Skip to main content

A great modern-day cutting nick results in the year’s top reined cow horse junior stallion.
By Larry Thornton
Quarter Horse News – May 1, 2013

WR This Cats Smart

Equi-Stat Leading Junior Reined Cow Horse Stallion WR This Cats Smart
—Photo by Cam Essick

WR This Cats Smart is the 2012 Leading Junior Reined Cow Horse Stallion. Bred by Wiens Ranch Company Inc., he is owned by Wagonhound Land & Cattle Company and stands at The Four Sixes
Ranch. WR This Cats Smart is no stranger to the reined cow horse junior stallion list, as he was the No. 1 reined cow horse junior stallion last year, as well.

A look at the pedigree and show record of WR This Cats Smart reveals a strong foundation already in place to become a leading sire. He won $236,513 while placing in a number of aged events, including a third in the 2005 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Super Stakes Classic Open. He won the 2005 NCHA Open World Finals Show Championship. His sire is High Brow Cat, the all-time leading sire of cutting money winners, and his dam is The Smart Look, a mare who is a leading producer with offspring earnings of $1,281,374.

A closer examination of WR This Cats Smart’s pedigree shows one of the all-time great nicks, or crosses, in the cutting industry. A nick is the breeding phenomenon that happens when a stallion is bred to a mare, or group of mares, and produces superior offspring on a consistent basis. The mating of High Brow Cat on Smart Little Lena mares serves as a great example of a modern-
day nick.

The origin of this mating comes through leading breeder Jack Waggoner, who bought a horse named Smart Bronze. He was sired by Smart Little Lena and out of Smart Little Kitty, by Smart Little Lena. The success Waggoner had with Smart Bronze led to his buying Smart Little Kitty, who had High Brow Cat on her side. High Brow Cat went on to earn $126,252 with championships in the Augusta Futurity Classic Open and the Chisholm Trail Classic Open.

The next event in this process comes with That Smarts, by Smart Little Lena. When this mare was crossed back on High Brow Cat, it resulted in Pappion Cat, $342,096; That Cool Cat, $259,683; A Hocus Pocus Cat, $164,338; and That Sly Cat, $104,493. The cross of High Brow Cat on The Smart Look reinforces the success of High Brow Cat on Smart Little Lena mares.

WR This Cats Smart Dam The Smart Look

WR This Cats Smart’s dam, The Smart Look
—Photo courtesy Strawn Valley Ranch

The Smart Look earned $48,723 in the arena. She is by Smart Little Lena and out of Dox Royal Smoke, a daughter of Freckles Playboy. Dox Royal Smoke is out of Vickie Smoke, by Smoke 49. The dam of Vickie Smoke is Miss Victoria, who is out of Royalena, by Royal King.

The Smart Look has produced three foals that have combined to give her an NCHA Triple Crown. She is the dam of Smart Lookin Hi Brow, 1999 NCHA Summer Spectacular Derby Open Champion; One Smart Lookin Cat, 2003 NCHA Futurity Open Champion; and Dual Smart Rey, 2006 NCHA Super Stakes Derby Open Champion. To date, The Smart Look has produced 32 foals with 23 performance-age foals, 15 performers, seven American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) point-earners and 14 NCHA money-earners.

An astute pedigree analyst is always on the lookout for happenings that show up in a cross to give insight into breeding more good horses. Waggoner said in a 2003 interview that a key to
Smart Little Lena’s success was because of his Royal King blood. He said, “I think the intelligence and the cowiness that Cat passes on is the Royal King coming through.”

Royal King has proven to be a great influence as his blood comes down through a pedigree to still be a factor today. Both That Smarts and The Smart Look carry the blood of Royal King.

Waggoner would reinforce his point of view when talking about That Smarts. He stated it this way, “She’s very smart and she’s smart like a Royal King. She’s very cowy and she’s tremendously quick.” So, with these comments in mind, let’s look at the pedigree influence of Royal King. That Smarts has a breeding pattern of 4 x 3 x 3 to Royal King. The Smart Look has a breeding pattern of 4 x 5 to Royal King.

Tuckers Smart Cat

Tuckers Smart Cat is WR Smart Cat’s leading reined cow horse money-earner.
—Photo by Primo Morales

The appearance of Royal King in the scheme of things is an indication of what is called a blood affinity between the stallion and mare. These blood affinities are common in nicks. This time, it is the sire side and Smart Little Lena. His dam is Smart Peppy, who is out of Royal Smart, by Royal King. Then, with That Smarts and The Smart Look, there is the linebreeding to Royal King that results in the blood affinity, as it now appears on both sides of the pedigree.

The next situation seen in these pedigrees is what is called the return of the blood of the sire’s dam to the cross. In this case, the blood of Smart Little Lena is returned to High Brow Cat, who is out of a Smart Little Lena mare. This is a common breeding pattern that increases the influence of the sire’s mother on the pedigree. In this case, it increases the influence of the Royal King blood in Smart Little Lena on the cross. That makes Waggoner’s comments about the Royal King blood extremely interesting.

When a stallion begins to stand at stud, it is important for them to cross well with many bloodlines. A preliminary way to determine a successful cross is to look at the sire of the broodmares to which a stallion is bred. For example, WR This Cats Smart’s reined cow horses include some of his leading money-earners – Sinful Playgirl $79,976; Halo Cat, $70,263; TF The Gus Man, $64,111; Dew It Flo $46,382; This Cats Sticky, $33,414; No Foolish Cat, $25,574; Hick A Cat, $21,405; and Smart Lookin Cat, $20,338.

The leading money winner in this division for WR This Cats Smart is Tuckers Smart Cat, a winner of $123,841. The pedigree shows an interesting blood affinity for the nick of WR This Cats Smart and the Doc Tom Tucker mare Smoke Time Tuck. Smoke Time Tuck is out of Ima Smoke, by Mr Fools Smoke, by Mr Gun Smoke. The Mr Gun Smoke breeding is also seen in Vickie Smoke, the second dam of The Smart Look. Her sire is Smoke 49, by Mr Gun Smoke. This creates a blood affinity between WR This Cats Smart and Smoke Time Tuck from Mr Gun Smoke.

Sinful Cat

Sinful Cat is WR This Cats Smart’s secondleading reined cow horse money-earner.
—Photo by Primo Morales

So, this leads to the question – is this a one-time phenomenon or a repeated happening? A look at some other WR This Cats Smart winners in the cutting arena shows a definite pattern.

WR This Cats Smart is the sire of the 2011 NCHA Non-Pro Horse of the Year Teles Bout This Cat, who is out of Teles Lies, by Lenas Telesis. Lenas Telesis is out of Preliminary Plans, who is out of Gun Smoke’s Dream, the 1972 NCHA Futurity Open Champion sired by Mr Gun Smoke.

Some other WR This Cats Smart performers that carry this blood affinity to Mr Gun Smoke include: This Kats Kool, PCCHA Futurity Open Reserve Champion; Smokin Cat Wacky, PCCHA 3-Year-Old Open Gelding Stakes Champion and Smokin Bobcat, 2012 South Point Classic Open Champion.

The phenomena of nicks and blood affinities have been around since the first horses were bred. They are not always going to work, but by looking at and comparing multiple examples, patterns develop that can be useful tools to follow in breeding the next generation.

WR This Cats Smart comes from a nick between High Brow Cat and Smart Little Lena mares, and the blood affinity they share. WR This Cats Smart is crossing with a variety of modern sire lines in the broodmares he is being bred to, with one of the more consistent crosses on mares that give him the Mr Gun Smoke blood affinity. ★

(Read More PDF)