2017 - Whizz Peppy
Whizz Peppy is one of those horses that prompt the nurture versus nature debate. The 2001 gelding has earned over $70,000 in prizemoney and is to date the highest money earning reining horse in Australia and there is plenty of discussion on either side of the debate. Of course with every horse his success is dependent on a combination of both. Breeder, Charles Kalnins did his research and took an educated bet on a newly arrived Reining stallion that he put over a well bred, athletic mare. Kalnins also had the wisdom to send his horse to two of Australia’s best Reining riders and trainers, first John Wicks and then Shaun Saunders who both recently competed for Australia at the Alltech FEI WEG in Normandy. This successful recipe worked and this is Whizz Peppy’s tribute.
Whizz Peppy is from the first crop by the imported stallion, Whizzle A Melody. Ian Waldron’s stallion is by the number one all time Reining sire, Topsail Whiz and Whizzle A Melody, with progeny earning over $111,000 is the all time leading Reining sire in Australia. Interestingly of that, Whizz Peppy is responsible for over 60%. “I loved the style of Whizzle A Melody”, explains Kalnins, “I liked the style, athleticism and breeding of the horse and committed myself to breed to him for a number of years. Whizz Peppy is out of Winderadeen I’m So Fancy that is by the AQHA Leading Sire of Performance Horses for ‘92, ‘93, and ‘94, Little Peppy Doc. She has legendary Cutting sire, Peppy San Badger on her sire line and another Champion Cutting sire, Beggar Bingo, the first stallion imported to Australia by Winderadeen on her dam line. Not Reiners, but athletic performance horses. “I had I’m So Fancy for a number of years,” continues Kalnins; “she was a very nice mare with a beautiful temperament. I was in the business to breed Reining horses and temperament was very important”.
“Whizz Peppy came to me as a colt”, remembers John Wicks. “He was a very sensitive, alert type of a horse and as a rising two year old he was quite ‘studdy’ and that was getting in the way of his training.” “I thought of keeping him a stallion”, says Kalnins, “but for me it was a purely economical decision to geld him. I made a business decision when he was almost two years old, as local stallions are not so well supported. His gelding was the making of his career and I had such faith in the horse.” “He was a major over achiever”, continues John Wicks, “and I put a lot of miles in on him and I don’t believe he would have won the National Reining Futurity in 2005 had he remained a colt. Whizz Peppy would always give you way more than 100% every day. Even when I was teaching him to spin, he would try to do it as fast as he could, even though he had no idea where to put his feet. Relaxation was the main thing you had to try and put on him; to get him to relax after each manoeuvre. At the beginning I knew he was talented and very athletic, but I didn’t know whether he had the mind to make a Futurity horse. I worked on relaxing him and just before he went into the Futurity finals, I felt I had him mentally and he went in and ran very well, and nobody could match his score. There were a lot of good horses around in his age group that year. He was highly alert and had a bit of flight in him, but at the same time, you could guide him through a pattern quite easily.
Even though I won a lot of money with him, ($39,000 including $15,000 for the Futurity) I had to have a strategy for how he felt before he went in. Sometimes you had too much horse under you. He was well balanced, with a huge engine and his work ethic and athleticism made him the successful horse he was. You learn something from every horse and Whizz Peppy taught me patience. I rode him from when he was a long yearling to when he was about seven or eight and then he went to Shaun.”
National Reining Futurity 2005 presentation, Whizz Peppy, John Wicks and connections
Queensland trainer, Shaun Saunders has achieved a great deal and burst on to the Reining scene as a precocious 17 year old. He is the youngest ever Reining rider to achieve $100,000 in prizemoney and was the 2013 Highest Prizemoney Earner. The talented young rider and trainer made the most of his opportunities with Whizz Peppy. “I showed him for three seasons and got High Point Open Horse three years in a row. I won the 2012 Queensland Reining Horse Association State Show Open with, at the time the highest Open score recorded in Australia, 76.5. That has recently been beaten by my father-in-law (Warren Backhouse),” Shaun said. “Whizz Peppy was so good because he just had so much try and his attitude was so good. He was such an athlete, and still probably one of the most athletic horses I have ever ridden. He wasn’t the easiest horse, as much as he had a lot of ability; he got pretty show smart for a while. Because he was such a big stopper, he would want to get quick to stop and the biggest thing about Reining is that, they have to be willingly guided, and if they take over, it’s not willing. I was 22 when I got him in 2010 and he taught me a lot as a young trainer and I loved his never say die attitude. He was not always the Champion, but he was always in the top three. He was always consistently there and as he got older, he became more consistent and solid. I think, even in the States, had he had the opportunity to go there, he was a big enough stopper and turner to mix it with anything.