Started by Chris Littlefield, Dulces Moving Oak has shown his skills in cow horse, team roping and everyday ranch work.
Before he carried Regan Ward to the 2020 Bob Feist Invitational Team Roping heeling championship, Dulces Movin Oak (Dulces Smart Lena x Movin Oak), aka “Sugar Daddy,” got his start in Henrietta, Texas, in 2010 as a 2-year-old with American Quarter Horse Association world champion trainer Chris Littlefield.
“I always liked Dulces Smart Lena and his colts,” Littlefield says. “They are very trainable with strong hocks and good bones. And he can run.”
This combination gives them lots of options for a future as a performance horse, and such was the case with Sugar Daddy, whose lifetime earnings total more than $175,700 and his offspring have won more than $1.3 million. Littlefield originally started training the horse for the 2011 National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity. Although that didn’t work out, he took the gelding to an NRCHA- approved show in Fort Worth, Texas, that summer and ended up winning more than $2,000 on the 3-year-old division.
“He was fast, teachable, good-minded and smart,” Littlefield says. “He had all the tools to be a good horse at whatever he did.”
After establishing some training fundamentals, Littlefield always likes to take his horses out to work cattle or do other ranch work to help them apply what they learned at home. He remembers day-working on Sugar Daddy at a local ranch in January of 2012 as a very young 4-year-old.
“He was green and I was still trying to keep his mind together,” Littlefield remembers. “That particular day we were gathering a large set of cows and calves in a thick, brushy pasture, and the cattle got split up and calves ran off in every direction. I was thinking, ‘I hope I don’t have to go rope these calves on him outside — I don’t want to blow his mind.’ “
Littlefield was called to assist, using the young horse to chase down, rope and tie several calves out in the pasture.
“He took it pretty good because I remember being there in wet, tall grass tying my second one and he was standing right over me, just watching and chilling out like he’d been doing it forever,” Littlefield says with a laugh. “I knew right then he was probably going to be able to take pressure situations pretty well.”
That is the moment that Littlefield knew he was going to make a nice horse. The thrill has been watching the horse’s roping career develop.
Several horses Littlefield has trained as young horses have gone on and done well at the BFI. In 2018, Zane Bruce rode Valhalla Foxy Shiner to the champion heel horse title. Littlefield trained and showed the mare through her 5-year-old year in AQHA tie-down roping and heeling competition. At the 2020 BFI, Nick Sartain headed on Docs Real Gun, a large bay horse that Littlefield trained from its 3- to 5-year-old years.
Read more about Sugar Daddy in the September 2020 issue of Western Horseman.