Utah’s prolific all-around hand Rhen Richard is the hot talent in the rope horse futurity business so far in 2022, with his latest win coming in the heading at the American Rope Horse Futurity Association’s Arizona Sun Circuit aboard the 2017 gelding Hankies Version.
That’s just two weeks after he won three divisions at the Royal Crown in Buckeye, Arizona, on three different horses.
“My goal is to build a product,” Richard, 32, said. “When I’m done showing them, I want them to be a solid horse. Whether I’m keeping them for me or selling, I want the product to be good.”
For the win at the Sun Circuit, Richard picked up $7,760 for a score of 917.8. He won the first round for another $1,300 and was second in the second round for another $650. He also was eighth on Chics Magic Corona for $2,328.
Richard rides mostly home-raised horses from his family’s A&C Racing, and Hankies Version is no exception. The Richards owned his sire Winners Version, the 15.2-hand stallion who’s got a speed index of 103 and race-track progeny earning over $400,000, and now owned by Highpoint Performance Horses. And Richard high school rodeoed in the calf-roping on Hankies Version’s dam, MS Hankie Goldseeker.
“The mare was kind of high strung and not fun to be around, but I won a ton on her,” Richard said. “She always worked and handled the crowds on the end of the rope. She was a chomping-at-the-bit, dancing-around-type horse. But he’s laid back and not like her at all.”
When the Richards crossed the mare on Winners Version, they were shooting to add more size and structure to the mare.
“Hankies Version is almost 16 hands now,” Richard said. “That’s really uncommon for a Winners Version baby, but he can still really get on and use his butt. His shoulders stay up, and he really drives with his hind end. And he really will score. Honestly he’s more of a real head horse than a show horse, but the judges mark him every time I go somewhere. He’s really got a look about him.”
Richard had the help of his ProRodeo partner, World Champion Heeler Jeremy Buhler. Buhler helped him at the Royal Crown in Buckeye in February, too.
“Jeremy used to show and help at those futurities in Canada, but they were a lot different and in a little barn, with old steers. He’s done a heck of a job for me. Between the Royal Crown and everything, he’s been awesome. We just go out there and try to make our run. We don’t do anything special for the show. He’s just trying to leave them straight anyway, so my horses are true going that route. I don’t need them stepped left or anything special like that. He just heels them when he’s comfortable. It’s not like I need him to take any extra swings.”
The Richards have three studs now that they’re crossing on their race-bred mares—one by Dual Rey, one by Woody Be Tuff and one by Travalena, so Richard will continue to ride their home-bred horses. Plus, they maintain five breedings a year to Winners Version, so look for him to be on more crosses like that of Hankies Version in the coming years.
Richard is now eighth in the PRCA world standings as well with $19,645.11 won on the year, and will rope at RodeoHouston March 9-11. TRJ