Age: 36
From: Cayley Alberta, Canada
Phone: (403) 901-5981

Dustin Gonnet


Money Won

$1,672,203

Titles/Finals

  • 2015 Western Bloodstock NCHA Open Slot Cutting Champion
  • 2015 NCHA Western Nationals $15,000 Novice Champion
  • 2105 NCHA Western Nationals Open Reserve Champ on This Cats Got Style
  • 2014 Mercuria Calgary Stampede Open Reserve Champ on This Cats Got Style
  • 2012 Canadian Supreme Futurity Champion on This Cats Got Style
  • 2011 Western National Open champion on CD Graceful Dual

Top Three Horses Trained

  • This Cats Got Style
  • This Cats Max
  • Christinas Blue

How I got started: I took a job breaking colts for a cutter, Doug Reinhardt. That gave me the cutting bug and I never went back to cowboying!

Gonnet was a true student of the sport, spending many hours watching other trainers in the practice pen at shows and applying what he thought would work for him and building on that.

Biggest mistake I’ve made in cutting: We were at a really big cutting and I was in the finals. I didn’t listen to my gut and I cut three different cows than I originally planned on. I did not win the cutting and another guy cut the three cows that I originally wanted and he won the cutting.

Biggest myth about cutting: I get a lot of people tell me that riding a cutting horse is not tough, that all you do is bounce around in front of the cow. You are not going to be able to just get on a horse and go win. A lot of people don’t recognize the hard work and discipline it takes to be successful.

Favorite quote: “Horse trainers know how to do something but a horseman knows why you do something.” – Bill Riddle

Most memorable moment in cutting: Winning the 2015 Open Slot Cutting at Fort Worth, and it put me over the million dollar mark!

What is your training philosophy?

“Horsemanship comes first. I understand we do have to put the pressure on them to have them perform and be ready to perform. At the end of the day I still want to be a horseman and not a horse trainer. Bill Riddle said it best, ‘a horse trainer knows how to do something, but a horseman knows why you do something.’ I spent a fair bit of time around Brian Nuebert and his kids Kate, Luke and Brian Nuebert, so again the horsemanship side of it has always been more important than the win. You do have to push these horses, but it’s understanding how to do it… and still having a solid-minded animal when you’re done.”

Do you have any preferences when you’re picking cattle?

“…I try to understand the area I’m cutting in, so if I’m in Vegas cutting Mexican cattle I want to listen to the guys that are more used to cutting those types of cattle and understand what they’re looking for. It’s no different when those guys come up into my country and cutting the cows I’m used to cutting, they look towards me to understand what kind of cow is best to cut in this country. I wouldn’t say I cut a particular cow all the time, other than I try to make sure I become knowledgeable about the cows in that area.”

What is the difference between the cows in Canada and the cows in the States?

“The cows up here [in Canada] will be a little bit heavier, maybe a little bit pushier on an average. So our cattle don’t give us as much room to work as they do down south, but I do see that changing down south. We have a lot more British influence in our cattle up here and as I see the British influence happening down south, I see their cattle become more similar to ours. Just a little bit heavier, a little bit pushier and not as much feel. It just boils down to when you’re trying to raise cattle to gain weight you forfeit a little bit of the feel.”

How would you describe feel?

“When you’re doing something to a horse or cow and you notice a change in that animal’s mind, as far as getting the response you’re looking for, and you release that pressure, whether it’s a horse or cow, and you see the change in that animal, that’s feel.”

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