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Interviews

Member Spotlight – Ty Cole – North Fork, Idaho

November 8th, 2019 by Sophia Skeith

Ty ColeTy Cole got his start riding range colts in Montana. After attending a cutting, Ty’s fascination with horsemanship was sparked. Ten years later, he specializes in yearlings, trains them for a year or two and then sells them mostly to cutting and cow horse competitors.

To learn his craft, he spent 6 months riding with Zane Davis. He said everything changed for him when he worked for Tom Campbell, based in Texas. Tom had a good string of horses and soon Tom said, “Alright, you’re up.” Ty got on his A string horses for the next few days. He said that helped him develop feel and how to cow up a horse. He said he felt those horses think independently about the cow.

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Trainer’s Corner – Kenny Platt – Ft. Lupton, Co.

November 8th, 2019 by Sophia Skeith

Kenny Platt

TOTAL EARNINGS: $1,691,493

TOP HORSES TRAINED
• Rubys Cd
• Metalic Man
• Fancy Hughes
• Moms Stylish Player

TITLES & FINALS
• 2019 Waco Texas Cutting Horse Open Futurity Champion
• 2018 Open Western Nationals Champion
• 2017 Breeders Invitational Open Classic Champion
• 2017 Bonanza Open Classic Champion
• 2016 NCHA Summer Spectacular Derby Champions on Moms Stylish Player
• 2016 NCHA Super Stakes Champion on Moms Stylish Player
• NCHA Futurity Finalist x 3
• NCHA Futurity Semi Finalist x 6
• 2015 Super Stakes Classic Finalist
• 2015 Idaho Classic Champion
• 2014 Brazos Bash Futurity Champion

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Cutting On A Budget

November 8th, 2019 by Sophia Skeith

Gavin Clarke and Rubys Cd Legacy Photo By: John O’Hara

One of the biggest complaints about cutting is that it’s a rich man’s sport. Sure, if you buy the best horse, get the fanciest truck and trailer, have a full time trainer and compete in the triple crown events (not to mention vet fees), it will cost you a pretty penny, even if you do win. But it’s a myth to suggest cutting is only a rich man’s sport.

There are countless cutters around the world who don’t have unlimited means and still get to indulge in their love of the sport. All it takes is some realistic expectations, a bit of planning and the discipline to stick to it.

Yes, it sounds simple, but it’s not always easy to do, mainly because we can be our own worst enemy and our wants often speak louder than our needs. But a bit of common sense, and some extra effort and patience, particularly when looking for the right horse for example, can pay off big.

We spoke to a variety of cutters who have all managed to make cutting affordable for themselves and they have shared their thrifty habits and handy tips here.
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Trainer’s Corner: Faron Hightower

October 7th, 2019 by Sophia Skeith

Faron Hightower

How did you get started in cutting?

“Been involved in cutting since ‘79 or ‘80. My dad [got me involved]. My dad was Olan Hightower. He trained Colonel Freckles. I was fortunate enough to have a teacher that knew more about the cow and horse than anyone I ever encountered…the good Lord blessed me with some ability and feel for a horse. Dad’s way of teaching was about the horse and the cow and not you.”

 

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The Heart of Cutting

October 7th, 2019 by Sophia Skeith

Star Roberts
Photo By: John O’Hara

With all the recent turmoil in cutting with declining membership, staff turn-over and controversies over how to make the sport fairer and more accessible, it can be hard to stay positive. But two cutters who have optimism to share are Star Roberts and Amy Jones.

When they started out in cutting, both knew that they weren’t going to go buy a six-figure cutting horse, if ever. They each began with a horse that was at their level and gradually moved up in horse power as they developed. Their trainers helped them learn and improve, knowing full well that they were not going to spend a lot of money on a horse. As a result, both riders have thoroughly enjoyed their time in the sport, making great friends.

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Things I learned from the Miss Rodeo Texas Pageant!

September 11th, 2019 by Sophia Skeith

Duncan and the 3 Other Judges

“Did you leave your hotel room without asking?” asked the stern looking woman.

“Yes mam”, I stammered, “I only went to the gym.”

“You are not allowed to leave your room unless you have a guide, these are the rules!” she said.

“I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize. I will ask next time”, I offered, hoping to placate her. (I had pulled my hamstring on the tread mill so I wasn’t able to break that rule again – if I even dared!)

It was then that I realized the importance and seriousness of what I had just got myself into!

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Trainer’s Corner – Gavin Jordan

September 11th, 2019 by Sophia Skeith

Gavin Jordan

How did you get started in cutting? “Well, I worked for a horse trainer in Australia before I came up [over to the USA] a guy named Craig Emerton. We always… had pleasure horses and reining horses and everything, when we were kids and just did every event we could throw a leg over and it just progressed from there.”

What brought you from Australia to the USA? “Well, just the horses. A guy that Craig actually worked for named Stan Fonson who was a great reined cow horse trainer and ventured into the cutting by the time I got over there. So I was just looking for a change out of Australia and something different. So I got a job with him and went from there.”

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Member Spotlight – Chet Martin

September 10th, 2019 by Sophia Skeith

Chet Martin

Reined cow horse and reining trainer, Chet Martin grew up in the saddle on the family ranch.

Martin’s dad got him his first pony when he was 5 and they always went to horse sales and bought any Quarter Horse that was in foal. Together, they would retrain the broodmares and start the foals when they were old enough and sell them. Martin said his training was a “kind of baptism by fire”.

At around age 10, Martin went to a colt starting clinic where he improved his technique. Martin always dreamed of showing horses, but didn’t really get the chance to growing up in a conservative Mennonite family.

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Cutting In The Holy Land!

August 9th, 2019 by Sophia Skeith

Sarig Brosh Cutting

Who would have thought, in a country barely the size of New Jersey and located in the Middle East, that there is a flourishing performance horse scene that even includes a cutting group which shows five times a year?

Sarig Brosh has been training horses for over 20 years. His student, Yafit Junker, has been riding horses for six years.

“I took my first riding lesson six years ago, and about a year later I was brought to Brosh to make him laugh….I find cutting as addictive and progressive. I started with a frequency of once a week and very soon it became my everyday routine,”  Junker said.

Junker purchased a horse and very soon one horse turned into three and now Junker is a lifer in all things horses and a cutter to boot.

Her trainer Brosh spent two years in the United States learning about training horses. One year of that was spent breaking colts and roping, and another year learning to train cutting horses from Terry Harlen from Texas.

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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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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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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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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.” 

 


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