Cutting horses have to be agile to be successful, but sometimes it’s the rider’s composure and ability to control the speed that is as important as the horse’s athleticism. Madalyn Colgrove, of Boligee, Alabama, said that was the key to winning the 5/6-Year-Old Non-Pro Championship at this year’s Cattlemens Derby and Classic.
“The cows were a little touchy in the first go,” she said. “We were focused on getting three clean cuts.”
Aboard Sweet Baby Marie, who is owned by Joel Colgrove, the duo marked a 216 in the first round – a score that reflected a good solid run. Colgrove tied with Equi-Stat Elite $2 Million Rider Paula Wood aboard Suen Too Be Black, a 2013 homebred mare (Boon Too Suen x Chitas Blue Boon x Duals Blue Boon).
In the finals round, Colgrove was second to ride. The early draw was definitely to her advantage, she said. By that time the cattle were very touchy and not tolerating pressure. As each draw progressed, the cows were less forgiving.
“If the cattle felt pressure from a horse and rider, they were going to run right over them,” she said. “The key to winning the finals was really being patient on cuts and good time management.”
The team was rewarded with a 220 – a score that was two full points ahead of Wood, who finished second with a 218. Wood collected a check for $7,000, which pushed her mare’s lifetime earnings to more than $77,000.
Colgrove’s win added $9,000 to Sweet Baby Marie’s lifetime earnings, which now exceed $150,000. Joel bought the 2013 mare (High Brow CD x Hangem High Pep x Hickorys Indian Pep) from Chris and Staci Thibodeaux of Grace Ranch in Jennings, Louisiana, as a 3-year-old. Matt Miller trained the filly and won several small futurities on her, including the 2016 Idaho Cutting Horse Association Futurity Open and the Southern Cutting Futurity Open. Colgrove began riding her in her 4-year-old year.
“She has a really cool stop about her and she can read a cow well,” she said. “She’s smart about cows and definitely reads them better than I do.”
Since Sweet Baby Marie is only five, Colgrove plans to continue showing the horse though this year and next. Their next event on the schedule is the National Cutting Horse Association Super Stakes, scheduled for April and slated to be held in Fort Worth, Texas.
“I just want to thank all of the people who helped me this week,” she said. “Matt Miller, Sean Flynn, Tarin Rice and Casey Green were an important part of this win.”
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