Milestones are meant to be celebrated! NCHA Australia recently celebrated 50 years of cutting at the 2022 NCHA 4Cyte Futurity! On June 10th the Association held a fantastic evening showcasing memorabilia, launching a book called A Good Hand by Gail Ritchie and 11 of Australia’s cutting legends walked to the herd in an event that was more packed than the Futurity finals. Keep On Reading!
Total Earnings: $2,133,396
Monty Buntin grew up on a small ranch in Arizona and was always into horses. A neighbor three miles away had a ranch and Buntin soaked up as much barn time there as he could. Buntin was introduced to Yancy James and Lance Harrel, Leon Harrel’s son. They introduced him to cutting.
He spent some time with Salvador Cabral and at 18 he went on to work for Tim Smith. Buntin later got a job working for Smith’s clients in Lockeford, CA.
Total Earnings: $8,720,908
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.
Total Earnings: $6,000,000
Tim Smith has amassed over six million dollars in lifetime earnings. Smith attended college for a year on a basketball scholarship in Minnesota. After getting injured, he joined his brother Mike, who was a cutting horse trainer in California. Smith quickly developed a passion for cutting.
Other than his brother, the only other person Smith worked for was Bill Martin, a cutting horse trainer in Southern California.
Total Earnings: $4,030,194
In Ojai, California in the early 60s on a family Sunday drive, 13-year-old Lindy Burch came across a cutting show. She decided then and there that she had to be part of it. A few weeks later, in another moment of serendipity, a cutting horse trainer moved in down the road and Burch immediately wanted to learn from him. She offered to pay the trainer, Bruce Cahill, to teach her cutting. They worked out a deal where she would help around the ranch cleaning stalls and saddling horses in exchange for coaching.
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
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.”
Eight-million-dollar trainer Matt Gaines is a big believer in coaching. It’s why he and other leading trainers go to each other’s ranches to work horses: to learn from each other and pick up on things they may not be seeing or feeling themselves.
In fact, our featured trainers make use of CHTO videos to keep abreast of what other trainers are doing, so they are not left behind and to help stay competitive. It’s also why he likes to give clinics. Simply put, coaching produces success!
It’s why all professional sports have coaches as Gaines has repeatedly pointed out, cutting is no different.
“I can look back over my career and there has been numerous times when I have felt out of sync or my own program doesn’t feel right. I will call people who I know share the same theory of cutting and same basis of the program,” Matt explained.He tells how his experience with contacting other trainers, such as Paul Hansma or John Mitchell, in times of need has helped him realize the small training habits that may need to be tweaked. In Gaines opinion, that one adjustment can be the catalyst for lots of improvements to come.
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You could say renowned trainer Bill Riddle did a thorough job cleaning up during the awards ceremony at the 2015 National Cutting Horse Association Convention.
But he didn’t have a broom and trash bags in his hands, he had a microphone!
A long-time ambassador for the sport, Bill was the emcee for the Banquet night that saw 23 people and 3 horses inducted into the NCHA Hall Of Fame.
Cleaning up? You ask?…. They were Bill’s own words about the theme behind this year’s inductees. He told the audience of more than 400 people that the NCHA really wanted to make sure they had no glaring gaps in their Hall Of Fame of people who had been inadvertently passed over and those who had given their time, energy and ideas to cutting, the association and helping others.
It was the mighty efforts of three men, Sam Shepard from Verbena, Al, James Hooper, Decatur, Al, and Chubby Turner, Weatherford, Tx, that were recognized with the Association’s highest honors, the Members Hall of Fame.
Others were inducted for their competition achievements, but even some of those had been overlooked in decades past, like Milt Bennett, Jim Calhoun, Greg Ward and Jim Gideon to name four open riders who have since passed away.
Bill told a story or had personal connection on almost every cutter inducted and spoke warmly and openly about his friendships with the three Member honorees: Sam, James and Chubby.
Cutting Horse Training Online caught up with Bill on the last day of the convention, who told us what a joy it was for him to honor all those people. Press play to watch.
Bill Riddle has been showing, training and teaching cutting for more than 30 years. He has amassed lifetime earnings in excess of $4-million and given clinics around the world.
If you are interested in learning more about cutting, showing, training and riding, click on the button below to get a free video on show tips from five futurity winners!
Did you attend the awards ceremony? What did you learn about those inducted that you never knew before? If not do you know anyone back in the day you think should be named in the Hall of Fame also? Let us know what you think by posting your comments below….
It was a proud night for James Hooper, who was inducted into the NCHA Members Hall of Fame during the 2015 NCHA convention at Grapevine, TX.
James, 70, was given cutting’s highest honor in front of more than 400 people, including many of his family and friends for his contribution to the sport.
Bill Riddle gave him a rousing introduction, before the crowd got to watch a video about James and his achievements in cutting, not just as a competitor but as a past president and ultimately an ambassador for the industry.
James, who is based in Alabama was the NCHA President from 1994-95 as well an executive board member for 6 years.
During his acceptance speech, James talked about the importance of being willing to make difficult and even unpopular decisions for the betterment of the industry as a whole.
He said when he was President, he put the Association first every time. James helped rewrite the NCHA constitution to create equal representation across the 8 regions. He brought about changes to competition classes to help stop people leaving the sport and invited input from grass roots members, which evolved into the annual NCHA convention.
CuttingHorseTrainingOnline.com spoke with James on the last day of the convention. Press play to watch below.
James has been a successful cutting horse competitor who was also been inducted into the NCHA Non-Pro Hall of Fame, with lifetime earnings of more than $850,000.
To watch more and get a free video on show tips from five futurity winners, click on the button below.