Ready, Set, Show - 43rd Snaffle Bit Futurity Begins Tomorrow!


Photo: The first draw in Monday morning's Open Herd Work preliminaries, Boyd Rice and CR Smooth As Pistol (Smooth As A Cat x Chiquita Pistol) work the flag in the Sunday afternoon sunshine in Reno.

At this time three years ago, they were weanlings. Tomorrow, hundreds of talented young horses from the foal crop of 2009 face the biggest test of their young life – the National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity. A $100,000 prize awaits the Open Futurity Champion, and the entire show is expected to pay out more than $1.1 million!

These three-year-old equine athletes and their riders have prepared diligently for the herd work, rein work and fence work triathlon awaiting them in Reno, Nevada at the Livestock Events Center. It all begins at 8:00 a.m. (PDT) with the first leg of preliminary competition – the herd work - in the Futurity Open, Intermediate Open, Limited Open and Ladies divisions. Nine sets of horses will go head-to-head with the cattle tomorrow, and then the remaining eight sets of Open herd work preliminaries compete Tuesday, Sept. 18.

If you couldn’t make it to Reno in person this year, don’t despair – you can catch all the preliminary herd work action live via webcast, thanks to the National Reined Cow Horse Association’s official videographer, Galloping Video. A link to the live feed can be found at and at

The first Snaffle Bit Futurity was held in 1970 in Sacramento, Calif., and boasted 27 entries. Over time, the Futurity has become a high-profile, major spectator event, drawing hundreds of entries and thousands of fans who make the trip to Reno each year. This year, 231 horse-and-rider combinations will compete in just the Open division – up from 214 Open entries last year. Many cow horse enthusiasts describe their first trip to the Snaffle Bit Futurity as the reason they became hooked on the spine-tingling sport.

Other fun Futurity-related activities include the annual NRCHA Hall of Fame Banquet; the enormous “Best of the West” trade show; the Snaffle Bit Futurity Horse Sales; and a full slate of competitive hackamore, two-rein and bridle classes for horses older than Futurity age. The annual Raffle Colt giveaway also is a mainstay at Reno – for the price of a single $10.00 ticket, you could win your very own royally-bred, started 2-year-old with a paid entry to the 2013 Snaffle Bit Futurity! The Raffle Colt is generously donated every year by the Ward Ranch, Kingsburg, Calif.