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Morgan Holmes and Smart Shooter

Robert J. Smith III and Fletchs Shorty Lena

Morgan Holmes and Mutt

ohn Jacob and Miss Chic Dun It

John Jacob and Miss Chic Dun It

Haily Findeisen and Suz Mountain Dew

Christina Cross and Smarty

Tracy Jo McFadden and Hannibal Lecter

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Robert J. Smith III and Morgan Holmes Earn Greatest Caballero Titles at SBA Championship Finals

Written by: Mary Adelaide Brakenridge
Client: Horse Show By Appointment
Release Date: 2013-10-11

Sarasota, FL – October 11, 2013 – The Greatest Caballero Competition highlighted the second day of Show By Appointment’s Championship Finals at the Triple J Ranch in Sarasota, FL. After strong performances in Thursday’s herd work, reining and fence work, riders vying for the title of Greatest Caballero came back to test their skills in steer stopping under the lights on Friday evening.

Robert J. Smith III and Fletchs Shorty Lena, owned by Ora Diehl, showed their consistency throughout all phases of competition to be crowned Greatest Open Caballero. Morgan Holmes and Jay Holmes’ Dun It Big took the title of Greatest Non Pro Caballero.

“The steer stopping is another aspect of the cow horse – it shows the all-around ability of the horse,” Smith said. “It would have been better if I could have caught my first loop, but my horse worked great and the steers were good.”

Holmes was on top of her game throughout the day, which included the first go for riders in most of the championship divisions. Along with her Greatest Non Pro Caballero title, she took the lead in three divisions: the Non Pro Hackamore on her own Mutt, with a score of 145, the Youth Bridle on her own Smart Shooter, with a score of 133.5, and the Non Pro Two Rein on Jay Holmes’ Im Dun R U, with a score of 142.5.

“My day was awesome, and the horses were really good,” Holmes said. She was happy to be competing Dun It Big after his long hiatus from the show ring, and although she had some trouble in the steer stopping, she enjoyed the experience nonetheless. “It was cool to be able to do something like that on him,” she said.

Her father, Jay Holmes, came out strong in the Open Hackamore, scoring 145 to lead the class with his own Senor Dun It. In the 2K Open Hackamore, Corey Rodgers and Joana Azevedo’s Dun It Big N Smart earned a score of 137.5 to sit in first place.

John Jacob and Blair Bynum’s Miss Chic Dun It took an early lead in the Intermediate Open Hackamore with 140.5.

“We had good, clean rein work and drew a good cow,” Jacob said. “The mare is a nice, quiet young horse. You can put kids on her – she has that type of mind, but she really can perform as well. She is for sale, and I believe she’ll be a great bridle horse as she gets more seasoned.”

“The footing is always nice at Triple J,” he continued. “It’s good for the rein work, because it’s going to let your horses go, but it’s deep enough for your cow work, so they don’t fall out from underneath you. They always have great dirt. The cows have been great all weekend – very consistent.”

Other riders leading the way in the championships include Rick Steed and 177 Performance Horses’ Justa Merada Nut, who earned 146 in the Open Two Rein, Jeff Pressler and Paula Burnett’s Oh Cay Floyd, who scored 137 in the 2K Non Pro Hackamore, and Jody Brooks and Murray Logan’s Whiz Bar Sooper, who are out in front in the Level Two Boxing with 144.5.

Haily Findeisen and Barry Spinweber’s Suz Mountain Dew moved into first in the Youth Boxing with a strong score of 146.5. “I was happy with everything, especially with the cow,” Findeisen said. “I just started riding this horse after my horse passed away two months ago. It’s been difficult, but this horse is really broke and easy to ride. I’m looking forward to making another clean and good run on Sunday.”

Tracy Jo McFadden and Murray Logan’s Hannibal Lecter scored an impressive 146 to hold the lead in the Level One Boxing. McFadden just recently got back in the saddle after having a spinal fusion six months ago.

“I’m on cloud nine right now,” McFadden said. “I’d had all this major surgery – the spinal fusion, and I had my knee done three weeks ago. But I really wanted to compete in the Championship Finals after qualifying. So the doctor gave me the okay on Friday to ride.”

She enjoyed the ride on Hannibal Lecter. “He’s super energetic and absolutely beautiful,” she said. “He moves really nice – super smooth. He takes his cues from you, so you have to be really quiet. But he’s sweet and kind as can be, and he has a lot of heart.”

“The facility here is really nice, and the arena’s amazing,” she added.

The leader after the first go in the Little Britches Youth class is Christina Cross, who rode Smarty to a score of 143. Cross competes in the Little Britches alongside her twin sister, Victoria. The twins just turned 9 on Monday. A year ago, for their 8th birthday, their present was their first riding lesson with Rick Steed. They’ve come a long way in their riding since then: this year, their present was becoming the new owners of the horses they have been riding.

“Smarty is a really good cow horse,” Christina Cross said. “His trot is bumpy but his canter is nice. It’s fun to go fast, and the horses are really fun.”

After the day’s championship classes wrapped up, spectators and competitors gathered to enjoy hors d’oeuvres sponsored by 177 Performance Horses and watch some of Show By Appointment’s special offerings. The Greatest Caballero Competition’s steer stopping led things off, followed by Down the Hairy Fence, an exciting fence run only competition that kept onlookers on the edge of their seats. Josh Veal and Miss Cat Kimlena put in a thrilling performance down the fence and earned the highest score of the class.

“It was smooth and fast,” Veal said of his ride. “Everything flowed really well. The only way you can score big is to have a fast cow and a high degree of difficulty.”

He said he enjoyed the fast pace of Down the Hairy Fence. “The whole atmosphere is great. The fence work is what we all try to work up to. The herd work and the reining all build up to the fence work, which is like a finale to us.”

“I’ve shown all over the country, and Triple J Ranch is one of the best places,” he added. “The ground is great, the cows are great, the people are great – everything is set up to flow easily. This has always been one of the best places to come. Everybody helps and roots each other on.” 

Many of the riders who had their first go today will return on Saturday to finish out the championship classes, while others will complete their divisions on Sunday. The Horse Sale Class is the evening highlight on Saturday. Horses for sale will be exhibited in front of potential buyers, who can see what the horses are capable of and how they perform in a show atmosphere. Saturday also features the Open, Non Pro, and Non Pro Boxing Derbies.

About Show By Appointment

Show By Appointment’s fresh approach to reined cow horse competition has been an unprecedented success in its first season. SBA aims to make showing “Fun, Fair, and Affordable” for competitors.  To accommodate those traveling long distances to show and help busy riders fit showing in at their convenience, SBA allows riders to reserve their own ride times in advance. This cuts down on usual travel expenses such as stall rentals and hotels and encourages competitors to make the trip and join in the fun.

Each SBA series includes four shows. Riders who compete at three out of the four shows earn a place in the annual Championship Finals, held at Triple J Ranch in Sarasota, FL. The Finals offer over $100,000 in cash and prizes. Competitors may also qualify for the Finals in absentia by simply sending in entries and payment to each of the four shows. This system is designed to allow riders a chance to compete in the Championship Finals without spending the season chasing points and incurring excessive competition expenses.

Keep up-to-date with SBA’s news by liking them on Facebook at, following them on Twitter at, and checking out their website at See SBA videos at

Show By Appointment Sponsors

Triple J Ranch
Steed Training
Jacob Livestock
177 Performance Horses
J.W. Brooks Custom Hat Co.
Ranch Feed & Pet Supply Inc
(772) 288-3544 /
Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham – Perry, GA
Equestrian Services International
Everglades Farm Equipment
Skyline Vaquero
Don Rich Saddlery
(270) 791-6448


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