“He is my once in a lifetime horse,” said 17-year-old Ruby Lightfoot of Riverside, California, as she emotionally described the last few months of owning her 4-year-old futurity horse Mister Cash Flo (KS Cash N Fame x Miss Mcleoaknita Flo x Mr Peponita Flo).
What seemed like a fairytale beginning of purchasing the gelding in March from trainer Michelle Silva has only gotten better as the young jockey and young horse continued to dominate the futurities and open barrel races on the West Coast, bringing their lifetime earnings to $40,000 in just a few short months together.
After coming off two big wins at the DW Performance Horses Futurity and the C—N Futurity, both held in California, Lightfoot felt confident that her horse was ready to compete with the open horses.
—> Read more: Ruby Lightfoot Dominates West Coast Futurities
She made the tough decision to skip the California High School Rodeo State Finals and instead traveled eight hours to Reno, Nevada, to the Patriot Reno Event from June 16–18 at the Reno-Sparks Livestock Center.
“With $30,000 added to the Patriot in Reno, it just made more sense to me to drive out there instead of going to the high school state finals,” Lightfoot commented.
Lightfoot’s keen decision paid off when she posted the fastest time of the week with a 15.647 to win the Open as well the Young Guns, Futurity, and Select Stallion Stakes side-pot, cashing in a total $9,344 in just one run.
Lightfoot is grateful for prestigious events such as The Patriot Reno for branching out to the West Coast and providing opportunities for barrel racers in the Western region of the United States to compete for large payouts at well-ran events.
“This is my second year to attend The Patriot Reno Event, and I really enjoy this barrel race. The arena setup fits myself and my horses, the ground is great, and I sure can’t complain about the payout,” Lightfoot said. “After I was done with the horses each day, it was fun to drive over to the Reno Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo, which is held the same week, and watch the rodeo.”
Some may say it is truly luck that Lightfoot and “Mister” have been on such a hot streak, but the young talent’s attention to detail in preparing her futurity horse for winning runs is not to be overlooked.
“Mister fell a couple runs ago at the second barrel, and I went into the week at The Patriot Reno knowing I needed to do everything I could to restore his confidence and his footwork at the second barrel,” Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot arrived early to exhibition the gelding, showing him exactly where to place his feet correctly in slow work by doing some drills provided by her mentor, Bliss Bates Wells, and Mister’s trainer, Silva.
“I also changed his bit one run before this to a Brittany Pozzi two-piece twisted lifter bit, because that was a little lighter than the bit I had been running him in. He is very light in his face, and I wanted to make sure I stayed out of his way at the second barrel so he stayed confident through his run,” Lightfoot explained.
Lightfoot also incorporates the Bemer blanket into her pre-run routine, as well as getting Mister out of the stall frequently to prevent him from getting stiff and stocked up.
“This win was really special to me. Not only did Mister prove he can be on top at the futurities, but he showed he can win against the open horses, too,” Lightfoot said after the 4-year-old gelding outran 100 of some of the best open horses currently going down the road. “It didn’t feel real when it first set in that he had won.”
Aside from the Bemer blanket, Lightfoot keeps Mister feeling his very best by feeding Hygain daily with supplements such as Redmond Equine, Equine Total Gold, and DePaolo Equine.
Mister’s farrier, Tony Mendoza, and his vet, Dr. Michael Hogue, DVM, also play vital roles in keeping the gelding winning.
“He’s a real life unicorn, I could never be more grateful that Mister came into my life,” Lightfoot said. “I can’t thank my parents enough, because it wouldn’t have been possible for me to own Mister without them.”
Lightfoot also thanks her mentor, Wells, and Mister’s trainer, Silva, for their continued help and support to the team.
2023 The Patriot Reno Open 1D Results
1st: Ruby Lightfoot, Mister Cash Flo, 15.647, $8,032.80
2nd: Contessa Heaton, DTF Touch Of Spice, 15.672, $6,577.20
3rd: Kristi Youngblood-Spurr, Whateva Rocks You, 15.685, $4,872.00
4th: Shelley Holman, Wood B Fun, 15.736, $3,166.80
5th: Breann Justice, Fairleas French Rose, 15.951, $1,705.20
1st: Sharin Hall, Mirakul, 16.148, $7,234.92
2nd: Deanna Davis, Haylees Dashair Mojo, 16.174, $5,919.48
3rd: Lacey Solferino, Rafters New Star, 16.175, $4,384.80
4th: Graci Yaap, Big Time Traffic, 16.221, $2,850.12
5th: Alexis Garcia, Catglovez, 16.245, $1,534.68
1st: Emma Osburn, Midnight Beauty DR, 16.678, $6,136.08
2nd: Anna Yaeger, Royal Swamp, 16.685, $5,042.52
3rd: Brandy Prim, Firewaterinthesky, 16.700, $3,735.20
4th: Rosie Milburn, Jimmy, 16.703, $2,427.88
5th: Jette Black, LJ Strongtofame, 16.758, $1,307.32
1st: Janel Flook, JF Melitas Cash, 17.138, $5,359.20
2nd: Isabel Irene Miller, CS EBR Dual Pep, 17.193, $4,384.80
3rd: Tasha Holmes, Last Nights Buzz, 17.196, $3,248.00
4th: Brandy Prim, Sambascos Jet Fame, 17.263, $2,111.20
5th: Stephen Quinn, SK Sweet Famous John, 17.334, $1,136.80
For complete results and more info, visit patriotevent.com.