CHTO News

Trainer’s Corner – Travis Stewart – Grandview, TX

June 14th, 2021 by Sophia Skeith

Travis Stewart looks at two year olds like an artist looks at a blank canvas.They have limited experience with people so he can mold them into what he thinks they need to be to succeed in their performance careers. While Stewart has been focused on two year olds, he does get to show on occasion to complete the picture. He truly enjoys the day to day process of training at home.

He attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, in California where he earned his Animal Science degree. It was there he discovered the performance horse world, which soon replaced his plans for vet school. Stewart is also a talented painter and sculptor in his free time.

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Member Spotlight – Tricia Gilson – Sanger, CA

June 14th, 2021 by Sophia Skeith

Tricia and Rebellious Soul

It’s been 20 years since Gilson has had a cow horse in the Snaffle Bit Futurity. She is preparing for the Snaffle Bit Futurity this year on a horse named Rebellious Soul. The horse is special to Gilson because the foal is her youth horse’s great-grand-foal. Gilson competed in the reining arena for sometime and is finally ready to go back to the cow horse arena.

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Adapting To Unprecedented Times: Introducing The 6/7 Class

June 14th, 2021 by Sophia Skeith

Geoffrey Sheehan riding Hiss N Vinegar to a 228 to claim the Open 6/7 Championship.
Photo Courtesy of the NCHA

Necessity is the mother of invention, so when the 2020 NCHA Kit Kat Sugar Super Stakes was cancelled due to the COVID-19 shutdown, the Association got busy finding a solution.

While cutting is a fun recreation for many, for trainers, breeders and other professionals, it’s a livelihood. So the loss of a major show creates a big financial hole.

NCHA Director of Shows, Shianne Megel, said that the 2020 Super Stakes was the most discussed and researched topic the Association dealt with all year in 2020. After the 2020 cancellation, a portion of the Stallion and Foal funds were still available to be paid out to eligible horses.

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Member Spotlight – Shay Martin – Lamar, NE

May 10th, 2021 by Sophia Skeith

Shay Martin and Young Ringo
Photo by: Super Starr Equine Photography

Shay Martin grew up on his grandpa’s ranch. Horses and cows have always been his passion. But he didn’t start cutting until 2016, when his mother introduced him to the sport.

“The first time I felt my horse hook onto the cattle, I was hooked ever since then,” he said.

He bought two young horses that he hopes to show and breed with. He competes in the Western Nebraska Cutters club (WNC) in Nebraska and gets help from local trainers as well as Kenny Platt in Colorado when he can make the trip.

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Craig Thompson – Buffalo, TX

May 10th, 2021 by Sophia Skeith

Total Earnings: $3,005,912

Two-time NCHA Futurity Champion, Craig Thompson, grew up showing cutting horses in the youth. His grandfather, Thomas Nichols, who was a huge inspiration to him, got him started in cutting.

In 1996, Thompson went to work for Kenny Pew Jr. in Brenham, TX. He then worked for Matt Gaines and with his assistant at the time, Clint Allen. Winston and Paul Hansma were living across the road at Bar H, so Thompson also spent time learning from them. He said the brothers were instrumental in helping his career.

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How You Can Stretch Your Equine Athlete For Improved Performance

May 10th, 2021 by Sophia Skeith

Veltri assessing a horse’s range of motion

Stretching before a big show or a hard training session is very important to keep muscles flexible, strong and healthy. Many horse owners already stretch their horse’s neck side to side with treats before a ride, but did you know there are more stretches you can do to keep your equine athlete performing at his best?

Equine Massage Therapist, Tiffanie Veltri likes to educate her clients on how to thoroughly stretch their own horses. These techniques help owners maintain their horse’s flexibility and make sure the key muscle groups are getting released.

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Trainer’s Corner: Rob Hodgman

April 6th, 2021 by Sophia Skeith

Total Earnings: $892,000 Aus

At 18 years old Rob Hodgman left home in Australia and traveled to California to ride reined cow horses. He returned home where he said the sport was more popular then and bought a cow horse. That horse did not like reining so a friend suggested he take it to the cutting futurity. He ended up winning the 1983 Australian NCHA Open Futurity on the horse.

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Member Spotlight: Samantha McPherrin & Suzanne Stilwell

April 6th, 2021 by Sophia Skeith

Samantha McPherrin & her mom Suzanne Stilwell

Samantha McPherrin rode a cutting horse for the first time in 2010 when she was working for a trainer. She had a blast and her mom, Suzanne Stilwell, also got into cutting at the same time.

Stilwell bought her first horse in 2010. Stilwell said Todd Bimat and Jose Mendez were a big part of how she got started in cutting.

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Buffalo: The Next Best Thing To Having Cows

April 6th, 2021 by Sophia Skeith

Buffalo getting a feel for the arena

They’re goggled-eyed, mop-headed, unbalanced looking creatures that can seem downright intimidating, but the ungainly bison can be a cutter’s best friend when it comes to tuning your horse.

With constant supplies of fresh cattle a fantasy for most cutters, buffalo are a much more affordable substitute. Unlike cows which sour quickly after being worked, buffalo can be used to train six to eight horses a day for a number of years, provided you handle them right.

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Member Spotlight – Andy Sutliff – Against All Odds

March 8th, 2021 by Sophia Skeith

Andy Sutliff and MK Smooth Texas

Submitted and Written by member Shelley Casciato

How can a guy attain what Andy Sutliff has earned with lifetime NCHA earnings of $47,630.00 and USCHA earnings of $17,964.00 while living in an English dominated area with no cows, no walker, just an indoor pen and a flag?

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Trainer’s Corner – Rodrigo Taboga – Weatherford, TX

March 8th, 2021 by Sophia Skeith

Total Earnings: $592,458

Originally from Brotas, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Rodrigo Taboga has grown up in the horse industry. He showed his first cutting horse at seven years old, learning from his father. He was 17 years old when he decided he wanted to train professionally.

Jody Galyean has had a huge influence on Taboga. They met in 2011 when Jody would come out to their ranch in Brazil to teach.

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Cutting Horse Trainers at a College Near You…?

March 8th, 2021 by Sophia Skeith

John Snyder Teaching at the Legends of Ranching Sale Day.

While the pandemic saw schools shut down the world over, the challenge for educators who teach an equine curriculum with a largely hands-on practical- based component has been particularly tricky. But instead of going the usual route of books and zoom classes, some professors got creative, did some research and added the expert videos of trainers on Cutting Horse Training Online/Reined Cow Horse Training Online!

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Member Spotlight – Josh Keimig

February 9th, 2021 by Sophia Skeith

Josh riding a 2 year old with his son

What started out as a quest to make the best rope horse has become a journey that has taken Josh Keimig from working on the power line to ridin two year old cutting horses.

A friend with a cattle ranch introduced Josh Keimig to the fast paced sport of cutting with a YouTube video and broke cutters.

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Trainer’s Corner – Russ Westfall – Granbury, TX

February 9th, 2021 by Sophia Skeith

Total Earnings: $3,453,801

As a high schooler, Russ Westfall worked for a cattle ranch that provided cattle at cutting shows in the Northwest. That winter he went to work for a trainer and started colts. Then he got the incredible opportunity to work for Buster Welch in Texas. He was there for three years.

“It was the best time of my life. I learned so much!” said Westfall.

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Barn Management with Slate River Ranch’s Kellee Clarke

February 9th, 2021 by Sophia Skeith

A well-run barn is the key to any smooth operation. Whether you have one or 50 horses in your care, it’s crucial that you have an organized space, know where everything is and are able to act in any kind of emergency.

Kellee Clarke has been the barn manager for Slate River for nine years and counting. She makes sure everything has its place, and most importantly gets put back in place. Her feed room, vet room, tack room and stalls are clearly labeled so almost anyone can walk in and know just what to do for any of the horses.

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