Priscilla Rothwell, of Abilene, Texas, has been bitten by the cutting bug twice – first, when she and her husband, Rick, got started in the sport 30 years ago, and second this year after watching her son from the sidelines and then stepping back into the saddle.
Rothwell became both chauffeur and cheerleader when her son turned 13 and the focus turned to him in cutting. By the time he was old enough to handle his own duties, the Rothwells had sold their ranch and moved to town, thinking the stint with cutting was over.
“But you know how horses are,” Rothwell laughed. “When you love it, you can’t hardly stay away.”
She wasn’t so sure about her mare, Metallic Stardust (Metallic Cat x CD Royal Joyful x CD Royal), when Rick bought her as a National Cutting Horse Association Futurity contender last year, but recent events have changed all that. After watching her son Colton show the mare in the semifinals of the Futurity’s Non-Pro and finals of the Limited Non-Pro to checks totaling more than $13,000, Rothwell took over. She decided if she was going to be loping horses for her son, she might as well start showing.
“I hadn’t even ridden for five or six years when Cole asked me to come help him with his futurity horse, so I traveled with him through that horse’s 5-year-old year and finally decided it was time for me to enter,” she said. “Rick bought her without even asking me, but I’m sure glad he did.”
Her husband’s decision to purchase the horse was solidified June 14 as the duo entered the Hardy Murphy arena as the seventh to work in the 13-horse field. They scored a 219, winning the Championship and a check for $7,825.
Lovingly called “Stevie” for Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks, the 4-year-old mare has turned out to be everything Rothwell could ask for.
“My very first time to ride her was at the Breeder’s Invitational just a few weeks ago,” she said, noting her fourth-place finish in the Limited Non-Pro and a finalist spot in the Unlimited Amateur, earning the pair $6,400. It was the mare’s first 2018 show since falling ill after the Futurity. “My trainer is Chris Johnsrud, and he has done an amazing job getting her to where she is now. She’s a bit quirky and can kind of be a handful.”
With Chris, Paul Hansma, Lloyd Cox and Tommy Dvorak as her help, Rothwell loped her own horse while they made the decision about what cows she needed.
“I knew she had the ability. I was just hoping I could keep it all together long enough to get her shown,” she said.
The words of her husband from the previous evening rolled through her head as she went through the paces of the run, words used to provide encouragement and support.
“I just needed a little bit of reassurance and confidence,” she said. “He had talked to me a lot about smoothing out my cuts and making good cuts in the middle of the pen and letting the mare work. He said if I could do that, I would be fine. I was just so happy to have drawn up in the middle, but I think overall the cattle at this show were pretty decent. As it got hotter, it got pretty hard because it was so hot. But overall, they were OK.”
For complete coverage of the Western performance industry, subscribe to Quarter Horse News.