competed, few horses were better. They earned their retirement. In their old age, we came to love every one of their funny little personality quirks, and Cassandra Cody was the biggest character of all.”
Cassandra Cody was by American Quarter Horse Hall of Famer Joe Cody (Bill Cody-Taboo by King P-234), the head sire at Tom Fuller’s Willow Brook Farm in Pennsylvania. After arriving at Willow Brook in 1964, Joe Cody quickly earned the reputation as a sire of versatile athletes, particularly reiners.
In 1976, Bob rode his first Joe Cody, a big, gorgeous gelding named High Proof. They performed at the National Reining Horse Association open championship and won the AQHA world championship in senior reining. That same year, Bob also tallied his first NRHA Futurity win aboard Benito Paprika, a Joe Cody granddaughter.
Take a ride with Jim Jennings through the ranches of the “Best Remudas.” The book features stunning photography and descriptive text about each of the ranches and their horses, on which they rely in their daily work.
“It was a thrilling year,” he says. “And ever since, I’ve wrapped my career around the Joe Cody family of horses.” Every year, he traveled to Willow Brook to meet with Fuller and select the 2-year-olds that he would train. But in 1977, a filly in the yearling pasture stopped him in his tracks.
“She was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen,” Bob says. “Her dam, Dudes Baby Doll, was an AQHA champion mare. Tom wasn’t quite ready to part with her, but I was worried that someone else would come along, offer him a fortune for her, and I’d never see her again. So I persuaded him to let me take Cassandra Cody home.”
While Bob campaigned reiners, young “Cassandra” tagged along, accumulating AQHA points in halter and junior western pleasure. As a 3-year-old, Cassandra Cody carried Bob to the 1979 NRHA Futurity championship, and they graced the cover of the very first NRHA Reiner magazine.
Cassandra Cody’s NRHA career earnings were $26,765. Later, as a broodmare, she produced seven performers, including two NRHA limited-open reserve champions.
“Everything Cassandra did, she did well,” Bob says. “When Mr. Fuller dispersed his herd, he sold her to me for a song – far, far less than her worth – because he knew how I felt about her.”
Cassandra Cody would never leave Loomis Ranch again. In time, she was joined by Boss Sugar Bars, who years earlier began life at the ranch.
Before Topsail Cody – another Joe Cody forever linked to Bob – arrived on the scene, Boss’ Nowata Star was head stallion at Loomis Ranch. The 1972 bay by Range Boss was a reserve AQHA world champion and NRHA money-earner. Bob bred him to Ready Sugar Bar for a pretty 1977 filly named Boss Sugar Bars.
When she was 3 years old, she and Bob placed third at the NRHA Futurity (while Bob and Topsail Cody won every go round). Next, he escorted her to the AQHA World Championship Show where they won the junior reining championship.
“ ‘Sugar’ was a monster stopper in any kind of dirt,” Bob says. “There was no such thing as bad footing for her. She was an amazing horse that gave you her all, every single time she walked into the pen.”
Bob sold Boss Sugar Bars to Star Bar Breeders, and the mare spent much of her breeding career at Tim McQuay’s place in Tioga, Texas. She was an all-time leading NRHA producer, the dam of 11 performers, with earnings in excess of $166,719, including Sugar Bar Buckaroo, the 1998 NRHA limited-open world champion and intermediate open world champion.
“Tim loves the horses like I do,” Bob says, “and he knew how much I loved Sugar. So when her breeding days were over, he called me up and said, ‘If you want her, come and get her.’ That very day, Pam and I hooked up the trailer and brought Sugar home.”
Boss Sugar Bars went directly to the Loomis “granny pasture,” to live the good life with Cassandra Cody and another grand old gal, Lady El Dorado, the mare who carried Bob to the 1978 NRHA Futurity title. In time, Lady El Dorado, 32, died, and then there were two.
Take a glimpse at the ranches of the “Best Remudas.” The book features stunning photography and descriptive text about each of the ranches and their horses, on which they rely in their daily work.
The two – quite inseparable by then – received doting care. Pam insisted that she feed them their alfalfa and 5-gallon buckets of equine senior feed every day.
“They were best friends,” she says. “And such characters!”
On long, lazy summer days, Cassandra Cody would wade into the middle of their pond and stand with water halfway up her sides. For hours, she would cool herself and delight onlookers, flipping water high over her back. The water play had an added benefit: It seemed to help ease the aches and pains of mild arthritis.
In late summer, when water in the pond got low, she’d turn her attention to the automatic watering trough and continue her splashing. “I’d hear that pump running all day to keep up with her,” Bob says with a chuckle. “When she was in her late 20s and hadn’t been ridden in years, I had an idea to saddle her up, take her to the indoor arena and lope some circles. You know, she hadn’t forgotten a thing!”
In 2008, brief months apart, Cassandra Cody, 32, and Boss Sugar Bars, 31, left this good earth. No regrets.
Well, maybe just one.
“It would’ve been something to have a photo of Cassandra splashing in her pond,” Pam says. “What a character!”