March 15, 2010
At the 1998 NCHA World Finals, Lindy Burch and Bet Yer Blue Boons marked a record score that still stands today.
By Honi Roberts in The American Quarter Horse Journal
Lindy Burch is one superstitious cowgirl. After her best rides – and the National Cutting Horse Association Hall of Famer has had her share – you won’t find her studying the videos or even taking a celebratory peek. She only watches rides where there are mistakes to study and lessons to learn. The best rides, she says, are memories to savor, like a bottle of good wine. She worries that watching them will tarnish the magic. But had she watched a replay of one 1998 cutting, she would not have been disappointed.
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In 1998, Lindy rode her 8-year-old red roan mare, Bet Yer Blue Boons, in the NCHA World Finals in Houston. The competition was four go-rounds during four nights, with a clean scoreboard every night. On the way to winning the world finals, Lindy and her mare marked a 233, an NCHA record for that event that still stands today. But the story really began six years earlier.
“I thought Royal Blue Boon was the greatest mare that ever lived,” Lindy recalled, “so I called her owner, Larry Hall, to see if he had any offspring of hers that he would part with.”
He did: A 2-year-old filly out of the great mare and by Freckles Playboy, the 1976 NCHA Futurity reserve champion.
“At the time, the ‘Playboys’ were not really popular,” Lindy said. “Instead, people were thinking along the lines of Smart Little Lena and ‘Little Peppy.’ But I always loved the Playboys, so I jumped on a plane (I lived in California at the time) and flew to Texas before Larry could change his mind. She was really cool! I had her vetted, but she could’ve been purple with red stripes, and I still would’ve bought her!”
The pretty red roan filly moved west. Lindy started her Futurity training and found her talented, but like some two-legged youngsters, lacking in focus and consistency.
“From my background as a teacher,” Lindy said, “I knew that even the best students sometimes needed help. It wasn’t something that we couldn’t overcome.”
At the NCHA Futurity, they missed the semi finals by half a point.
Training continued without notable success. Then, a paddock incident that could have been an end-of-the-road tragedy opened the door to triumph.
Bet Yer Blue Boons, then 4, fractured a sesamoid bone, apparently while rolling in her pipe pen. By that time, Lindy had moved her operation to the Oxbow Ranch in the Lone Star State, where surgery was performed immediately. Three months of rehabilitation and rest followed.
“In February of the next year, I got back onboard,” Lindy said, “and she was like another horse! She never lacked focus again and never took another bad step – ever.”
Stay tuned next week for the rest of this story.
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