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Member Spotlight- Aaron Ralston

June 4th, 2019 by Sophia Skeith
Aaron Ralston

Aaron Ralston

Aaron Ralston is an accomplished reined cow horse trainer with an extensive list of achievements in multiple disciplines. Ralston grew up on a cattle ranch in Colorado where he learned the traditions of the working ranch cowhand. He has competed in team roping, and bronc riding, and trained under NRHA Futurity Champion, Doug Milholland.

In 2002, Ralston began his own journey building Ralston Ranch with his wife Meg. Now, they dedicate their time to training Reined Cow Horses. Ralston’s search for knowledge has led him to compete in the “Worlds Greatest Horseman” for the past 4 years.

“My personal goal is to continue to compete in the “Worlds Greatest Horseman 10 years in a row. I get the opportunity to surround myself with horseman that are better than me. The hope is; that I can come out of this extremely knowledgeable and to pass that on.” Ralston said.

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Trainer’s Corner – Tommy Marvin

June 4th, 2019 by Sophia Skeith

Tommy MarvinMoney Won: $2,202,721

Titles/Finals: 2005 NCHA Open Futurity Champion on Highbrows Supercat,

2 x Arbuckle Mountain Open Derby Champion on CP Jesse Cat and MK Reymate

1990 NCHA Derby Reserve Champion on Hickorys Prescription.

Top Three Horses Trained:

Highbrow Super Cat, CP Jesses Cat, and Catsa Movin

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Russell McCord- A Quest For Fairness

June 4th, 2019 by Sophia Skeith

Being judged is always emotional, even when you choose to be judged in the name of competition. Subjective sports are often rife with controversy, because let’s face it, everyone has an opinion. Cutting is no exception.

Judging only works when there is a clearly understood system governed by rules, enacted by experts, and most importantly, is delivered consistently. You could say, this has been the overriding mission of Russell McCord for more than 30 years!

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How To Read A Judge’s Card

June 4th, 2019 by Sophia Skeith

Brought to you by Cole Agency Insurance

The card explains what the judge looks for, what the marks mean, and how many points are penalized for different infractions or awarded. Much of this is subjective based on the style of horse the judge prefers and that is why it is extremely show smart to look at the judge’s cards at each show before you compete. This allows you to see exactly what they are awarding and deducting points for at that show.

➤ Different judges have different styles of using the marks. You may see a box with 3 +’s in it, that just tells that judge he wants to give more than 1 point on that cow or run. NCHA Judges Card      ✔ does not add or subtract any points, ✔+ adds ½ point, + adds 1 point, ✔- subtracts ½ point, and, – subtracts 1 point

➤ Some judges will use a little + or a big + to determine a higher score. The point is, don’t try to calculate the score literally. Each judge’s sheet is based on his or her educated opinion of how well or how poorly the run was performed.

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Member Spotlight: Cody Lamont

June 4th, 2019 by Sophia Skeith

From northern Queensland, Australia, Cody Lamont has quickly made a name for himself in cutting. Growing up in the saddle, Lamont roamed his family’s cattle stations on the back of a horse. As a young man, Lamont had a passion for rodeo where he competed as a roper.

In 2009, Lamont landed a job with the great Al Dunning. And so his intrigue for cutting horses was born.

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Morgan Cromer- Woman On Fire!

June 4th, 2019 by Sophia Skeith

Morgan Cromer

Winning three million dollars in cutting is an accomplishment many aspire to but few achieve. Yet, Morgan Cromer from Templeton, California, just surpassed that mark, joining an elite group of trainers after picking up a check at the 2019 NCHA Super Stakes. In fact, Cromer has been earning checks at an astonishing rate. In the past three years, she has doubled her prize money. That’s $1.5-million!

Cromer fell in love with cutting as a young girl. She has now made waves as an accomplished trainer and is one of only 3 women who have achieved this incredible feat. She now stands side by side with Kathy Daughn and Lindy Burch, two trainers she has looked up to her whole life.

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Member Spotlight – Lica Pinkston

May 3rd, 2019 by Nevada Huffman

Lica Pinkston is no stranger to the hard work it requires to run a successful cattle ranch.

Lica Pinkston

That same work ethic has brought Pinkston great success in the cutting arena.

Pinkston, born and raised in Texas, has been around cattle and horses her whole life. Her cattle ranch lies just north of the border in Alice, Texas. Although cutting horses has been a part of her family’s history, Pinkston credits her son, 15 years ago, for bringing her into the sport.

“My son was riding bulls in high school rodeo at the time and wanted another event. So we bought a cutting horse,” she said.

Shortly after, her son decided to move on to different things.

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Trainer’s Corner: Turner West

May 3rd, 2019 by Nevada Huffman

We welcome talented two year old trainer Turner West to the CHTO fold! Based in Weatherford, TX, Turner operates a thriving business out of Chris Johnsrud’s Cutting horse facility that employs several assistant trainers.

With 14 years of experience, Turner has worked for Phil Rapp, John Mitchell and
David Costello. His wife Lauren also assists Turner as well running her own baby clothing company called Cowbaby Gear. The busy couple has two young boys.

Turner has started numerous NCHA and NRCHA Champions such as Crey Zee, Tornado Watch, One Shiney Metallic, Metallic Chrome Cat and many more. He has also trained some of the top selling horses in the Western Bloodstock NCHA Futurity Sales that have gone on to have
successful careers.

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Bringing Back Cutting To NY State

May 3rd, 2019 by Nevada Huffman

Staff Sargent Amber Roberts has poured her life into honorably serving her country. Now her mission is to grow the sport of cutting in the New England and help others develop a passion for it like hers. This feat hasn’t proved easy as cutting horses have been slim
to nonexistent in her region. Predominately in New York State, disciplines consist of

Amber Roberts

dressage, and hunter jumper and some ranch sorting.

Roberts grew up in Wisconsin. Her parents bred someof the top Buckskin all-around performance horses in the mid-west including an International Buckskin Horse Association (IBHA) Supreme Champion and multiple IBHA Congress Champions.

However, Roberts shifted gears and joined the United States Army. Being stationed and deployed overseas for 10 of the 14 years of active duty, Roberts longed for the adrenalin rush of riding a horse. On a short visit home, she rode her first cutter and was instantly hooked!

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CHTO Member Spotlight – Hannah Venne

April 1st, 2019 by Nevada Huffman

 For Hannah Venne, horses have always been the center of her life.

“My dad used to try to sign me up for all different sports, “she said, “but according to my mom and I, the barn is where I needed to be.”

From dressage to hunter jumper and onto Polo Cross, Venne has done it all. At 17 years old, Polo Cross brought Hannah Venne to Burnett, TX.

In a twist of fate, Hannah’s search for a Polo Cross Horse on Craigslist led her to a little black mare that was advertised as a finished cutting horse.” Venne soon realized her new mare was “not so finished.” Knowing very little about cutting, she turned to trainer Mike Crumpler for lessons.
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Kobie Wood Part 2 – The Million Dollar Question?

April 1st, 2019 by Nevada Huffman

 In our February Newsletter, CHTO featured Hall of Fame Rider Kobie Wood’s training program. He explained how to position your horse with the cow and interestingly, how he believes using turn-back help at home hinders his horse from cowing up. Wood is the reining Super Stakes Derby Champion. He won the title in 2018 aboard Cool N’ Hot. This month we delve deeper with Part II where he focuses on the cow. When it comes to cattle, Wood describes them as “The million dollar question?”

What do you look for when picking cattle?

Kobie Wood on Cool N Hot

“You want to pick a cow that’s not real lazy and you want to pick one that’s so alert you can’t get ahold of her in the back of the herd. So you’ve got to find that middle of the road cow that’s got enough eye appeal and enough move that [it] will look at you and honor you without trying to run you over.” “I can keep the dance,” Wood describes it. “I can keep it moving if I can find a cow that’ll let me stop and I can draw it in or I can push it away and they’ll still come back to me.”

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Discovering Cutting In South Africa

March 13th, 2019 by Nevada Huffman

We all know that cutting is practiced in many countries around the world, but it may surprise you to learn there’s a burgeoning cutting scene in South Africa. A small number of passionate riders have created an informal but fun cutting group according to Anthony Galliers, who discovered CHTO as a learning tool. He is from Rosetta in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

We found it interesting to hear how cutting was structured in South Africa, as well as some of the challenges they face to get quality 

How long have you been involved in the industry, and what brought you into it? 

“My wife and I come from jumping and Polo Cross back grounds. We dairy farm so [we] don’t get out much. So we were looking for fun activities to do on [our] farm. We had luck when we stumbled on a western disciple show in 2014, this lead to our daughter falling in love with reining. This lead to the sale of all things English (tack and horses) and to us sourcing western tack and quarter horses. 

The whole family soon got hooked. My wife, daughter and son compete in reining. It left me to find my thing. I started to look up what else was out there and came across cutting via you-tube about 2 years ago. So we built a sand arena which allows us to ‘play’ in between milking cows.”

 What is the cutting industry like in South Africa? 

“It is just a few of us committed folk getting together every six weeks and to see where our horses are at. We have a lot of laughs and we share the little we have learnt between meetings, you tube videos and videos brought over from the States. This is 1000% hobby but hell we are having fun.” 

How often do cuttings take place, and how far do you have to travel? 

“As mentioned we try to meet and hold fun cutting days every 6 weeks, work and season depending. The six of us farmers are all located in our province (state) known as KwaZulu Natal. What is great is that we are all located in a 100 km (60 mile) radius of each other so we travel to one of the two farms where cutting pens have been made.” 

What are the challenges with importing horses/genetics to South Africa? 

“Importing horses is an option but a very expensive procedure, especially with the weak Rand to Dollar [conversion rates]. There are horses here in South Africa that have been imported mainly for reining and pleasure work. As a result the studs here are reining and pleasure genetics. We have however had a bit of Colonel Freckles, Smart Little Lena, a Highbrow Cat great grandson and Peppy San Badger genetics brought into to our gene pool. And that is what we have focused on for our cow horses. Regarding semen imports we have major governmental barriers in place that prevent us from importing semen at present which is a massive hurdle. We are working through this, however in Africa this requires governmental intervention so we can’t hold our breath for this to happen quickly.” 

What is the most popular horse discipline in South Africa? 

“We have a large race horse industry which feeds horses into various sports. Polo and Polo Cross are big team horse sports here. South Africa is the current holder of the World Cup Polo Cross trophy. 

Thoroughbreds have been the main horses used for many English disciplines. The Aussie Stock horse crosses have recently come into their own, for polo cross, via a breeding program that has been going on here for some 10 years. Then jumping, dressage and eventing is well set up with good followings, warmbloods and thoroughbreds are mainly used. Gymkhana events [similar to a 4H show] are held under the banner – Mounted Games and this is very popular.” 

What is the cutting horse market in South Africa like? 

“Cutting specifically, it is still very small, however there is a demand for the ranch type horse. But we like to believe we will attract folk to the sport as more horse and rider combinations are able to showcase the sport. 

We rely on CHTO DVDs and you-tube for some kind of direction. As well as investing in trips to the US. In June, our family spent time with Uwe Roeshmann and Cody Lamont which was an awesome learning experience and we have tried to implement what we have learnt here in SA. 

Recently we had Mark Lyon from M&M Horsemanship take a trip to South Africa, who taught us a lot. Mark is a colt starter and horsemanship clinician by trade. However he knows enough about cutting and ranch roping and was able to add massive value to us as a group as we got to work on our own horses.” 


Jeff Smith’s Custom Saddles

March 4th, 2019 by nikki garrett


“Designed & Handmade In Texas, Ridden Competitively Worldwide.”

“Ride What the Winners Ride!”

Visit Our Site Today!

Located in the heart of horse country, Terrell, TX, Jeff Smith’s Custom Saddles goes above and beyond to ensure every customer has the perfect seat for every ride. The design and engineering of Jeff Smith’s Saddles, sets it apart from the competition. Jeff Smith’s Custom Saddles offers quality saddles you can count on, every time!  Our specialized Cutting, Ranch Cutters, Cow Horse, Cowboy, Team Ropers, and Barrel Saddles are made with the finest Hermann Oak Leather and American made material. The workmanship by expert saddle makers with over 36 years of custom western tack manufacturing, proves that every saddle is made with incredible detail and care.

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NRS-National Ropers Supply

February 26th, 2019 by nikki garrett

Visit Us Today

National Ropers Supply, most commonly known as NRS, has been in the western retail business for 30 years. From boots, hats and western apparel to saddles, bits and ropes, NRS is truly your one stop shop for All Things Western.

Whether you are a Cutter, Roper, Reiner, Barrel Racer, or participate in any discipline involving horses; NRS can outfit your lifestyle.

The NRS history is rich in western roots, hard work and family values. The company began in Decatur, Texas in 1989, after owner and avid team roper at the time, David Isham purchased a small mom-and-pop western store in a strip mall in town.​ ​Since then, the company has grown to feature four different retail locations, a training and event center and six trailer dealerships.​

Their flagship location and corporate headquarters still reside in Decatur, Texas, right off of highway 287 on the south side of town. The 90,000 square foot retail and feed store, training and event center and trailer dealership are located on the Isham family ranch. Aside from this location, the company also owns and operates NRS in Granbury, Texas, David’s Western Store in Weatherford, Texas and NRS in Wickenburg, Arizona.

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Member Spotlight – Lauren Balog, Paauilo, Hawaii

February 21st, 2019 by Nevada Huffman

Lauren Balog has been fortunate to grow up on the beautiful big Island of Hawaii. Balog found her passion for horses as a young 12-year-old girl and has never looked back. Her grandfather, who was a rancher, set the tone for Lauren becoming a “horse-crazy”kid and an equine enthusiast for life. 

Lauren Balog pictured on the right.

After completing college in Colorado, Balog returned to Hawaii and quickly dived into more riding lessons. From the moment she watched her first cutting horse work, she was hooked. Balog stated, “I had never seen a horse move like that.”  

When she was ready to purchase her first cutting horse, she ended up finding the same mare she had once watched. It was a “Cinderella Story” and she immediately bought her. Balog and her mare, Magic Lady Pep, went on to have a very successful career competing in the Hawaii Island Cutting Horse Association. 

These days, Balog helps run her family business, Edwin D. Lewis Trucking and Gravel, LLC. In her spare time she continues to ride and is excited about her new babies out of some of the best mares and sires in the industry. Lauren generously contributes to the Hawaii Island Cutting Horse Association every year, always wanting to give back to the sport. The excitement of her new yearlings has sparked big plans to be back in the show ring again soon! 

Why Lauren Uses CHTO:  “When I had my 3yr old mare, CHTO kept me on track and allowed me to learn directly from trainers. CHTO is the greatest resource in the cutting horse world!” 

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