What happens when you put Steve Orth in a futurity in his hometown on the most dependable colt in his barn?
The longtime trainer from Guthrie, Oklahoma, wins the American Rope Horse Futurity Association’s Redbud Spectacular June 4 heeling futurity, besting last year’s champ Colby Lovell and the likes of Kollin VonAhn and Ryan Motes—twice. Because he also wins second. Plus, he wins the Pre-Futurity for 4-year-olds on a third young horse. Orth’s mounts bagged a total of $29,913 in Oklahoma City.
On Sunday, Orth was high callback after three steers aboard David Ferrell’s 6-year-old Spooks Morning Joe, by Wimpyneedsacocktail out of Pep N Spook by Smart Spook, and was third-high back on Sara Hudson’s 5-year-old The Spook Dun Time, by Shining Spark out of Ice Cold Dunit.
When the dust cleared, Orth swept first and second in the average with near-identical scores of 947.79 and 947.39 on both horses, with only a few tenths of a second difference on the final steer deciding placings. First paid $12,949 to Hudson for The Spook Dun Time (“Clark”), and another $10,984 went to Ferrell for Spooks Morning Joe (“Joe”). The Spook Dun Time’s career earnings are now $30,009, per AQHA’s QData.
“Brock Hanson did an excellent job helping me,” said Orth. “I think Ryan Motes got him coming to these. Brock’s kind of new to the horse-show deal, but I’ve known him since he was little bitty. The trick to helping is horsepower. Brock’s horses are fast and he runs close and handles them fast. I don’t have to guess where he’s going.”
Orth nicknamed the winning gelding for Clark’s reining-horse breeder, Rick Clark, and said he was trained by Shawn Flarida. When it was clear he wouldn’t make a top reiner, Orth got the horse.
“I love Clark. I always have,” said Orth, who also won last year’s Cornhusker Classic Futurity in Lincoln, Neb., on the gelding as a 4-year-old. “He’s like my good yellow horse, with such a big stop and can run, too. He just finishes really good. This horse has always let me help him, and scores pretty good. This year he’s figuring out how to run down the arena a little better and get up around there.”
They won’t be selling this one, thanks to his dependability and gentle nature.
“He doesn’t try to out-think you,” Orth said. “And he’s lucky. That helps.”
That remark came courtesy of what’s been happening with Hudson’s Dual Oak E, the superstar from last year that’s been held out of futurity short rounds lately thanks to barrier penalties. Still, Orth figures the seasoned “Dual” will be one of the nicest heel horses for sale this fall when he ages out of futurities. As for the Orth’s runner-up heeling champ, Joe, he was started by Todd Wright, who also started Orth’s good yellow rodeo horse.
Aside from his handful of tough futurity mounts, Orth also bagged first place in the Pre-Futurity for 4-year-olds aboard Hudson’s A Genuine Whizkey, which paid $5,980.
“He’s figured out the run, now, and already is pretty and has the huge stop,” Orth said. “The best part about that horse is the fresher he is, the better he works.”
Orth and other trainers are on the road, having hit the Royal Crown futurity in Oklahoma City at the end of May, then back to OKC for the ARHFA’s Redbud Spectacular and in ten days they head to Lincoln, Nebraska for the ARHFA’s Cornhusker Classic. Without much time at home to get horses ready, they have to hope their projects are far enough along to hold together.
Orth’s clearly are, and when he shows up in Lincoln, it won’t be without momentum. Not only that, but he dominated that heeling futurity there last year, too, winning first on Clark and second on Dual. TRJ