Ten years ago, 18-year-old Tarin Rice rode into the cutting pen at the Will Rogers Coliseum to compete in the 2007 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Summer Spectacular Scholarship Cutting with a cast on one of his legs.
Rice soon proved he was not handicapped and had things under control when he rode Wood Ya Wanna (Zack T Wood x Curly Gray Hair x Grays Starlight), a 2000 gelding bred by Dick Gaines and owned by Julie Wrigley of Wrigley Ranches LLC with lifetime earnings of nearly $300,000, to the Senior Youth Championship with an impressive 229.
Earlier in the summer, it seemed Rice’s dream of competing at the Scholarship Cutting might not become a reality when a horse kicked him and fractured the tibia bone in his leg. Rice wore a cast all the way to his thighbone until just before he left for the Summer Spectacular. The cast was replaced with a shorter one that stopped just below his knee.
Some adjustments had to be made, of course, since a boot would not fit over Rice’s cast. The stirrup was removed from his saddle and a spur was fitted to his cast and then duct-taped in place. Did that change in equipment rattle the young man’s confidence? Not at all.
During an interview following his victory ride, Rice admitted while riding without a stirrup and in a cast should have made it more difficult to navigate, “it really wasn’t too hard, especially when you’re riding that caliber of horse.”
Rice and Wood Ya Wanna outscored their closest rivals, Jordan Williamson and Squeaks My Alias (Squeak Toy x Haidalias x Haidas Little Pep), by 8 points on their way to claim the Championship and a $2,500 scholarship.
The 2007 victory was the second NCHA youth scholarship Rice, a son of Equi-Stat Elite $4 Million Rider Boyd Rice, won in his career. He also won the Junior Youth Scholarship Cutting in 2003 aboard Montanas Musical Sox (Montana Doc x My Musical Maiden x Doc’s Cowboy), a 1991 gelding bred by Ryker Ranch.
Rice, who is now an Equi-Stat Elite $1 Million Rider, returned to the NCHA Summer Spectacular in 2008 with Wood Ya Wanna to defend his Senior Youth Championship title. While the pair came up short, they did mark a 224 to tie with Priscilla Crawley, of Unadilla, Georgia, and Trickalenas Choice (SR Instant Choice x Tricka Lena x Poco San Lena) for the Reserve Championship.