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Champion reining mare Rona Doc dies at age 30

From the Newstrader - May 20th, 2010 - General News
Rona Doc with Jim and Roberta McCarty last year.

Photo courtesy Residual Ranch

Rona Doc with Jim and Roberta McCarty last year.

AGUA DULCE – Rona Doc, one of California’s most consistent performers during reining’s rise in the region’s show scene, passed away April 30 on the ranch of her longtime owners, Steve and Georgiana Rodrigues.

For a generation, Rona Doc, who was originally bred, owned and trained by Jim and Roberta McCarty, made a habit of finishing at the top or near it of reining competitions from Del Mar to Santa Rosa. No where else was the mare’s consistency more noticed than the Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association Jack Baker Classic, where Georgiana showed her for 11 years, winning it once and placing in the top 10 in all but one year.

“She was willing, talented, pretty – all the things you’d want in a very nice horse,” said Roberta McCarty, who sold Rona Doc to Georgiana as an 8-year old. “She made a great horse for Georgiana.”

Rona Doc, out of Jaymee Miss Blue by Broadway Doc, enjoyed success under the McCartys in stock horse classes during the 1980s, including a Reserve Champion Hackamore Horse honor as a 4-year old (1984). At a Santa Barbara show, Georgina saw Roberta schooling the mare and had to have her.

“I never got her out of my mind,” said Georgiana, who owned the horse 22 years. “When I lost Regret, my really good pleasure horse, I called up Roberta and asked if she still had that roan horse. I just could never got her out my head.”

Pregnant at the time of the sale, Rona Doc foaled a 1988 filly, Ronas Red, that would stay with the McCartys. Rona Doc went to the Rodrigueses, and in 1990 won the American Horse Shows Association Horse of the Year Amateur Stock Horse and AHSA Zone 10 crowns. The following year, she earned Horse of the Year.

Georgiana then began a transition for the mare from stock horse classes to the discipline of reining, which Rona Doc enjoyed.

”This was a horse that came right out of stock horse, and all she knew just being pulled,” said Georgiana. “With reining, you say, ‘whoa’ and you drop your hands. It was so hard for both Rona and I to learn that. I would go out there, and she and I would practice. I would say ‘whoa’ and I would throw the reins at her. She was looking at me, ‘what the heck are you doing?’

“Then, I finally got her to the point where she was sliding without being pulled. We just worked on it.”

In 1995 Rona Doc showed in her first reining event and won against 54 horses, including a run-off with another horse. She also won the Rookie Division in the Baker Classic, when the Finals were held during the Orange County Fair.

This year’s Jack Baker Classic Finals, scheduled Aug. 20-21 at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, will be dedicated to Rona Doc, who last made the finals of the event in 2000 at age 20. Since 2002, the “Rona Doc Trophy” has been given at the show to the oldest horses who competes in the two days of finals competition, said Georgiana, who chars the event. That year, the mare was retired in a ceremony before the Baker Classic Finals, where she received a standing ovation after performing and having her sliding shoes removed.

“She’ll certainly be remembered by those who owned her, and those that were lucky enough to see her perform,” said Georgiana, who has one daughter of the mare (Ronas Residual) and a pair of granddaughters by Top Gun (Our Emmy and Dun It Gracefully). “Her heart was as big as all outdoors. She will be missed.”

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