Horse Geeks

2023 NFR-Qualifying Heel Horse Pedigrees
The horses that got their heelers to the Big Show in 2023.
Heel Horses PRCA
NFR-qualifying mounts Ardies Badger ridden by Tyler Worley, TRR Freckles Holidoc ridden by Logan Medlin and Horse of the Year Kadabra King ridden by Patrick Smith. | Photos by Hailey Rae and Clay Guardipee

The 2023 NFR-qualifying heel horses have pedigrees predictably loaded with cow horse bloodlines.

  • Standings leader Wesley Thorp rode 9-year-old Juiced Up Cat, his 2020 American Rope Horse Association World Champion Heel Horse, to more than half of his ProRodeo earnings in 2023, with the horse’s total year earnings at $143,620 from the rodeos and jackpots. Another even more recent futurity horse, Logan Medlin’s TRR Freckles Holidoc, who has won $95,004 between the rodeos and the jackpots in 2023 according to Top-Tier Reporting through QData and EquiStat.
  • Tongue River Ranch has two horses on this year’s list—Medlin’s TRR Freckles Holidoc and Colter Todd’s TRR Big Hustler (owned by Paul Eaves). TRR Freckles Holidoc is by Pepcid, while TRR Big Hustler is by TRR Big Iron.
  • Tyler Worley rode two horses by Reys Dual Badger in 2023, the only stallion with two horses on the list this year. (To be clear, Western States Ranches late sire Hesa Sunofa Dun has two horses that made the Finals this year, but one is a head horse—Clint Summers’ WSR Hesa Alive—and one is a heel horse—Patrick Smith’s WSR Hesa Dunofa Lena.)
  • Peptoboonsmal is the paternal grandsire of four different horses on this year’s list.
  • There is little consistency on the maternal sire side of these horses’ papers, with no two horses having the same maternal grandsire on their papers.
  • The average age of the horses on this list is 12.8 years, slightly younger than the head-horse side of the game.
  • However, the oldest heel horse—Hugh Hefner, ridden by Paden Bray—is older than the oldest head horse by a year, at 20 years old in 2023 (though he’s grade, and that could be just an estimate).

All 2023 NFR Head Horse Pedigrees:

1. Wesley Thorp, $172,168.94

Juiced Up Cat, 9-year-old gelding

Juiced Up Cat Wesley Thorp

Little Hickory Boon, 14-year-old gelding

Little Hickory Boon RayJay Wesley Thorp

2. Junior Nogueira, $160,185.89

Kiehnes Frosty Pepto, 13-year-old gelding

Smokin Copper King, 13-year-old gelding

3. Colter Todd, $153,282.61

SS Buddy Holly, 7-year-old gelding

TRR Big Hustler, 12-year-old gelding

TRR Big Hustler Pedigree

4. Levi Lord, $138,347.99

Zoomin Diamond Prom, 13-year-old gelding

Pauly, 10-year-old grade gelding

5. Jeremy Buhler, $123,483.95

Knight Robber Son, 19-year-old gelding

Knight Robber Son ("Hoss") Jeremy Buhler

6. Paul Eaves, $120,045.37

Docs Gunslinger Chic, 13-year-old mare

Apolo Oak, 13-year-old gelding

7. Patrick Smith, $118,705.98

Kadabra King, 13-year-old gelding

WSR Hesa Dunofa Lena, 19-year-old stallion

8. Buddy Hawkins, $114,765.21

JAJ Dual Rey Pete, 13-year-old gelding

X, 16-year-old grade gelding

9. Paden Bray, $98,606.85

Hugh Hefner, 20-year-old grade gelding

EM Magic Bar Eleven, 15-year-old gelding

John Wick, 9-year-old grade gelding

10. Logan Medlin, $98,487.42

TRR Freckles Holidoc, 7-year-old gelding

Logan Medlin Cantina TRR Freckles Holidoc

Nita Win Playboy, 14-year-old gelding

11. Hunter Koch, $97,775.50

Two Sock Chic Cody, 13-year-old gelding

Smart Little Cab, 16-year-old gelding

12. Jake Long, $95,023.57

JC Bar Diamond, 11-year-old gelding

The Star Pepto, 10-year-old gelding

13. Cole Curry, $94,986.72

WR Four of Diamond, 14-year-old gelding

Liken It Tuff, 9-year-old gelding

Liken It Tuff Horse Pedigree

14. Jonathan Torres, $94,909.03

Reysin Cats, 8-year-old gelding

Scotts Top Style, 9-year-old gelding

Bayboy Boonsmal, 17-year-old gelding

15. Tyler Worley, $93,983.17

Ardie Badger, 14-year-old gelding

Lenas Hooiser Stormy, 6-year-old gelding

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