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Interviews

Member Spotlight: Dustin Grams – Rolly View, AL, Canada

January 13th, 2020 by Sophia Skeith

Dustin, Shannon & Brooklynn Grams

Dustin Grams has experience showing and training in the cutting and reined cow horse disciplines. For the past 3-4 years, he has focused on the cow horse side of the business after a local cow horse club got started and created a lot of interest in the sport.

Grams has been training horses for 34 years. In his 20s, he started 2 year olds and got his first introduction to cutting and cow horses. A lot of horses he started ended up at the Bar H, where Winston and Paul Hansma trained out of.

Grams began showing in the cutting pen about 10 years ago. He and his family have shown throughout Canada and the United States. Grams is proud to say his wife, Shannon, qualified for the NRCHA World Show the past few years.

The last few years Grams has had to slow down training horses due to some heart issues but is now back at it. When Grams was sick, Shannon was able to ride the aged event horses and keep them going. Dustin said he is so thankful for her stepping up and carrying on.

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Trainer’s Corner – RL Chartier – Weatherford, TX

January 10th, 2020 by Sophia Skeith

Lifetime Earnings: $2,342,759

Top Three Horses Trained:
• Crafty With Cows
• A Little Bossy
• Sueper Kitty

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High Brow Cat – The Legacy Lives On

December 11th, 2019 by Sophia Skeith

Successful, good looking and with a spunky attitude to match, High Brow Cat was a rock star in the cutting horse industry. For more than two decades, the stud has had a massive influence over the sport by dominating bloodlines with his successful progeny.

High Brow Cat’s (HBC) offspring have earned a staggering $82 million in the show pen and that number continues to climb. As a paternal grandsire, his record is even higher, his sons have fathered the winners of $126 million and his daughters have produced more than $35.9 million.

Some of his greatest offspring include 2011 Horse Of The Year and highest money earner of more than $850,628, Dont Look Twice, and the incredible stallion, Metallic Cat, who won $637,711 and like his father, is also a proven producer.

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Trainer’s Corner – Tatum Rice

December 11th, 2019 by Sophia Skeith

TOTAL EARNINGS: $2,327,291

How did you get into cutting? “I’ve been in cutting forever. My entire life my dad [Boyd Rice] trained cutting horses and his dad [Sonny Rice] did also. My dad’s mom’s dad was the first one that got into cutting.”

Who did you work for? “I was with my dad until I was 17 and then I worked with [cousin] Tag Rice and Ronnie Rice for a long time after that. I was with Tag from 2004- 2009. I left Tag’s in 2009 and went to work at Carl Smith’s place in 2010 and 2011. When I married Kylie, we built our place and started here in May of 2012”

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Member Spotlight – Cody Patterson – Blanco, Texas

December 11th, 2019 by Sophia Skeith
Cody Patterson

Cody Patterson Photo By: Emily Sgarrella

Cody Patterson started off with humble beginnings in the horse business cleaning stalls for Phil Hanson Sr, from California (Futurity Champion Phil Hanson in Texas is his son). At the time, Hanson trained cutters but he also trained cow horses and made the Snaffle Bit Futurity finals a few times. Patterson always gravitated to the cow horse side of the performance horse world, appreciating the versatility of the sport.

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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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