A Homegrown Win for Jose Vazquez

Jose Vazquez took home the 2019 NRHA CINCH Prime Time Futurity championship on Xtra Winding Step.

By Nichole Chirico; Photos by Waltenberry

Jose Vazquez and Xtra Winding Step at the 2019 NRHA Futurity
It’s not often a rider wins a Futurity championship on a horse they bred, raised, and trained, but Jose Vazquez did just that when he won the Prime Time Non Pro Futurity Championship.

For more than a decade, NRHA Million Dollar Rider Jose Vazquez has been showing horses that come from his own breeding program, creating his own reining empire. The 2019 NRHA Futurity was no different. After winning the Prime Time championship aboard Xtra Winding Step, a stallion sired by NRHA Eleven Million Dollar Sire Wimpys Little Step and out of SLJ Smartlikewhinny, Vazquez described the win as extra special because of his background showing Xtra Winding Step’s dam and granddam in years past, making the young stallion the third generation of offspring Vazquez has ridden and shown.

“We’re very proud of the breeding and showing program we’ve developed,” he shared. “Not many people can say they do what we’ve done over the years. We breed, raise, and train all of the horses we show, which makes showing them even more special. It’s always great to be able to make the Futurity finals year after year on our homegrown horses, but this one is very special because I showed Xtra Winding Step’s mother, SLJ Smartlikewhinny, at the Futurity, I’ve shown his grandmother [on the dam’s side], and I’ve shown [NRHA Four Million Dollar Sire] Smart Like Juice, who’s his granddad [on the dam’s side].”

The Complete Horse

Vazquez gives a lot of credit to his Smart Like Juice mares when talking about his breeding decisions. 

“I’ve kept all my ‘Juice’ broodmares because they’re just such great mares, and it’s really paid off for my showing program,” he explained. “I had been breeding to several of Xtra Quarter Horse’s stallions, trying different crosses, and this particular one worked great.” 

Since the beginning, Vazquez knew that he had a Futurity contender with Xtra Winding Step, going as far to describe the stud as the complete horse. 

“To do well at a higher level of competition like the Futurity, you have to have a horse that can plus-one all the maneuvers and make the hard stuff look easy,” Vazquez explained. “He has the same personality traits as his mother did when I showed her, which is why I knew he was going to be the complete horse. During the show he stopped big, circled big, turned great—he’s the type of horse you know will turn out to be a big-time horse.”

Jose Vazquez and Xtra Winding Step with his awards at the 2019 NRHA Futurity
Vazquez knew Xtra Winding Step was going to be a great show horse because he showed similar traits to his dam, a horse Vazquez owns and showed.

Just the Start

This Futurity win is only the beginning of Xtra Winding Step’s career. Vazquez believes his horse’s personality and work ethic makes him a great contender for future competitions.

“When you have a horse at this level, you keep him happy,” he shared. “This horse is always really happy, easy-going, and doesn’t need a lot of work to get ready. He’s going to be a great show horse with a lot of longevity in his career!”