Kayla Norris of Hattiesburg, Miss., and CD Kual Gun set the bar high with a 219 as the first team to work in the Unlimited Amateur finals at the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity. Norris laughed when first approached for an interview and said, “Y’all forgive me if I don’t remember everything about my run – that was 34 horses ago.”
Being first in the herd gave Norris and CD Kual Gun, a gelding by High Brow CD and out of the Playgun mare Kual Gun, their choice of cattle.
“I knew I had a really good horse. I was confident in my horse. Our plan was to try to cut him three good cows and do our best. My horse just got better and better as the week went on,” Norris said of CD Kual Gun, who marked a 212 in the first go and a 217 in the semifinals.
Mary Jo Milner has been cutting since 1972. She took a break from the sport for a while to spend time with her grandchildren, but a grandchild is also responsible for getting her back in the saddle after posing the question, “Jo Jo, can you ride?”
Jo Jo can ride! Working eighth in the second set, Milner, of Southlake, Texas, and Cougarace earned a 217 and reserve champion honors. Cougarace is a gelding by High Brow Cougar and out of the San Tule Freckles mare MH Split The Aces.
“I was depending on my help on the cattle because most of the cattle that we had talked about when we were sitting up above had already been worked,” Milner said. “I had excellent herd help – Casey Green and Lee Francois were helping me. My most important thing that I wanted to be sure – my horse gets his head very low – so I wanted to be sure that I had my reins out longer. You never learn all of this sport. There’s always something that you have to do a little better. That’s one thing that makes it challenging.”
Milner was also recognized as the top placing Senior in the Unlimited Amateur.
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