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.
In the cutting industry, female trainers are rare. While Cromer has defied the odds, she said she was never treated any differently. “This is big. I have always looked up to Kathy and Lindy growing up. Everyone always asks me, ‘What’s it like to be a girl in this industry?’ And the truth is, I really don’t even think about it. It’s no different than being one of the guys. In fact, I think they have treated me better than some of the younger guys coming up,” Cromer said.
This mentality of never feeling out numbered or outweighed, has allowed her to shine and show that women can be a dominant force in cutting. Earning millions of dollars in a difficult sport however, takes a tremendous amount of time and travel on the road. Cromer said this can be a difficult task for women when “moms” and “wives” are still needed at home to run a family. She believes this is one of the reasons why so few women pursue the sport professionally.
“Lifestyle plays a big part in this sport. I imagine it would be very hard to go down the road if you had a family to raise. There are some women out there doing that, and doing an incredible job. For instance, Cara Brewer is very successful and raising a family too. But again, this isn’t an easy task. I think that it would be a very difficult to travel as much as I do if I had a family at home,” Cromer explained.
With her success, Cromer has become a role model for up and coming trainers. She has shown girls, that in a male-dominated sport, women too can rise to the top. “I hope young girls can look up to me. I try to make good positive decisions so girls can realize they can do whatever they want and make their own way. If you work hard enough, you will gain respect from everyone, “Cromer said.
That same work ethic was instilled in Cromer from a young age. As a little girl, Cromer began her career riding Hunter Jumpers like her Mom. Yet, at only 11 years old, she was lucky enough to try a cutting horse. From that moment on, she was hooked. She began working for Russ Westfall in the summers through high school, and immediately went to work for him after graduation.
“I have not been around anyone that works as hard as Russ Westfall. He taught me that you can make anything cut and get a horse tied to a cow. That was the best thing he could [have] instilled in me as a young trainer,” Cromer exclaimed.
“But it still remains difficult when you have that horse that maybe doesn’t have the best athletic ability or breeding behind them. That’s when getting that horse tied to the cow comes in. You have to allow the horse to work the cow. I, personally, know all the hard work I’ve put into a horse. It doesn’t always come down to the horse listening to everything I say to do though. It comes down to making sure your horse can stay hooked to the cow.”
Cromer attributes her success not only to Westfall, but to her team. After 6 ½ years with Westfall, she decided to go out on her own. However, on her own consisted of a “village” of people including her mom, dad, best friend Kate Neubert, and Jake Pinheiro (who still works for her), plus many more who, she said, have been key to her success.
Cromer said, “We are a family, it has been all of us from the beginning. It’s definitely not just me.”
Cromer has had major career highlights, one of them being winning the 2016 Super Stakes Classic on “Maid of Metal”. “This horse was really special because I had her as a yearling and she got to go through a whole program with me. From a young 2-year-old to then on to winning in one of the major events in Fort Worth,” said Cromer.
For Cromer, winning the buckles and the money has been a great feeling, but she has enjoyed another side to her career. This is the joy of seeing her clients succeed. Running a thriving business while seeing her non pros and amateurs happy and excited about the sport, makes it all even more worth while.
She has been asked several times, “Why she hadn’t moved out to Texas yet?” Cromer said she can see the appeal career wise of being in the hub of cutting, but feels a great appreciation towards her family, her clients and the lifestyle.
“It has been a big thing on the Pacific Coast that we still have fun. It is just a family out here. It seems more relaxing. It is definitely more client based, focusing on amateurs and non-pros. I have really learned a lot, and how important it is to take care of my people. I want to get more people involved in the sport. I wouldn’t trade my clients for the world. They make it all worth it,” Cromer said with a smile.
Appreciation is how Cromer describes every aspect of her business. She has a deep love and respect for her team. It has always been important for her to build people up and to get them involved. She feels that no one is really the “boss”. She said, “micromanaging” doesn’t work, preferring collaboration.
“I couldn’t do what I do without my team. They are the reason why this works, and I have been lucky enough to have them with me for a long time,” Cromer said.
This humble attitude has helped grow her thriving business. She has never been afraid to step out and ask for help, whether it is learning to train a solid cutting horse, or setting financial goals, buying her own ranch, and the ins and outs of running a successful business.
Cromer hopes that she can also be of help to anyone that may need her advice.
“My biggest goal is to really be able to keep people in this business. The key is to buy good horses for people and train good horses for them. Once you can get someone on that horse and have them enjoy the process, they can really have a love for the sport. Not just non-pros & amateur though, I want to be able to help up and coming young trainers in any way I can,” she added.
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