Total Earnings: $592,458
Originally from Brotas, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Rodrigo Taboga has grown up in the horse industry. He showed his first cutting horse at seven years old, learning from his father. He was 17 years old when he decided he wanted to train professionally.
Jody Galyean has had a huge influence on Taboga. They met in 2011 when Jody would come out to their ranch in Brazil to teach.
Taboga came to the States as a catch rider for Jody in 2017. They kept in touch and Taboga would send Jody videos to watch so he could get helpful advice.
Jody introduced Taboga to Beau Galyean who offered him a job. He said working for Beau was his first time working for someone other than his father.
“I was just talking with my dad right there in Brazil, “Hey Dad, maybe I’ll have a chance to go right there to show some horse there. Maybe — can I be good there and win some shows and make some finals there? And now just after a couple years and 6 months I live here, a lot of big things [have] happened.”
Taboga was the fourth highest money earner in 2020, earning more than $350,000 that year alone and had Sanctus in the running to be named Horse of the Year.
“I am very grateful for the things I [learned] when I worked for Beau during the two years and four months I worked there,” he said.
What is the most important thing Beau taught you?
“Beau taught me the little details. He left it [clear] in my mind what we need to do to win. I came trying to do what Jody, all the time, told me to do but Beau’s program is about the little details… He taught me to connect a horse with the cow…to put more cow in our horses. I started to practice and I could feel a difference.”
What is your training philosophy?
“I believe in a lot of balance. I think we need to try to find the balance. Not too much one thing, not too much another thing. I think balance can let all the good [horses] show us. If we let the horses [get] comfortable with us, they will get that high potential. Horses need to feel comfortable, if we pressure too much they will not learn. If we will be too soft they will not do [it]. Because of
this, I believe in balance all the time…Let the horse be comfortable to work with us, they need to trust us. [That’s] what I believe.”
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
“We can’t worry too much about what is happening, bad or good, we can’t worry too much, just keep going, keep working… If it’s not good we can analyze…When I don’t have a good result at the show, I just keep calm and [think] ok, where I made a mistake, I
need to fix something, my horse worked well or not…Keep working, don’t worry too much.”
What are your preferences when it comes to picking cows?
“It depends on my horse. Some horses like cows more calm, some horses will flow more with a tough cow but usually I just like to see some cows [that] don’t look so very wild or too calm. I like cows feeling good…Some horses have more eye appeal with calm cows. Some horses [are] more powerful and we can work tough cows. But it’s a gamble, we never know what will happen. We just
try to read around when we are inside the [herd of] cows.”
What makes you get up every morning and work hard?
“I like a challenge. I like to compete. Since I was 10-11 years old I was asking my dad, ‘Hey Dad let me show some horses. I want to show. I like to compete.’ I like to play whatever game but my game today is cutting. What makes me get up, I just think about
shows and I want to work and go to the shows. I like challenges. I like to win but my pleasure is to go to the show… There is strategy, what [do I] need to do for my horse to get him better? How can I find the best way to work the horse to let him reach [his] high potential…I like to play the game…”
How would you describe feel?
“I like to use my feet when I’m riding horses, and my fingers, because I can feel more when I am using the tips of my fingers because I can feel more if my horse is stiff or not. I like to use my feet because I can feel my horse’s body better. And when working cows, I just try to read, we can see their attitude, cows with their head up or cows with the ears up, cows with the head down, how [a] cow’s walking fast or walking slow, relaxed…
“…If my horse is turning a little with the body straight I try to bring more nose or do something to help that horse work better. I try, during the week, if that horse is [not] getting better I will try another way. I try to let a horse be comfortable to do what we want to do. But first I let a horse try themselves because if a horse doesn’t try by himself, I can’t do anything. Usually it’s 80% horse’s potential and 20% [me]. When horses try, usually it’s easier for us to say you can do it, we will be better for you…”