By Larri Jo Starkey and Tara ChristiansenThe American Quarter Horse JournalJuly 4, 2012
R.L. Chartier rides SL Jaybird to the win in AQHA senior cutting and the win in the NCHA Mercuria World Series of Cutting. (Larri Jo Starkey photo) For more photos, scroll to the bottom.
By Larri Jo Starkey
Winning the Mercuria-National Cutting Horse Association World Series of Cutting is a great way to start a run for the year-end world championship. With $25,000 added in the open, it makes a nice addition to any horse’s money pot.
For SL Jaybird, it could be something big.
The 2002 sorrel gelding worked last in the open finals July 4 at Battle in the Saddle in Oklahoma City. Co-owner R.L. Chartier of Weatherford, Texas, was in the saddle, and he said the horse needs a lot of cow to work his best.
“We cut three cows that we liked,” he said. “The (first) cow really didn’t take us as (hard) as I wanted to (go). This horse needs a lot of cow – he can handle it. I went back and cut the red cow, and she was great in the middle of the pen right in front of the judges where you want to be.”
After a spinning, churning work, it was time to pull back into the herd for a third cow.
“I had another cow in mind for my third cow, but the white cow was right there, and she was a little wild early,” he said. “She acted a little juicy, but I drove to her and took her to the top (of the herd), and tried to finish her off. It all worked.”
R.L. and “Bird” scored a 223 to take the title, R.L.’s first.
“I was reserve in Houston (in February),” he said.
SL Jaybird is by Smart Little Jerry and out of the mare Peyote Bird by Hickoryote. He was bred by Renee Carter of Santo, Texas, who rode the horse until he was 4.
That’s when Mica Chartier, R.L.’s wife, bought him, in spite of his quirky personality.
“He’s kinda goofy to be around other than in the show pen,” R.L. said. “Everywhere else, he’s a little spooky. He loves his job. He’ll hold a cow, and he’d break his back leg before he’d stop trying to hold a cow.
R.L., who hails from a cutting family, has been training professionally for five years. He said while nothing has been decided, the nice earnings from this show could push them into making a run for the NCHA world finals.
“We were talking about it last night when we made the finals,” he said. “This show, if you won it or were second, it put you up in the mix. I don’t know what we’ll do now. He’s such a good horse. Maybe we’ll go to the bigger of these Mercurias and see how it goes.”
In addition to the Mercuria win, good for a $10,860.40 check, R.L. and Bird were first in AQHA senior cutting, winning a set of spurs.
By Tara Christiansen
When Mary Ann Rapp walked into the herd for the Mercuria-NCHA World Series of Cutting non-pro finals, she had her eye on five cows. Her favorite of the bunch, an Angus-cross, didn’t shape up, but her three of her other picks turned out to be just the adversaries she and Toy Engine needed to clinch the non-pro title at Battle in the Saddle.
Mary Ann and her 6-year-old gray mare cut first in a set of eight, and the Weatherford, Texas, cutter wasn’t too sure that her score of 218 would hold up.
“We watched them settle and the cattle were a little tougher than I expected,” Mary Ann recalled. “There was a red dark-face cow that was my favorite cow, and I just didn’t get into position to cut it. I didn’t want to have a rough cut.”
The first two cows that Mary Ann pulled out were Charolais-crosses with a lot of play to them.
“Those gray cows, I really liked them, but when I went in, (I found out that) they were a little more cow than I thought they were going to be,” she admitted. “She handled it, and it all turned out good. We put a score down, and let them come and try to beat us. I was surprised it held up – I thought that I’d end up maybe second, but I’m glad the score did hold up.”
As of June, Toy Engine had NCHA earnings of $170,269.61, but her winnings of $10,610 on Wednesday night took that total a notch higher. And all of that’s pretty darn good for a mare who’s been through surgery and rehab in the last year and a half.
“She had a chip in her ankle the fall of her 4-year-old year and she had to have surgery, so we missed half of her 5-year-old year, letting her heal up,” Mary Ann said.
But 2012 has gotten off to a great start for Mary Ann and her homebred mare.
“This year we won Abilene on her, and then I won Tunica on her,” she shared. “I’d like to make the top 15 on her – that was my goal. This check here tonight really helps with that – it gets me back up in the top 10. I was sitting 16th coming in here tonight.”
Toy Engine hails from a dam line that has done the Rapps well. By Playgun and out of the Smart Little Lena mare Cool The Engines, Toy Engine descends from Cats Full Measure. Back in 1999, Cats Full Measure, dam of Cool The Engines, won the NCHA Futurity non-pro championship with Mary Ann’s husband, Phil, in the saddle.
Great dam lines are something that the Rapps have turned into an art form. In the July issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal, Phil and arguably his foundation broodmare, Tapeppyoka Peppy, are featured in “Great Rides.” Tapeppyoka Peppy is actually the great-granddam of last year’s Battle in the Saddle Mercuria-NCHA open cutting champion, Dont Look Twice.
Mary Ann already has her next stops planned out for the World Series of Cutting race: the Idaho Cutting Horse Futurity in Nampa; El Rancho Futurity in Rancho Murrieta, California; and the All American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio.
But before then, Toy Engine has at least one more thing on her plate.
“She hopefully has a Cats Merada (embryo) in her right now – I’ve got to flush her on Saturday,” Mary Ann shared. And that’s not the only baby Toy Engine will be expecting in 2013: She’s got a High Brow Cat, a Smooth As A Cat and a Dual Rey foal all on the way.
And if that’s not enough, Mary Ann is already enjoying a yearling Smooth As A Cat out of Toy Engine, plus a yearling by Third Cutting, who Mary Ann has already named Toy Story Three.
“I’m kind of excited about him, just by his name,” she added with a laugh.
It just might prove to be the perfect name for the sequel, or "triquel," to some great mares.
Download the complete results from the Battle in the Saddle World Series of Cutting event:
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