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Trainer’s Corner – Gavin Jordan

September 11th, 2019 by Sophia Skeith

Gavin Jordan

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.”

You just recently moved from California to Texas, how has that been? “I love it. It’s great down here. I really like it. Especially at the fuel pump!”

What differences have you noticed in the sport from Texas and California? “Well, the cutting is the same. It’s competi- tive. There’s just a lot more of them here. I mean if you don’t like one on Friday you can go to one an hour in the other direction on Saturday. There’s a lot of horses and a lot of cuttings to pick from.”

What is your most memorable moment in cutting? “You know I catch rode a horse at the Fu- turity for Todd Bimat in 2002. I was actually supposed to show one for somebody else and his [Todd’s] wife, Erin, had had a car accident. He called me up and was in a panic and needed somebody to show his horse for him and thought that I would be the best match for it. And so I showed it. I ended up making the finals on it. So that was just one of those things that was meant to happen. That was pretty big to make Futurity finals on a catch ride.”

What is your training philosophy? “You’ve got to have a good foundation. You know, it’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon and if you can just take your time with them and let them build at their own rate, they’ll tell you what they can handle and what they can’t… I found the more you push them the slower your results get, if you just let them build, and let that confidence build, they’ll show you a lot and it’ll stay with them for a long time.”

What advice would you give to up and coming trainers? “Show as much as you can. Whenever anybody will let you show their horse, walk to the herd on it. You can’t beat competition reps. The more you walk down there, the easier it becomes for you. It’s never easy, but you’ll be more comfortable and you progress quicker than you will training a horse.”

How do you prepare yourself for a big show? What goes through your head? “Well, leading up to the show, I like to go show. I like to get the feel and you know being able to show through some situations that aren’t perfect but you don’t take your- self out of the cutting, [you learn] how to get through those [tough] spots. And as far as just right before the run, I mean, you just got to know your cows. All the hard work should be done by then and you know, it’s in the hands of the cutting gods at that stage, you know your cows and cut your cows as clean as you can.”

Is there anything that you tell clients Tom and Hilary Watson before they go into the show pen? “At that stage, it’s about having fun. Non-pros livelihood doesn’t depend on it, so they need to just go have fun. It’s way too expensive not to. The more fun you have, the more success you have. When you stop worrying about the little things involving cutting…it becomes too much of a burden. Have fun, think about all the hard work you have done at home, and it usually takes care of itself. Just like with any other sport, if you do the hard work at home, the results will come at the show.”

Tom is a professional golfer, has he taught you anything about maintaining a competitive edge? “He’s really probably one of the top five golfers in history. But yeah, you know it’s about attitude. And you know, same kind of stuff, he’ll give me hints on [how to have a] winning attitude and as we get older, how to stay focused and stay professional and stay positive and aggressive. He’s really good at that kind of stuff.”

“If you’re around successful people, I think it helps, it rubs off. All through my career, I’ve tried to surround myself with good people from my assistant trainers onwards, and a lot of them have gone on and become successful horse trainers, world champions or whatever and I think you have to surround yourself with special people. Otherwise, it becomes way too hard.”

You have had quite a few up and coming trainers come through your program. Is there anything specific that you noticed about them that helps them get to the top of their game? “They all worked hard. They were part of my success, which in turn becomes part of their success. It was always a team. They all wanted to do good for each other, and when they showed I wanted them to do good and when I showed, they wanted me to do good. It’s all work ethic basically. If you work at anything you’ll be successful to some degree or another.”

Click Here for Gavin’s Video! 


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