Wes (19) with Buster in the chuck wagon tent while they were branding cows at Buster’s ranch 20 years ago.
From bits and saddles, to working a cutting horse in a round pen, to helping start the NCHA and hosting the first futurity, Buster Welch made cutting what it is today.
“Anybody that has [ridden] a cutting horse has been influenced by him whether they know it or not,” $9.1 million earner Austin Shepard said of his good friend Welch, who passed away June 12th, 2022 at his Abilene home at 94 years old.
Jesse Lennox and Spots Hottist at the Summer Spectacular in 2021
At age 10 he was cleaning stalls, by 14 he was breaking in ponies and a few years later he turned a date into his first job training cutting horses. You could say Jesse Lennox creates his own luck. Where others see a difficult path, Lennox sees opportunity. Despite coming from a non-horse background, Lennox discovered early on that horses were his passion. Little did he know he would go onto work for two billionaires and be at the top of the cutting horse game. Keep On Reading!
Best buddies – Lance and Cade as youths killing time at a horse show.
After slingin’ dirt and cashing checks in the cutting horse youth and non-pro classes, childhood friends and successful showmen, Lance Cooper and Cade Shepard are now beating the pros at their own game!
They both handed in their non-pro cards one day apart after their wins in the Summer Spectacular Derby last year. Shepard had won almost a million dollars and Cooper was approaching a half a million when they became open riders.Keep On Reading!
A lifetime of hard work, passion and perseverance culminated at the NCHA Futurity Final for John Mitchell. He and Janie Wood rode into the history books scoring a 230 to take out the 2021 Open Championship.
Making the win even sweeter, Janie Wood, daughter of the accomplished Junie Wood was home bred by Glade Knight’s Slate River Ranch. It was a fitting tribute to the late mare.
Cara Brewer on Tagging collected the Reserve Champion title with a 227.5. She was followed by Austin Shepard aboard Wood She B Magic tying for third place with Adan Banuelos and Hottish Metal who marked 224.
Austin Shepard grew up around cutting horses and learned the tricks of the trade from his late father, trainer Sam Shepard. He knew very early that cutting was what he wanted to pursue. His parents split up when Shepard was young so he and his mother moved into the city. He was very involved in sports and in the summer he would go ride horses with his dad. He wasn’t around the horses all the time so, he said, that only increased his interest in riding.
Sam Shepard loved learning. It’s perhaps the reason he came to cutting later in life as a cutting horse trainer and was able to enjoy almost $2.5 million worth of success in the show pen. But it wasn’t just his training prowess that made him a name in cutting, it was his decency and love of people that really established his reputation.
Shepard was diagnosed with a rare condition called Amyloidosis. He passed away September 15th this year at his home in Verbena, Alabama at the age of 74.
His son, Austin Shepard, described his dad as a very well rounded person. He was well read, passionate about education, and a talented horse trainer. Shepard traveled the world because of cutting horses and was always interested in people from all walks of life. Austin said his father lived a full life.
Garth Bullis began his horse career in the English world and soon moved into the western disciplines. He tried reining, and roping but still hadn’t found his niche. He came across cutting in a video and thought it was the coolest thing he had seen. After finding a retired cutting horse trainer who helped him learn, he became hooked.
He purchased a mare in 2014, got her started and showed her. She taught Bullis a lot. The pair ended up winning the Minnesota Non Pro Breeder’s Futurity and all three go rounds before that. He really felt like cutting was what he should be doing and after his dad passed away, he decided to really go for it.
Ty 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.
To win in the sport of Cutting, you need to have a trained cow horse! Six-million dollar winner Austin Shepard is the man to teach you how to do this. Buy his DVD to learn how to teach your horse to work a cow. Click here to purchase your own DVD Now!
The 2017 NCHA Futurity Final was remarkable in more ways than one. Austin Shepard won his second Futurity buckle just one week after being crowned World Champion and Dual Reyish’s owner, Billy Wolf only met both horse and trainer the night before the final.
But on top of that – Hottish, the sire of Dual Reyish, now has proven progeny from his first crop, with a Futurity winner and fifth placed finalist Just Gettin Started, ridden by Jody Galyean.
Billy’s agent, Jim Ware was there – and as always with his finger on the pulse, emphasized what a remarkable result for Hottish. Dustin Adams, the owner of Hottish told CHTO’s Simone Cobb, he excited about Hottish’s future.
What a great story! The owner of Dual Reyish, the new 2017 NCHA Futurity Champion, only laid eyes on the horse the night before he won! It was also the first time Billy Wolf met Dual Reyish’s trainer, Austin Shepard.
Billy, from Whitesboro, TX told CHTO’s Simone Cobb, he purchased the horse in May of this year on the faithful advice of his good friend and agent Don Ham.
Dual Reyish is from the first crop of Hottish foals. He’s out of Little Reylena. Austin Shepard and Dual Reyish won more than $192,000 for the win.
In the cutting world, 2017 will go down as the year of Austin Shepard.
The newly crowned Open World Champion made history when just a week later, he took out the sport’s Holy Grail, the NCHA Futurity Championship.
Austin rode Dual Reyish, from the first crop of Hottish foals, to score an unmatchable 228.
He told CHTO’s Simone Cobb he had a good feeling about his chances of winning on one of the best horses he’s ever ridden.
Dual Reyish is owned by Billy Wolf, who had only seen the horse and met Austin for the first time the night before his historic win!
Austin took home more than $192,000 in earnings for first place.
Reserve Champion went to Lee Francois who rode The Animal and marked 225.5. He won $169,000.
What hasn’t this man accomplished? There’s few titles, if any, that Austin Shepard hasn’t won. He’s now started winning them twice! Austin claimed the 2017 NCHA World Championship aboard Deluxe Checks, his second such title and set a record for the most money won in World Finals history, some $146,977.
While Austin came into the finals with a $15,000 lead, Tatum Rice could have snuck past him, after the pair spent much of the year dueling it out. But Austin quickly wrapped up the Finals scoring 233 in two go-rounds.
He told CHTO’s Simone Cobb he owes much of his success to his team, with special mention to his two year old trainer Seth Holcombe.
Austin Shepard was a man with a purpose when he came out last in the final to lay down the most exciting run of the Open Derby at the 2017 Summer Spectacular.
Austin had the crowd on the edge of their seats as he and Sir Long Legs shut down one cow after another to mark a 229! Reserve Champion, Matt Miller had been holding the lead at 224 on Metallic Smart Cat until Austin crossed the timeline.
He told CHTO’s Simone Cobb his first Derby Championship in the Will Rogers felt very special.