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Trainer’s Corner – Tatum Rice

December 11th, 2019 by Sophia Skeith

TOTAL EARNINGS: $2,327,291

How did you get into cutting? “I’ve been in cutting forever. My entire life my dad [Boyd Rice] trained cutting horses and his dad [Sonny Rice] did also. My dad’s mom’s dad was the first one that got into cutting.”

Who did you work for? “I was with my dad until I was 17 and then I worked with [cousin] Tag Rice and Ronnie Rice for a long time after that. I was with Tag from 2004- 2009. I left Tag’s in 2009 and went to work at Carl Smith’s place in 2010 and 2011. When I married Kylie, we built our place and started here in May of 2012”

What is your most memorable moment in the sport? “Winning the Futurity last year would have to be probably the most memorable moment.”

What is the biggest myth about cutting? “I don’t know if this is a myth more than a mentality, but I think a lot of young people, and I would include myself in this, you kind of think when you’re starting out and you’re younger, I’m going to work real hard and figure everything out, I’m going to learn how to train a horse and I’m going to learn how to show a horse and then it will get easier. And that is the right [frame of mind to have] you want to work that hard and be that gung-ho and that motivated. The problem is, even when you get to that stage and you are capable of training one and you are capable of showing one it doesn’t really get easier, in fact it probably gets harder…The goals change, you go from being happy to have a trained horse you can make finals on to now you actually want to win, then you go from wanting to win to wanting to win a title like Horse Of The Year or World Champion….Getting to the top is not nearly as hard as staying at the top.”

What is your training philosophy? “At the end of the day, the horse has to work the cow, but they also have to be broke. You have to be able to handle them, you have to be able to put them where you want them with your feet. There is a fine line between working the cow and having the horse broke. It’s not all or nothing on either one. If they are over trained and over broke horse, that’s not good. If they are just cutting and not listening, that’s not good either. It has to be in the middle. In the beginning, as a 2-year-old, early 3-year-old, it’s more about being broke. But the further you get to making a show horse, it’s more about the cow.”

What is the best piece of advice you could give someone starting out? “I would say, anyone starting out needs to start on an older horse. They need to do a lot of weekend [shows}, they need to stick with a program. They need to stick with a trainer and be loyal. When you are at the shows, watch and observe and just stick with something. It’s a slow process whether it’s the open, non-pro or amateur, youth, it’s unfortunately a slow process to learn. It’s fun to learn… You just have to keep on keeping on. we had were ones that seemed to be special to us in one way or another. We took them everywhere we went, they made a lot of trips and covered a lot of miles and that was beneficial to most of them in the long run. Even though we were busy, we took those horses with us and they were getting worked. As far as the EC is concerned, face to face meetings are only 6-10 days a year, but there’s a lot of conference calls that take place in the evening. My wife tends to everything that I don’t or can’t and she does a better job of it than me. She obviously played a gigantic role in all of that.”

What does the sport need to do to attract more members? “We have to make our events more fun, primarily in Fort Worth. We need to make it a bit more of a party. We need to give people a reason to come to Fort Worth and watch the cutting as opposed to staying home and watching it online. I feel really confident of our recent hire, Jay Winborn, that he’s going to be able to capitalize on those things and improve these things. To me, it’s a problem that at a lot of our other aged events that we are cutting really late into the night and working long days and long hours and that’s not fun for us (the trainers). Most of us are going to go because we have to. But you want the owners and the amateurs to be able to come show and be done by 5:30 or 6:00 and be able to eat dinner and have some drinks and have fun or maybe cook out at the trailer and have fun. The notion that we are showing horses from 8am to midnight, it’s counter productive, it’s good we have the entries, [but staying up late] is ultimately not helping us. You want all the weekend [competitors] to feel included, the weekend [deal] is the core of our whole [sport], that’s where people start out. It’s incredibly important, you want people to [get] recognition for what they are doing at any show. Whether it’s an aged event or weekend show, people deserve recognition for what they are doing and that helps us [as an industry] when they get it.”

How have you managed to do it over the last few years? You hauled last year with Hashtags, won the Futurity, served in the Executive Committee for the NCHA and got your horses trained? “[When we were hauling Hashtags] I tried to cut down on the number of 3-year-olds we had relatively early in the year. The one we had were ones that seemed to be special to us in one way or another. We took them everywhere we went, they made a lot of trips and covered a lot of miles and that was beneficial to most of them in the long run. Even though we were busy, we took those horses with us and they were getting worked. As far as the EC is concerned, face to face meetings are only 6-10 days a year, but there’s a lot of conference calls that take place in the evening. My wife tends to everything that I don’t or can’t and she does a better job of it than me. She obviously played a gigantic role in all of that.”

Click Here for Tatum’s Videos!

Brought To You By: Tara Stark Real Estate Group


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