Trainer’s Corner – Kobie Wood – Stephenville, TX

February 7th, 2022 by Sophia Skeith

Total Earnings: $5,465,497

Kobie Wood grew up in Illinois and his dad had always wanted to get into cutting. In 1957, his father bought a place for horses and cattle. Wood started learning how to cut. He rode his first cutter at five years old.

In 1964, he spent some time around Buster Welch; Wood and his dad would help Buster with branding in exchange for lessons. He worked for trainer Sunny Rice in 1980 for four months who was the only trainer Wood ever worked for. He went to college for a year and a half but decided he’d rather go to work. Wood then went into the drywall business.

With horses still in the back of his mind, he sold his business and moved to Texas to pursue a training career. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get the job he wanted so he picked up his tools again. In 1981, he helped Jim Holmes buy a horse and was able to show it. The pair had a great year. He got his biggest start when his dad sent him horses to train. Wood kept half of the winnings in lieu of being paid.

Wood said his most memorable moment was winning the 2018 Super Stakes riding Cool N Hot to a 227. The duo also claimed Horse of the Year in 2018.

When Wood is not training cutting horses he enjoys roping. He has even been to the US Team Roping Championship Finals at least three times. The biggest check he won roping was $36,000.

What is your training philosophy?

“I try to make a cow horse. I like the balance. A cutting horse is supposed to mirror everything. I want my horses to have that much cow to read. When they read a cow, they capture that movement. When they capture that movement, I think that’s what judges want to see.”

Do you have preferences when you’re picking cattle?

“That’s one of the hardest jobs of the whole thing. You have to size up a cutting you can’t just go down there. You have to pick cows that want to be cut that still have enough move and enough look…You have to figure out what kind of cow you’ve got and then you can use the cow to match your horse’s abilities… I have put [cow color preferences] in the past. I pick a cow for the situation that I’m in.”

What inspires you?

“When you get a young horse that has a lot of talent and one day you work it and it’s ok and then the next day it’s a little better and then all of the sudden you concentrate on him and let him have some time off. All of a sudden he’s an athlete, he’s a thinker, he lets you ride him. That’s what inspires me.”

What was one thing that Buster said that stood out to you?

“You can cut a good cow good or a bad cow bad but if you cut bad cow good you can stay in the cutting.”

What are you known for as a trainer?

“I think my cattle-picking abilities. I cut a cow longer than most people. Over the years, I watch people cut one for five to six jumps. They don’t have a lot of working time. I never could get marked that way. So I would say if this first cow is good I want to stay on him as long as I can. I would cut the first cow for 30-40 seconds, the second cow for 30-40 seconds. I figured I could get a bigger check.”

What are your goals?

“My goal is to keep trying to make the Futurity Finals and then these colts that I have, make them a champion somewhere down the road.”

How do you define feel?

“Feel is your horse has to know what you’re talking about. You have to get a message over to a horse when you want to take a hold of a cow, when you want to get out of a turn.You’ve got to have that on your horse before you [walk to the herd]. You have to teach your horse to listen to what you tell him and you have to listen to what the horse shows you. You emphasize what you need and he emphasizes what he feels, you’ve got to make your adjustment and get it all smoothed out so you’re on the same page…If I have enough time I can teach a person feel.”

Watch Kobie’s videos on CHTO


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