Sic 'Em—the 2012 PRCA/AQHA Head Horse of the Year—died at his retirement home at Reliance Ranches in Llano, Texas, July 20.
An ex-cutter who out-grew his Freckles Playboy/Doc O Dynamite breeding, Sic 'Em helped kickstart 26-time World Champion Trevor Brazile's heading career and was one of the defining horses of the last two decades.
[Learn More: Managing Your Horse's Mind with Trevor Brazile]
"He got to his full potential in spite of a lot of the stuff that I did," Brazile admitted. "I got him when he was 4, and in six months went to rodeoing on him. The year after Speed and Rich quit roping, I’m Rich’s first partner after Speed and I had two horses that had never been to a rodeo heading: Stinger and Sic Em. I had them both at the same time, Rich as a partner, and I had to get my horses behind the barrier before we could start the season."
On Sic 'Em, Brazile dominated in 2012, winning the regular season after locking in wins at the Cheyenne (Wyoming) Frontier Days, the California Rodeo Salinas and the Caldwell (Idaho) Night Rodeo.
"He scored great, he faced great, and he was a cutting horse but he ran to cattle and pulled the horns to you. Him and Texaco had the same style of how they could catch up, just so fast. The worst of it is, Sic Em wasn’t any better in 2012 than he was in 2008. He’d caught me up to him by then. I had him, and due to injury I’d been without him, so I had to rodeo without the horse. When I got him back that year, I realized was going to use his strengths instead of using him like any horse. I didn’t feel like I had to hit the barrier and reach. I could really use him."
Sic 'Em spent a portion of his career sidelined by a rear suspensory branch tear, though he never stopped working because of the injury. Brazile just had to pay close attention to notice that he was hurting somewhere.
"Like every great horse does for their rider, Sic ‘Em legitimized me as a header. Any time you look back and don’t realize how good a horse is, you’re giving yourself way too much credit. I had no idea how good I had it once I didn’t have him. It makes you unfairly judge a lot of horses trying to find something that good again."
Lazy E and Reliance Ranches owner Gary McKinney traded Brazile Jubilant Version—a head horse now owned by Clint Summers—as a colt for Sic 'Em as the legendary head horse was ready to leave the rodeo road. There, four-time PRCA Bareback Riding World Champion Bobby Mote, who trains rope horses for Reliance Ranches, and his family put Sic 'Em to use in the high school rodeo pen.
"Trevor told me that always when he was rodeoing on Sic 'Em, the only thing he’d wiggle in the box was the end of his nose, and he wouldn’t move his feet until you dropped the hammer," Mote remembered. "My daughter Laura takes him to the high school rodeo, and he hadn’t run a steer for years. He stood like a statue and wiggled his nose, and blew out of there perfectly. He was a winner. He’d been a lot of miles and made a lot of people's dreams come true." TRJ