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Remembering Slider

Topsails Rien Maker, the only 3-time NRCHA 'World's Greatest,' dies at 17

From Horsetrader staff reports - June 2nd, 2016 - Cover Story

1606a_coverFBWYNNEWOOD, Okla. — The reined cow horse world lost one of its greatest champions May 22 when Topsails Rien Maker, the only three-time winner of the National Reined Cow Horse Association’s “World’s Greatest Horseman” competition, died of kidney failure at the ranch of his longtime trainer and co-owner, Russell Dilday.

The 17-year-old stallion was a popular favorite in the reined cow horse community, and the pairing with the gutsy, colorful Dilday made for a memorable record-setting run of aged events over the last decade.

His wins are NRCHA Hall of Fame material — the three World’s Greatest titles, two National Stock Horse Association World’s Richest Stock Horse crowns, NRCHA National Championships — and other accomplishments that speak of an ability to close the biggest of deals. Not to just compete at the highest level, but to finish on top.

Still, ask Dilday which memories come to mind first, and the answers are modest ones.

“He was kind of the first horse to take me into the open,” said Dilday, who co-owned Slider with partner Kevin Cantrelle and took the colt in his futurity year. “I remember our first saddle, the NRCHA Open Hackamore Championship in Stephensville, and then Slider got me my first big check at the Pre-Futurity the year it was in Fresno. I won about $5,000 in the limited open, I think. And getting a reserve at the Snaffle Bit was pretty big.

Then he paused.

“Actually,” he said. “Everything he did was pretty big.”

Until last year, none were bigger in cow horse lifetime earnings than Dilday and Topsails Rien Maker. Fed by a string of epic victories, in 2010 they surpassed future NRCHA Hall Of Fame horse Chics Magic Potion, shown by Bob Avila for owner Kenneth Banks, in LTE. Olena Oak, ridden by Ron Emmons for owners Nichole Scott and LaDona Emmons, became the reined cow horse lifetime earnings leader last summer with $339,898.

“Passing Magic for the all-time leading money-winner was a big deal,” Dilday said of the rival who retired in 2009 and passed away in 2012. “Chics Magic Potion was a great horse, and it seemed like we were going head-to-head a lot, from one bridle deal to another. He had a pretty good lead out there before we started, and nobody really recognized what kind of a horse he was — Magic didn’t get the recogition until later on toward the end.”
Although money is a familiar measuring stick, other intangibles made Slider great, too.

“He never cheated me,” said Dilday. “His mind and his heart, that’s what set him apart from so may other horses. He made so many great runs, from the weekend show to the big show.”

One of Dilday’s favorites came in Idaho.

“We were on a cow and going so fast, I didn’t know where I was in the arena,” he said. “We got our first turn, and he had a little step on us coming back. We were running about as hard as we can run for the second turn, and we got to the corner before I knew it. The cow hit the fence. Slider hit the fence with his head, and together we hit so hard that I hit the fence over the top of him.

“So we all three hit in that corner,” he continued. “Slider got a little cut in his forehead from it. We kind of crumpled up in the corner, and as we come up out of there, we sort of fell down there. Slider come up out of that corner — and he was circling that cow as he got up! We all hit it hard and went down, and when the cow jumped up and run, Slider jumped up and run — and I just tried to stay with him.

“He never quit that sucker,” he added. “That’s why I sign all of his horses with ‘Never Quit’.”

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