I have had a busy fall with my futurity horses. This has been one of my favorite years, as this group is outstanding. They have been consistently in the money everywhere they go, with several wins and reserve championships. I could not be more pleased with them.
Now comes the hard part of picking my final three to show at the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity. This is always a tough time for me, as I know I need to pick my top three horses. Even up to now I am not always sure who they are, so I do my best to make a decision based on soundness, reliability and consistency.
I will find catch riders that I trust and that have proven track records in the show arena to show the others. Most of them will be million-dollar riders. I have given a catch ride to a friend and been beaten by him on that horse. While that was tough, I know I did the right thing by the horse and client. You have to set your ego aside and take care of those who take care of you; I believe that is why I have a long-time clientele. They trust I will make the right decision for their horses if I am not able to show them.
I am happy to say I have three catch riders this year. I am proud of my horses for stepping up, and I look forward to seeing them all show at the NRHA Futurity.
We are taking all the precautions now to make sure all the horses feel their best so they are ready to endure what lies ahead – the Futurity is a test of stamina, and mental and physical strength. My staff is organizing now, and we are trying to get plenty of rest so we are ready to hit it hard when we get there.
I am doing the fine-tuning on the horses, hoping to get them to step up to their top performance without overdoing it. I want them mentally sound and confident when we arrive and throughout the whole show. Much damage can be done to these horses with overly greedy trainers. I am always diligent with making sure my horses are trained one step at a time.
Just like school, you have to study daily – all year – before a big test, not just cram the week before. It is no different with the horses. I hate nothing more than to see a trainer overload a horse when it is clearly confused.
I hope we can all continue to work toward being better horsemen. Just like horses, we, too, need to be students.
Best of luck to everyone!