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.
In 2012 at just 21 years old, Buntin made his first Futurity final on High Brow Jackson. He also made the Futurity final in 2021 riding Heisenbergg. He has been to the World Finals in the Open, 5k Novice and 25k Novice on numerous horses and won many Limited Aged Event titles. He was recently reserve Champion in the Open Classic Challenge at the PCCHA Derby in Las Vegas.
What is your training philosophy?
“I would like to advance myself as a horseman…My philosophy would be to train a horse to compete against the cow. I don’t want proof of control, I want proof of the opposite.”
Do you have preferences when picking cows?
“I have way more preferences on who helps me pick cows.”
What have you learned or adjusted in your program in the past year?
“I have more faith or confidence in what I know now… And having more faith in the process regardless of the result… Mechanically I haven’t made a lot of changes, I’ve just had more faith in what I think is right and not allowing myself to stress over whether that will get me the results I want or not. Just better execution because of more confidence in what I’m doing at the moment.”
Does it help you be confident being able to look back and know you have won $2 million?
“One would think. I’m realizing the longer I do this there’s this [concept] called temporary confidence and milestones give you that. I think I’m learning and understanding that the win or achievement will give you temporary confidence. And at some point real confidence comes through knowledge and knowing what you’re doing… and trusting the process and believing that helps you be more consistent rather than relying on a milestone or recent achievement. I think that’s where a lot of ups and downs come from.”
What inspires you?
“To make the most of myself… I try to have goals and visions all the time. The reason I want to make the most of myself is to not only have more, be more, live more and spend more time with my family but also to [realize] when I started there was a real turning point I never thought you could be that successful. I didn’t know you could be that consistent, win that much and have that many satisfied customers. It was a turning point for me to realize that it’s even possible to do it. I started looking at [my heroes] and realized what they’re doing can be done and who knows what more can be done. What drives me is to accomplish things for my own benefit and hopefully [benefit] people around me [so they know] their goals are achievable.”
How would you define feel?
“The word effortless comes to my mind…Being able to do things in the moment without intentional concentration that also is timing. As a coach, everything feels different to each person; you can’t get them to feel exactly what you feel. But you can guide them as close to feel as possible until they feel it themselves and recognize it. All I can do [when I teach] is to keep using different terminology, different philosophies and different exercises so I can get you to feel what I want you to feel.”
“I absolutely think [feel is] achievable for anybody. To feel whether it’s cutting a cow or feel where to sit down to feel the most comfortable in the saddle… I believe that the person that believes they will find it can find it a lot quicker but I think you can be guided towards feel but you have to feel it yourself to really understand it.”
“…The harder they look, the stiffer they get, the more they push in their stirrups, the more they stop reading the cow because they’re [trying to sit], the more they’re off balance. All I can do is keep giving them tips to find it. The real key to balance is to concentrate on the cow. When you concentrate on the cow and you’re actually studying it and reading it then you don’t even have to think about it, and human nature to balance, takes over.”
“…The only reason a roller coaster is easy is because the tracks are predictable, the cow’s not… I never tell my customers to push or pull on the horn. I always just tell them to focus, concentrate, and study the cow. Then their instincts will take over and that’s what makes pretty riders.”