Champion Cow Horse Returns to Competition after Five Years |

Champion Cow Horse Returns to Competition after Five Years

The most exciting 14 days in reined cow horse competition is when top contenders compete in the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit Futurity. In 2020, that means Oct. 10-24 in Fort Worth.

At the Snaffle Bit Futurity in 2012, it was a Cinderella story when the little-known Bettin Yer Smart quietly and confidently won the futurity’s Hackamore competition. This red roan stallion with the big moves, stops and personality is owned by Long Pines Land & Livestock of Buffalo, SD, and ridden by his trainer, Justin Lawrence of Alzada, MT. Never before had a horse from the northern plains won at the Snaffle Bit.

After more success, including being awarded NRCHA Supreme Horse, he was retired from competition to run the Long Pines’ rangeland in the remote northwest corner of South Dakota with his broodmares. He was ridden about a dozen times to help with ranch jobs until July of this year, when he returned to Justin Lawrence for a short 6-week tune up.

Like in 2012, Bettin Yer Smart quietly and confidently entered the arena at the SD Reined Cow Horse Association (SDRCHA) Dakota Bridle Spectacular. After 5 years away from the show pen, he reminded everyone why he’s a national champion.

He earned a cumulative 433.5 points, 145 in fence work, 144 in reining and 144.5 in herd work (cutting). So this 13-year old stallion, retired for five years, with six weeks of training and up against the “new toughs” from five states, won third in the Open Bridle class and earned the fourth highest score in the Dakota Bridle Spectacular.

Unlike 2012, this time Bettin Yer Smart had two offspring from his first foal crop competing. Smart Vaca Reina, a 2016 palomino mare, won the Limited Open Hackamore. Smokin The Jay, a 2016 sorrel gelding, was one-half point from earning money in the Stallion Stakes Limited Open. Both of these four-year-olds have NRCHA earnings from other shows. At the SDRCHA event, they were ridden by 15-year-old Dallie Lawrence.

Like the 2012 Bettin Yer Smart championships, his return in 2020 was an emotional time for his fans. “We’ll proudly admit we’re a little teary-eyed after watching him compete again,” says owner Deb Brown. “His first event was herd work and he just loved being back. We opened the books to outside mares for the first time in 2020 and have decided to do the same in 2021, especially after watching him and his offspring compete together.”

Trainer and rider Justin Lawrence calls Bettin Yer Smart “the horse with the most trainability and try” of any he’s trained. “It’s an amazing feeling to lead him through the barn, past his 2-, 3- and 4-year-old prospects.”

Bettin Yer Smart is by Smart Little Lena and out of Bet Yer Boons, who is a daughter of Peptoboonsmal and Bet Yer Blue Boons. You can find out more at

– Long Pines Land & Livestock

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