Total Earnings: $1,546,036
When Allen Crouch was seven years old he happened to move across the street from a huge cutting operation in Kentucky owned by non-pro rider, Ronnie Titsworth. He loved hanging out at the barn where Titsworth would give him jobs to do around the ranch. That soon blossomed into a great friendship. Titsworth would take Crouch to cuttings and let Crouch show his horses.
Crouch recalls that Titsworth said, “You need to learn how to take a pretty good horse and win money.” Crouch was a kid when he heard that but understood, later in life, how true Titsworth’s words rang. Crouch continued to learn from many trainers including JB McLamb and Paul and Winston Hansma.
At 26 years old, Crouch bought his first training facility in Noxapater, Mississippi and went out on his own. He actually just sold that place a year ago. He moved nearby when he downsized his training operation. Crouch rode horses for the late Lee Garner for 30 years.
He said the key to keeping a trainer-client relationship for that long is, “It comes down to honesty, trust and respect. And you just have to be willing to let things go and move forward. If you don’t it will tear it completely apart…”
What is your most memorable moment in the sport?
“Lee Garner had a mare named Harriott Playgirl and I showed her for Mr. Garner and in 2001 and 2002 I won the Houston World Finals back to back years and she was World Champion Mare two years back to back.”
What is your training philosophy?
“You have to be willing to put in the work…16-17 hours a day… The horses will eventually come. Having really good horses is hard to beat. But you have to gain the trust of the public. Once you get that done and word gets out there, that that man will do exactly as he says, you’re on your way. A really good horse is not hard to train, there’s just so few of them.”
“Once you figure out [the steps] about training a horse, you just have to remember to keep it in steps. You have to realize that this horse has got step one, we can go to step two. But if that horse doesn’t have step one and you go to step four, in the end you’re going to have a lot of holes in the boat and it normally won’t ever work. It’s just a process of steps and when you know in your mind and you’ve done it for so long it just becomes second nature to you.”
Do you have preferences when you’re picking cows?
“Most of the time you always cut a cow that’s really comfortable. Maybe even chewing its cud but not gentle to the point that you can just walk up on top of it. A cow that’s really quick eared but doesn’t really go anywhere, most of the time those cattle have a lot of feel to them. It’s just something you have to learn…A lot of it depends on how good of a horse you’re showing. If you have a really good horse, you can take a few more chances than if you have a pretty good horse.”
What inspires you? What is your why?
“I’ve been a self driven person my whole entire life but when you compete for a living you have to be around people that are better than you and you take bits and pieces of what they do and try to fit it into what you do…If you want to be the best and compete with the best it is hard to do. You have to be able to get up every morning and go to work and stay all day and say, ‘you know what, I’m going to get better and these are things I’m going to accomplish’.”
How do you define feel?
“When you show that horse what you want it to do, the first thing that horse has to do is process what you’re showing it. And then as soon as you get your feedback, as a trainer, from that horse you know exactly the next step to take to put that [cue] on [the horse] and keep that on there…There is a true art to putting feel on a horse and most of the time less is better.”
Do you have any other interests outside of horses?
“I have a pretty good cow herd. I enjoy taking care of my cows. And I still enjoy [bass] fishing…”
Crouch’s reflections over his time in the sport:
“The biggest thing that’s changed in cutting, to me, there are so many trainers that are more open to share their ideas with you than there’s ever been. Years ago it wasn’t that way. You had to watch and say I think this is what they’re doing. These days there are so many good trainers that are willing to extend a hand to the younger guys to get them there and they want [the younger guys] to be successful. The only thing the younger guys don’t get out of it is, can you take what [another trainer does] and fit it into your program and be successful?”