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2018 Futurity

Climbing To The Top – Kody Porterfield

December 18th, 2018 by Nevada Huffman

Kody during his winning run at the Futurity. Photo Credit: Quarter Horse News

He’s a gentle giant making a name for himself in the hallowed Will Rogers Coliseum! Kody Porterfield won his second Limited Open Futurity title in Fort Worth when he rode Cat Gethr and marked a 223.

“It feels great. It feels real good,” he said humbly.

It’s been a big year for trainer Kody Porterfield. He notched up a win in the PCCHA Intermediate Open Classic Challenge, purchased his own training facility near Weatherford TX and of course capped off the year with his Limited Futurity buckle. He also made the Open Futurity Semi Finals on the same horse.

Kody won his first Limited Futurity title in 2015 aboard This Isa Third with a 222. To put Kody’s success into perspective, he more than doubled his earnings with his first win in the Will Rogers three years ago taking home almost $17,000. Since then, the 29 year old trainer has earned approximately $265,000.

He said his training and showing has come a long way in that time. “Definitely getting to show more and have more under my belt since then, so I have a little more confidence under my belt going down there. When I first won it I hadn’t showed very much. We actually watched the video not very long ago and it was two totally different runs. It’s still hard to go down there and show but doing it more now helped, having more experience helps,” he said.

Kody said he always felt good about his mare Cat Gethr despite some challenges times with her training. The mare is owned by Jack and Diane Jackman. “She’s always felt smart about a cow to me and maybe not the easiest to train but always no matter what went back to the cow, so I’ve always liked that about her,” Kody said.

Kody said the most important thing about training a futurity horse is building their confidence to be able to handle the pressure of competition. “I think you have to have those horses confident and trained enough to where they can get through the hard situations in there.”

He said he’s also learned to be strategic. “Just try to advance and try to have as less a penalties as you can have throughout each go round.”

Kody reflected on the difference purchasing his own training facility has made to his program. He and his wife Cheyenne bought John Mitchell’s ranch west of Weatherford, TX earlier this year. “There’s a lot of pressure, you know we have to make the payments and keep it running so we have to win and do good but also the sense of waking up and know that we don’t have to leave and the comfort of that has been by far the most unbelievable thing that I’ve felt. I can do anything I want so that helps,” he said.

Kody said owning his place has also encouraged more owners to send him horses. “Here we can grow to the number [of horses] that I want to be at, you know. So that does help. And it gives our owners more of a mind frame of stability that they know I’m going to be there and I’m not going anywhere,” he added. Kody’s cutting tourney began in 2006 when Georgia Welch put him on his first cutter. “I didn’t even know what it was. We got together for the All-Around High School Rodeos and I was very competitive in the other events and I had a buddy that cut…we pretty much moved out to Buster Welch’s with Dawson Burns his grandson and just loved it.”

In 2011, he moved to North Texas and began working for Cory Pounds and then Tarin Rice before going out on his own.

Kody said while his goal is win any of the major Triple crown titles, he is inspired be in the company of such great trainers he looks up to as great people as well. “Of course winning, but at the same time we all love horses and if I think If I could grow up to be like them and have that reputation of being a winner and also just a great person would be the top of my list,” Kody said.


In The Judge’s Seat – Grooming The Next Generation

December 18th, 2018 by Nevada Huffman

Judging Contestants Judge a Live Class – Photo Credit: NCHA

While most cutters were focused on the exciting horseversus- cow action in the Will Rogers Coliseum at the Futurity, the NCHA was also working to hone the skills and knowledge of the next generation of judges and competitors at the annual Judging Contest. This is the third year that the NCHA has hosted this contest, but the first year that the organization opened it up to more than just collegiate teams, with many high school students also competing. Colleges, FFA teams, and 4-H teams traveled from all over the US to show off their judging prowess. Each judging contestant is required to complete a rule book test, a penalty clip test, and score two sets of 10 cutting runs.

The top 10 individuals in each division were placed in a designated area and allowed to judge one day of the World Finals. They scored them just as a regular judge would, and were awarded points based on how close they were to the official scores given by the actual judges.

Prior to the contest, Beth Hughes, NCHA Marketing Specialist, spoke with Russell McCord, Director of Judges for the NCHA. He said, “This event will not only provide a more in-depth educational aspect of cutting horse events, it will help the younger generation of equine enthusiasts understand how to recognize a well-rounded performance in the arena, as well as outside of one.”

Hughes included in an NCHA blog post: “It is the goal of the NCHA that, by making these judging competitions available, to make this event an investment in younger generations so they may be able to, one day, thrive from this experience and gain more knowledge of their own abilities as well as those from their equine counterparts. The future of the NCHA fully rests in the hands of those who will take on the legacies that will be left behind.”

Contestants Being Welcomed -Photo Credit: NCHA

Nancy Crawford-Hall, owner of Holy Cow Performance Horses is the sponsor of this event. She welcomed the judging contestants by stating, “I am proud to be able to support the future of our industry and this contest. Knowing that some of you will be judging one of my horses one day is a wonderful feeling.”

This year there were ten colleges that came to compete, bringing 60 individuals. Josh Briggs who is a freshman North Central Texas College (NCTC) was this year’s Champion Individual at the collegiate level.

Josh said he wasn’t originally a member of the NCTC Horse Judging team, “I started practicing with them because of my interest in the NCHA Judging Contest and wanting to compete there with the team.”

A few of his teammates had competed in this contest in the previous year, but were mostly unfamiliar with scoring a cutting horse.

Briggs explained that leading up to the contest, he and the team met with judges to prepare and became educated on how to properly score a cutting run.

His coach also talked them through cutting videos in preparation.

“When we worked with the judges prior to the contest, we were getting a lot of information given to us. It got a little confusing. Russell did a really good job of smoothing things out and clarifying things for us at the clinic, and had us pretty confident going through the [judging] videos.

Because of the college’s close proximity to Fort Worth, the team was driving back and forth to the competition. They were under the impression that if they made the Top 10 and needed to come back the next day to judge the live class, they would be notified in early afternoon.

“We were already home and it was pretty late in the evening,” Briggs said. “My coach hadn’t heard anything so we didn’t think that we had done any good. Around 7:30 that night my coach called me and let me know that we had made the Top 10. It was really exciting!”

“The live judging was really hard for me. It was the Novice class and all the riders were solid and knew what they were doing, but the horses were kind of average. There weren’t any bad runs but there was nothing spectacular, so all the scores were really tight,” Briggs explained.

Briggs After Being Crowned Champion Judger – Photo Credit: NCTC

He was given the opportunity to sit in the arena and judge the Open World Finals, as well as the Non-Pro World Finals right along side of the NCHA official judges.

When asked to describe it, Briggs said, “Oh that was amazing, for the view more than anything! Getting to sit down there and watch those great horses go was a lot of fun. There were some pretty great runs, especially Hashtags. That was a great run to get to watch from down there.”

“My team really enjoyed the experience and getting to get to come down and watch all of the cutting. I would tell anyone to come to this contest. It is great!” Briggs explained.

Briggs was awarded a $750 Scholarship for receiving the highest individual score in the collegiate division. His team finished 4th overall. Due to NCHA rules, judging champions are not allowed to return to compete in the contest.


Kody Porterfield Claims His Second Ltd Open Futurity Title

December 8th, 2018 by Simone Cobb

It’s been a big year for trainer Kody Porterfield. He notched up a win in the PCCHA Intermediate Open Classic Challenge, purchased his own training facility near Weatherford TX and just took out the 2018 NCHA Limited Open Futurity Final. He rode Cat Gethr and marked a strong 223 to clinch his second such title. The pair also made the Open Semi Final. Ever humble, Kody sat down for a chat about his success with CHTO’s Simone Cobb and even critiqued his own winning run.

Cat Gethr is a mare owned by Jack and Diane Jackman from Clewiston, FL. Greg Wright was Reserve Champion on Reycan In The Cash with a 219.

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