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Tammy Jo Hays Wins Snaffle Bit Futurity Discount Tire Non Pro Championship with Hat Six Keep Sparkin
Tammy Jo Hays collected her third NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Non Pro Championship last night when she marked a composite score of 650 on Hat Six Keep Sparkin to win $20,359.
As the second to last rider out in the cow work of the 17 Non Pro finalist, Hays had to give it every thing she had to get by the eventual reserve champion, Laurie Richards, who had a composite score of 649.5. Richards and her mount Glitter N Glam won $12,528 for being second.
Having watched the cattle and seeing that they had a lot of gas, Hays and her trainer/husband Shawn Hays, developed a tactical plan that involved holding the cow at the end of the pen in the boxing, so that her gelding wouldn't run out of air once they got going down the fence.
"That went according to plan," said Hays whose 221 in the cow work was the highest score of the night. "The cow set up around the corner good for me. It was just a really good cow-it read right. When I made that first turn, I'd been really schooling him hard on coming clear around in that turn and I'd almost over-schooled him to where he stalled out for a second but after that, he never got away from that cow, he stayed with it the whole time. After that second turn and we started circling, I was just along for the ride."
In the herd work that morning, Hays and "Tater" had a 212 to finish in the top five. Their run didn't get off to the best start when Hat Six Keep Sparkin didn't hook up with the cow as well as Hays would have liked. On their next two cows, the big gelding was tied in tight.
"I'm so delighted with him because from that second cow on, he did everything according to plan for me," said Hays who went on to be second in the reining with a 217. "He warmed up really, really good for the reining and then executed it for me. I couldn't ask him to be better all the way through."
Earlier in the year, Hat Six Keep Sparkin (Dual Spark x Hat Six Little Paws x Peptos Stylish Oak), who was bred by Hays's parents Walter and Jocelyn Greeman, wasn't one of her favorite horses. He finally earned her affection a few weeks prior to the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity.
"He was kind of heavy and he was hard for me to ride because he pulled too hard. My husband, Shawn, rode him a bunch for me and then Robert Smith came to work for us in May, and when Shawn didn't have much time because he had his horses to get ready, Robert took him over and got him over some humps for me," Hays said. "When I got back on him I liked him a lot better. Through the summer, Shawn rode him down the fence and got him more solid and working to the point where I could get on and do some of the work myself."
It was at the Southwest RCHA Pre-Futurity in Fort Worth, which Hays won, that she really started to like Hat Six Keep Sparkin.
"He just started being with me and we started having runs like that (one we had tonight) down the fence," Hays recalled. "I told my husband, 'I think he might be the better horse.'"
Hays was the Non Pro Snaffle Bit Futurity champion in 2013 and 2014. She says that none of her wins would have been possible without Shawn.
"He's always there supporting me and nobody roots louder for me. I can't do this without him."