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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.
Keep on reading!

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.” 


Get Your Barn Humming – Work Flow Tips For 2019

January 14th, 2019 by Nevada Huffman


Duncan interviewing Kellee

Does every step you take around the barn have purpose? Do you have an efficient work flow? Does your staff know what they should be doing at any time of the day? Do you have a maintenance schedule, a vet schedule, an organized work space? Do things get put back after use? These are simple questions that can have a huge impact on how efficient your day to day operation is! 

We recently visited Slate River Ranch in Weatherford, Texas. Slate River is one of the most recognized cutting operations in our industry. Barn manager, Kellee Clarke, has been with Slate River for 9 years. She walked us through her routines that help keep everything organized and everyone on track. 

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Member Spotlight: Julie Clarke

January 14th, 2019 by Nevada Huffman


Julie Clarke

Julie Clarke is the owner of Clarke Butte Ranch of Bend, Oregon. She has always had a passion for horses, which is what she claims to be the foundation for her breeding success at Clarke Butte Ranch. 

Julie retired from a corporate career and found her fascination with the cutting discipline. She was trained by NCHA Hall of Fame Member Phil Hanson Jr. who was also the trainer to some of her most successful horses that stand at Clarke Butte Ranch. Little Silver Belles, with LTE of $200,431.68, was one of those, along with Pounce who has LTE of $217,585.59. 

Julie continues to show cutting horses in the non pro division and trains with Morgan Cromer and Eric Wisehart. 

 Why Julie likes CHTO: “CHTO is a great, quick resource to find training and showing tips from respected professionals in our industry who have similar but different points of views. It’s my go-to gift for fellow cutters!”

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.

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Member Spotlight – Justin Cox

December 18th, 2018 by Nevada Huffman

Justin Cox

Justin is a Utah native. Horses haven’t always been apart of his life.

A friendly neighbor got him “hooked on a cow.” For the last three years Cutting has been a part of Justin’s life.

This past year has been especially exciting for Justin. He was awarded the Rookie of the year award in Montana. He was also the end of the year $2,000 limited rider Champion in Utah.

He credits a horse that he bought at the beginning of this year named Rocky. He has gotten him to where he’s at in his career today.

Why Justin Uses CHTO: “I can always go home after a live lesson and research tips I was given. I don’t have to ask questions, I feel like I can always find the answers on here.”

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.

Keep on Reading!

Man On Fire – Clay Volmer

November 19th, 2018 by Nevada Huffman


Clay Volmer

After just four years of competing in the Snaffle Bit Futurity, Clay Volmer sent the crowd wild with his scorching fence run that saw him take out the 2018 Intermediate Championship at the Will Rogers, Fort Worth on SDP HY Rey Bound.

“I had told people for months, if I get into the finals, it’s going to look like my hair is going to be on fire because we are going to go fast,” he said.

“I knew it was good when I got done. It was one of those deals when you’re in the moment and you’re going as fast as you can possibly go and be as accurate as you can possibly be. It was fun and being in the Will Rogers where everybody was just screaming. After the first turn I couldn’t hear anything, it was so loud,” he said reliving the moment.

Keep on Reading!

Member Spotlight – Carlos Webster

November 19th, 2018 by Nevada Huffman

Carlos Webster

Carlos Webster has always owned a horse. He grew up in the Houston area where he regularly attended the Houston Live-stock Show and Rodeo. It was there that he found his love for cutting horses.

He was just given the opportunity to purchase his own cutting horse 5 years ago. He started training with Mark Mills and now with Alvin Turner. He credits them both for his advancement of skills in the show pen.

His most memorable show moment is when he marked a 70 in Belton, Texas riding Countin Checks Is My Thing. Carlos said, “There wasn’t any feeling like finally marking a 70. I was so excited.”

WHY CARLOS USES CHTO: “I like all the different trainers they offer. Each trainer has different techniques so it is nice to see all their different techniques and choose what works best for you.”

Want to enjoy more success in cutting? Get access to the best trainers and showmen/women in the business. It’s the best dollar you’ll ever spend in cutting! So if you’re not a member yet – Click HERE to get a free week and access our entire video library!!!

Get 7 Days Free!

You can cancel anytime. If you decide to continue with the membership past 7 days, your card will be charged on the 8th day for your convenience, you don’t need to take any action. To cancel, just email us at least two days before your bill date.

You Don’t Have To Be Born A Champion

November 19th, 2018 by Nevada Huffman

Simone & Blake & Lori Patillo

Cutting hasn’t always been a way of life for the Patillo family. In fact, they had never even owned a horse until a few years ago. Even that was a spur of the
moment decision that they had no idea would
completely change their lives.

While traveling through the “Cutting Horse Capital of the World” during a family holiday, Blake decided his Illinois-based family needed a horse.

Amazed at all the training facilities around Weatherford, Blake, his wife Lori and their four kids drove around the area, when an arena off FM 1885 that caught their eye. Not knowing who it belonged to or what they were looking for, they decided to drive in. “If we pull in here and tell them we want to buy a horse they’ll let us in,” he told his wife confidently at the time.

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Member Spotlight – Pam Crouch

October 22nd, 2018 by Simone Cobb
Pam Crouch

Pam Crouch

Pam Crouch grew up in East Texas, and always had a love for horses. Her family didn’t own any horses, but her aunt would always to take her to ride when time would permit.

In her adult years, she was finally able to have horses of her own. Around 1995 she fell in love with the cutting horse industry just by watching it. Pam credits her horse Dualin Dalton for her confidence in the show pen.

“He won a lot of money and allowed me to have great success in the show pen,” said Pam. She has spent the last 18 years as a member of the NCHA.

With a demanding job as an ER nurse, she hasn’t been able to haul to anything other than aged events until the last 6 years.

A few life changing events led her to the outskirts of the Cutting Capital of the World in 2012. Pam says she didn’t have any intentions of ending up there, but she loves it because of how convenient it is to make the shows. She plans to start hauling in the aged events in 2019 with a new horse now that she is able to focus more on her cutting career, with Ben Roberson as her trainer.

WHY PAM CROUCH USES CHTO: “In my downtime, if I can’t make it to a trainer’s house, CHTO makes it convenient for me to be able to learn from right here at home from top trainers. It never goes away. I am able to rewind it as many times as I need to and apply it to my runs.”

Want to enjoy more success in cutting? Get access to the best trainers and showmen/women in the business. It’s the best dollar you’ll ever spend in cutting! So if you’re not a member yet – Click HERE to get a free week and access our entire video library!!!

Get 7 Days Free!

You can cancel anytime. If you decide to continue with the membership past 7 days, your card will be charged on the 8th day for your convenience, you don’t need to take any action. To cancel, just email us at least two days before your bill date.


You Can’t Pick ‘Em – Winston Hansma

October 22nd, 2018 by Simone Cobb



Legendary Bar H trainers and brothers, Winston Hansma and Paul Hansma have always had a wicked sense of humor. In fact, we’re reported previously in our newsletter another prank Paul pulled on Duncan Steele-Park with pistachios. This time Paul and others had Winston in their sights. As Winston tells it below, even trainers sometimes can’t remember their cows!

“We were at Steamboat Springs, Colorado. We always had a lot of fun at those shows. It was first thing in the morning and somebody came up to me asked me if I’d settle their cattle for them. It wasn’t somebody I normally would have or didn’t even help, so I was a little surprised they asked me but you know they said who ever they got to usually settle the cows was having to work a horse at 8 o’clock so I said, “alright””, said Winston Hansma.
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Record Entries At Cotton Stakes Following New Leveling System

October 22nd, 2018 by Simone Cobb

The new class leveling system was a much-needed shot in the arm of the once-ailing Cotton Stakes. That was the overwhelming feedback to come out of the recent cutting show that saw entries up by nearly 150 percent.

The Cotton Stakes in West Monroe, Louisiana, produced by Robert Charles Brown, was the first show to trial the new class leveling system. Ora Diehl and Denise Seiz originally proposed the concept to the NCHA at the 2018 Convention.

Denise described the show as “a family reunion.” They both agreed that they felt like they were at a cutting in the 70’s because of the large turnout, and the positive atmosphere and the return of familiar faces. They said the excitement brought by the people who entered was indescribable.

Ora Diehl

Ora Diehl

Prior to the Cotton Stakes, there was concern the added levels would reduce the entries, and not pay enough. But the entries almost tripled (see the statistics below). The show producer’s income also almost trebled, and the two women said everyone felt like they had a level playing field when walking into the show arena.

Denise said this was the Cotton Stake’s last hope because of the money lost in prior years hosting the show. Robert Charles decided to take a chance on their idea. Because of the increase in entries, he was able to make back all the money lost in previous years, as well as make a profit during this year’s show.

Ora said that Robert will now implement the new classes going forward and that he didn’t have one negative thing to say about it. He also told her that other show producers had been in contact with him as they are now interested in trialing the concept.

Denise Seiz

Denise Seiz

Both ladies said everyone seemed pleased and happy with the outcome except for some of the open riders. While not completely against the idea because they agree that change is needed, many trainers were concerned about payouts being reduced.

Trainer Jonathan Rogers said, “It didn’t pay well and it was very tough to make the finals. You have to have a good horse no matter what. For example, the same horse won the Intermediate and the Open which shows that it has a lot to do with the horse rather than the rider.”

He said the new system seemed to work great for the amateur and non pro classes, but that the open was a different ball game. He suggested creating levels based on the horse’s earnings and not the riders as a better alternative for the Open class.

Photo of Jonathan Rogers, Cutting Horse Trainer

Jonathan Rogers

“We need a change or there isn’t going to be an NCHA in the next 5 years. This just isn’t the change we need. When I was a loper in this industry cutting was fun and everyone encouraged each other. Now it isn’t like that, now it is all about the money and it isn’t exciting until Futurity time because [it is the one show] no one knows what they’re going to see,” said Jonathan.

On a post-show survey and Denise stated, “I had 86 who all had positive feed-back and a yes vote on the system, and 1 maybe. I didn’t have anyone tell me no on this new system, which made us feel pretty optimistic and speaks for itself.”

Denise and Ora said the only difficulty they encountered with the new levels was entering it into the software. While it wasn’t impossible, they said it did take a few extra steps. They both agreed the software can be re-tuned if more show producers and the NCHA decide to go forward with this format.

Non pro rider James Hooper admitted that he was going into the Cotton Stakes thinking that the new leveling system was too much of a drastic transition. Once he got to the show however, he was blown away by the optimistic atmosphere. He said there were several people that made the finals that he had never seen before.

James Hooper on CR Heart Attac

The Senior Division Champion in the Intermediate Derby Amateur, James Hooper on Cr Heart Attac at Cotton Stakes

“The NCHA is in trouble if we don’t do something. A level playing field like this will encourage people to get involved and stay involved. Trainers are running people off because they dominate the finals,” James said.

He agreed that this may dilute the purse, or make the open not pay as much, but that the organization needed to do what benefited the most people.

While there was some difference of opinion in the way the new system was implemented, the need for change was unanimous.

“We’ve lost so many people and the change in atmosphere at West Monroe proved that change is what we need,” said Jonathan.


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