Pete Oen & SR Moonshine OnRocks Triumph at Sand Cup Futurity for Valerie Smith-Rebholz
By Tanya Randall Pete Oen and SR Moonshine OnRocks (“Farrah”), owned by Valerie Smith-Rebholz of Washington, West Virginia, topped the $8,500-added Sand Cup Futurity, held April 6-8 at the Grant County Fairgrounds in Moses Lake, Washington.
“It’s a well-run futurity,” said Oen, who went up early to give a clinic the day before the futurity started. “The ground was great. I want to thank Bobo (McMillian) for having it.”
The victory was worth $5,955. Oen and Farrah also collected $1,057 on 1D carryovers to the Open for total earnings of $7,012.
Farrah has been in Oen’s Ardmore, Oklahoma, barn since she was a yearling. Bred by Latricia Duke, the 4-year-old Palomino mare is by million-dollar sire Firewaterontherocks out of the Invisible Injun mare Me Moonshine.
Oen and Tyler Rivette purchased the filly from Schiller Ranch and later sold her to Smith-Rebholz. As with all of the colts in Oen’s program, Farrah was started under saddle by Josianne St Cyr of De Leon, Texas. “All the colts that I have control over, or people ask me where I want them to go, I send most all those colts to Josi because I seem to follow Josi quite well,” Oen explained. “I normally leave them with Josi for 60 days and she’ll get them riding really good. We’ll take them from there.” St Cyr sent Farrah home and told Oen that she thought he’d really like the mare.
After riding her for another 90 days, Pedro Moema, Oen’s Brazilian intern last year, said that she was ‘The One.’ “He said, ‘She was the champion.’” laughed Oen. “She probably was our favorite colt when we got started.”
All was going well with Farrah, until it wasn’t. During the summer everything was falling apart. Oen said he figures the stoutly made mare was going through a growth spurt that hampered her athletic ability. “It was very, very bizarre,” said the veteran trainer. “It was something that I had never experienced before. Normally these horses just train along, and there might be a little bump in the road, but it’s not a major one. There was a good 60 days with this one where I was like ‘Oh, no!’ Then she just changed. I don’t know if she just quit growing and learned how to use her body again. I changed the way that I was training her a little bit, which probably helped as well.” One of the issues that Farrah was having was maintaining shoulder control and forward motion through her turns, so Oen went to working small circles away from the pattern. “When I was trying to get her to train back up last summer, she learned that she can lope a pretty small sized circle and keep moving and forward motion. Now, it’s not even a question for her, but last summer, that was one of the things she couldn’t do—lope a small circle and keep her feet moving—she’d stop, sling her but or break to the trot.” Oen also made the decision to switch the mare to the left barrel first. “It was a midstream change late summer last year,” she said. “I don’t know if that was part of her recovery or not.”
Thankfully, Farrah turned the corner in time to make the exhibition team. “Overnight, she was like, ‘I’m going to be a barrel horse.’ It was crazy. When she decided to come around, it didn’t take her two weeks to get ready again,” he said. When he started exhibitioning his colts last fall, Farrah was in the hunt, but she wasn’t the superstar. It wasn’t until she had a few futurities under her belt that she really turned the corner.
“As we started hauling her and competing on her, the mare lacked a what I call grit and a little confidence as late 3-year-old and early 4-year-old,” Oen explained. “About Diamonds & Dirt (in early March), she got a bit more macho. She just dug in and got braver than she was through Arizona, Kinder and all those early futurities.” At Moses Lake, Farrah was second in the first go and turned in the fastest time of the futurity to win the second go and aggregate by 3/10ths. Pete Oen & SR Moonshine OnRocks Triumph at Sand Cup Futurity for Valerie Smith-Rebholz Sand Cup Futurity Continued on Page 26
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