California Riding Magazine • October, 2008

Horse of the Month:
Big Chex To Cash
AQHA & APHA registered stallion is a wise investment and then some.

by Elizabeth Allen

With several Open Champion titles and earnings of over $205,000, it would seem that any horse would be happy to settle into the less stressful life of a breeding horse. Not Big Chex To Cash, the flashy palomino stallion owned by the 23 Partnership of Andrea and Tish Fappani’s Fappani Performance Horses and Manuel Bonzano in Italy. This San Marco-based stallion just keeps on wanting to win.

Noted reining trainer and rider Andrea Fappani knows a good reining prospect when he sees one. The first European to become a million dollar rider on the National Reining Horse Association (NHRA) circuit, Andrea saw Big Chex as a young horse and he knew he had to have him.

Big Chex (by Nu Chex to Cash and out of Snip O Gun) was bred and born at Hilldale Farm in Tennessee. He was in training with Mike McIntyre as a 2-year-old when Andrea came out to try him. The San Diego trainer decided to buy him right away. “Big Chex stood out because of his attitude and his amazing talent under the saddle,” says Andrea’s wife Tish. “He is a quick horse and Andrea is attracted to a smart, sharp horse.”

Big Chex’s more notable titles include the 2005 NRHA Open Futurity Reserve Championship, the 2005 West Coast Spectacular Open Futurity Champion and the 2007 NRHA Open Derby Reserve Champion. He was also the second-ranked money earning horse in 2005. These feats helped his sire, Nu Chex to Cash, become the most recent million dollar sire of 2008.

However, Big Chex’s show career has had its setbacks. After the 2006 National Reining Breeder’s Classic (NRBC), Big Chex was given some well-deserved rest and injured himself in the hind leg while out playing in the pasture. This caused him to miss the prestigious NRHA Derby later that year. “That’s why it was so special when he was the Reserve Open Champion the following year at the 2007 NRHA Derby,” Tish explains. “The Oklahoma City arena has always been great for him.”
Tish also couldn’t be happier with how the stallion is balancing his breeding and competitive careers. He is fully booked for 2008, having already bred 133 mares. Big Chex currently has 63 weanlings and 12 yearlings on the ground, three of which Andrea will start next year.
“We have been lucky that collecting Big Chex has never affected his training,” Tish comments. “We have a routine for him and it has worked out great.”

Double Dividends

Big Chex is also double registered in the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and the American Paint Horse Association (APHA), which draws in the interest to his breeding. In addition, “People that bred to him while he was still being shown respected us a ton for wanting to get his earnings as high as they are,” Tish continues. In the future, the Fappanis hope to slip in a World title for the classy stud before his showing days are over.

Now an experienced show veteran, Big Chex has matured over the years. “He is as sweet on the ground as a good, old gelding. When he is being tuned up for a show he is all business and when it’s breeding time he does his job,” Tish reports.

Big Chex is like family to the Fappanis and has been special to them since the beginning. He even lets the young Fappani boys brush him and lead him around, and Tish says he doesn’t have a mean bone on his body. “Andrea and Big Chex have always had a great relationship and they know each other inside and out,” she adds. “He is the spoiled one around here. He is king and we all work for him.”

Big Chex and his owners have their sights set on a Senior World title and his offspring should make their show ring debuts in 2010. Meantime, the stallion will be beautifully represented with a Breyer model due out this month.

“We are thrilled,” Tish says of the honor. “Breyer approached us and we thought it was great!”

The stallion even has his own website,
Furthermore, Andrea and family are excited for another series of DVDs the trainer is releasing this fall. They are geared toward both trainers and Non-Pro riders, with one part based on Derby-aged horses and another section focused on tips for riding and handling horses.

For more information on Big Chex to Cash, Fappani Performance Horses, and 23 Partnership, please visit