Cutting hasn’t always been a way of life for the Patillo family. In fact, they had never even owned a horse until a few years ago. Even that was a spur of the
moment decision that they had no idea would
completely change their lives.
While traveling through the “Cutting Horse Capital of the World” during a family holiday, Blake decided his Illinois-based family needed a horse.
Amazed at all the training facilities around Weatherford, Blake, his wife Lori and their four kids drove around the area, when an arena off FM 1885 that caught their eye. Not knowing who it belonged to or what they were looking for, they decided to drive in. “If we pull in here and tell them we want to buy a horse they’ll let us in,” he told his wife confidently at the time.
It was Pedro Ornales who met them just inside the gate. With neither parties knowing what they were getting themselves into, Pedro put them on a turn-back horse and the Patillo family was hooked! They soon became fast friends. The Patillos hooked their RV up at the facility and spent weeks there learning the ropes from the back of that one turn-back horse. When asked what her thoughts were, Lori responded “I was just along for the ride at this point.”
Just three months later, with no intentions of owning a cutting horse, and no place to keep one, Blake was soon won over by a horse Pedro had found them.
The horse stayed in Texas and the Patillo family made monthly trips from Illinois to ride their horse. Blake’s goal was to find something that his kids could compete in as a family and learn how to win and lose. But despite all Blake’s efforts, their eldest son Langston didn’t have much interest in riding a horse.
In 2013 they purchased their first cutting horse at the NCHA Summer Spectacular, Defiant Cat. Shortly after Blake was invited to his first show by a neighbor where they boarded a horse. To say Blake was green, would be understatement. He didn’t even know how to properly saddle a horse.
Blake still didn’t think there was any problem. “Finally they started yelling at me asking if I needed any help,” he said.“No I’ve got it,” he replied confidently. The trainers tried to explain to him that he really did need help, that everyone did in cutting. Blake then gave in and said, “alright come on then.”
After a messy run, he quickly realized he needed more horse power and a whole lot of practice. Since then, Blake has won $100,000. But he now focuses on helping his kids develop their riding and cutting skills.
His son Langston has since caught the cutting bug and won an impressive three major titles in the famed Will Rogers Coliseum by the age of 16! Many riders dream of winning one in a lifetime. You could say Blake’s real talent has been to make some smart decisions with buying horses and as a parent-coach!
So what is his secret? What is the magic that has seen Blake go from knowing nothing about horses or cutting to helping create champions with Langston and their horses in just a few short years? It’s simpler than you would think: studying those who have gone before!
Blake said he watches the winners to see what they do to excel. He strives to be able to pick horses on his own.
“The more you learn about this sport, the more you become more addicted to the sport,” he said.
Lori said her role is more on the sidelines. The family relocated from Illinois to Weatherford, TX to focus on riding and cutting. Lori is kept busy homeschooling the kids. The family still travels frequently to Illinois where their business is based.
Blake complimented Langston on being a good student, how he listens to and applies what his mentors have taught him and how hard he works at it. He added his son has a lot of natural athletic talent but also makes smart decisions on the cow and they way he works his horse. He said those attributes are what makes Langston so competitive in the sport.
Since purchasing their Weatherford ranch, both parents said they love their lifestyle. Lori said the industry has had a great influence on shaping her family. The work that comes with cutting, taking care of horses and their ranch, she said has really made their family come together as a team.
Just watch this space for the rest of the young Patillos rising through the ranks!