By Jessica Hein, PHJ News
In the last two weeks, O Sprinklez has won over $70,000 between the 2023 Breeders Halter Futurity in Des Moines, Iowa, and the APHA/WCHA Halter Million in Fort Worth, Texas. But her time in the spotlight almost didn’t happen at all—in fact, owner Tawni Jones of Trade Mark Ranch feared she might even lose the precocious filly to a hard-hitting viral infection in August.
“I picked her out as a 4-week-old—she was just this fuzzy little baby running in a field at Jim and Georgia Snow’s. I just knew,” Jones said; “Sprinklez” is a 2023 sorrel overo mare by Urge and out of My Intense Beauty (QH). “All the trainers I would normally take a baby to were full, so I was waitlisted for a spot. She went to [a trainer] five weeks before the Breeders Halter Futurity.
“After being there a week, she was down. The vet was there every day. The horse was sick; she could barely stand. I’d go sit in her stall and she’d just lay her head in my lap. I felt terrible.”
But after fighting the virus for about 10 days, Sprinklez rallied and returned to her old self. The team at Jason Smith Show Horses went to work, prepping the mare for the Breeders Halter Futurity with only three weeks until the big event.
Given the mare’s late start, Jones wasn’t expecting much—maybe middle of the pack, she says. The horsewoman was shocked when Sprinklez won the Open Junior Weanling Mares and several other Breeders Halter Futurity classes.
“I still cry,” she said. “That little baby won four trophies.”
Back-to-back major shows can be challenging for young show horses, so Jones was prepared to let the chips fall where they may at the Halter Million. But once again, Sprinklez exceeded expectations—so far, she captured an APHA world championship and the BHF Bonus with Jones in Amateur Weanling Mares, a unanimous championship in the Platinum Non-Pro Weanling Mares Breeders’ Futurity, a win in Big Money Non-Pro Junior Weanling Fillies and reserve in the Gold Junior Weanling Mares Breeders’ Futurity.
“She’s had a great year. She’s paid for every vet bill, all of her training, her purchase—she’s earned more than that,” Jones said. “I think she’ll be an even better yearling. If I keep her, I’ll be perfectly fine with that.”