Rhen Richard and his herd of horses have won a monumental 10 futurities in 2022 alone, so it makes perfect sense that the Utah switchender and his great horse Chics Magic Corona would finish the season as the 2022 American Rope Horse Futurity Association World Champions.
The 2016 Flag Ranch-bred gelding by Furyofthewind out of JRS Chics Smart Lena by Chics Magic Potion has been dominant in Royal Crown competition with a season-leading $38,801 in earnings. But he’d not yet had the chance to shine in the ARHFA. Until the 2022 World Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, Oct. 20-21, that is.
With ProRodeo World Champ and 2020 ARHFA World Champ Wesley Thorp helping on the heel side, Richard came tight at second callback for a round-winning score of 238.44. That edged out the first-callback horse JT Risin Sensation and Kaleb Driggers for the title by just .12 point, worth $25,000 for the aggregate score of 948.34.
“If I had to pick one horse in my show string right now that I had to make a living on, it would be him,” Richard, 33, of Roosevelt, Utah, said. “That horse is solid. He’s always in an athletic position and can always use his feet.”
Chics Magic Corona’s Training
While most in Richard’s current string of standout futurity horses were home-raised, he bought Chics Magic Corona from Larry Rice after the 2021 NFR. He’d looked at the horse earlier that spring, but he wasn’t far enough along.
“Tavis Walters had the horse and just went slow,” Richard said. “The horse was pretty flighty, and as far as I know he just ran a lot of walkers and trotters and tried to get him to slow down.”
Richard took the horse back to Utah and straight to work.
“When I got him, as soon as you would add any speed—not pressure, but just a little bit of speed—he just felt like he was going to run off,” Richard said. “For the first 30 days, it was ugly, just teaching that horse to come back to me. I had him elevated, because he was just not broke. You’re pulling on him, and he’s wanting to go. I think most horses that don’t know how to come back to you, they’re going to elevate. I probably want them more up in the front end than most, because I know my strengths and weaknesses in my roping. If I can’t hook onto the steer in the right spot, with my horse in the right body position, it’s just not good. I want to make my horses get strong. I don’t want to hold them up. They have got to be soft and on their butt when I put it on the horn. It took lots of reps and me just aborting the run and swinging until that horse figured out to just let his air out when we got close to the cow.”
Physically, though, the brown gelding had all the right stuff, and his brain quickly caught up.
“As soon as he learned to relax and rate the cow a little bit and let me help him, he was easy,” Richard said.
His first futurity appearance was in the Buckeye, Arizona 6-&-Under Royal Crown Maturity Heading in early February, winning the roping worth $5,750 plus stallion and breeder payout. He took the gelding to the Royal Crown in Waco, Texas, in May, and he won second there.
Richard did a lot of outside riding on the horse before leaving for the summer rodeos, and then he turned the horse over to his nephew while he headed out to the rodeos.
“My nephew took him to the mountain, and the horse is kind of a spooky, feely-type horse,” Richard said. “A cow came up behind him, and the horse jumped and got a cut on his leg. So when I showed that horse at Rock Springs, I had not run a steer on him since Waco. I got to ride the horse two or three times, and he’s still got a booger on his leg. But that just shows mentally, that horse is solid. It’s just that he’s flighty at the same time if that makes sense.”
At Rock Springs, Richard won the Royal Crown 6-&-Under Heading again, worth $8,280 for the aggregate win, as well as $1,725 for owners of the FuryoftheWind and $1,725 for the horse’s breeders at the Flag Ranch.
When Richard got home from the rodeos this fall—where he won $99,278.90 with World Champion Heeler Jeremy Buhler—he want back to work on his futurity horses. He maxed out his entries on the head side with five horses and showed four heel horses, too.
As the dust settled Friday night, Richard won the roping with Chics Magic Corona and won fifth with his mare One Smart Pistola—netting $37,000 in average money alone. Chics Magic Corona was second in the third round worth another $3,000. One Smart Pistola was third in the second round for $2,000. Chics Magic Corona also picked up another $5,000 in Royal Crown Stallion Incentive money in Fort Worth.
Chics Magic Corona and Rhen Richard age out of the ARHFA 6-&-Under competition at the end of the year, so he will go out on top as the world champ. After that?
“The plan is to just jackpot on him this winter and bring him a long,” Richard said. “If he keeps progressing like he has, there’s no telling. I thnk he’s a BFI-type horse this spring. And I plan on showing him at the 8-&-Unders at the Royal Crown.”