Total Earnings: $1,004,761
With two generations of cutters behind him, you could say cutting is in Cullen Chartier’s blood. Before committing to be a trainer, Chartier’s main focus was other sports. At one point, he pursued a sports broadcasting career, but made the switch after watching his brother, RL Chartier make the Futurity finals.
Cullen showed in the youth and worked for his dad, Randy Chartier for two years. He then went to work for RL at Wrigley Ranches. After two years, RL told him it was time to go work for someone else, so Chartier headed off to Paul Hansma. He spent four years with Hansma, before starting his own business training out of Paul’s place.
What is your training philosophy?
“… I try to train the horse to the best of its ability and not try to make it a mechanical horse. But I try to do a little bit of both where it has the structure and mechanics, but still works a cow to the best of its ability… I try not to get too mechanical in my training to where it takes away from that cow.”
What is the best advice you could give a non-pro or amateur?
“Be patient in the learning process. It’s a fun sport… but it takes time to learn and get good at. Know that there’s going to be a lot of ups and downs. You’re not going to go in and mark 73, 74, 75s every time. There are going to be spurts where you are marking 60s for 5 runs in a row. You have to have thick skin and be patient.”
Do you have any superstitions when it comes to picking cows?
“I don’t. I love cutting gray cows. If I can cut a colored cow, I am going to cut a colored cow. I hate black cows. I’ll cut them if I have to… but I feel like you would find that answer in a lot of guys. A lot of the colored cows have a lot of self movement. They are higher risk, but the risk for the reward is a lot better than if you cut a slow, stupid, black cow.”
What is the most important quality you must have in a horse?
“… It has to have integrity on a cow…Some guys are so good they can manipulate a horse with no cow and make it look good. I can’t do that, it doesn’t fit me. Even if that horse is limited in its ability and it has cow, I can work with that. I have won more money on horses like that…”
What is your best attribute as a trainer?
“Short memory. After a run or a bad day of working, I’m pretty good at letting things go and not carrying it over into the next day or next run…. A lot of this sport has to do with confidence, and if you lose confidence, it is really hard to pick yourself back up.”
What is your biggest struggle as a trainer?
“Staying at the high level. And knowing when to back off on a horse, when to keep going with them. It’s hard to find that happy medium…I think it comes with time. Coming up as a young guy that was hard to find.”
What inspires you to get up every day and work hard?
“Competition, it drives me. I’m friends with all of these guys, but I want to do good and be the best. I’ve always been that smaller, shorter guy but I’ve succeeded in other sports because I outworked everybody and tried my hardest.”
What have you learned or adjusted in your program in the last year?
“In the last couple years, it’s been horse care. My girlfriend, McCall and I have been together for the last three years and she has taken over my program as far as horse care. She goes very in-depth with keeping them healthy, sound and looking good. It’s taken my program to another level… She does such a great job…A healthy, good looking, fit horse will have more of a chance to perform at a high level, that’s not the main thing, but it’s one of those few things we can control.”
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