Makenzie Cowan thought her run in the Metallic Cat National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Summer Spectacular Junior Scholarship Cutting would be good, but 222 good?
“I thought we’d be a 18 or 19, but I was kind of stunned when the 222 popped up,” said the 12-year-old, who was partnered with Exclusive Thyme (One Time Pepto x Classy Dualin x Dualin Jewels).
As the 14th to work in the 18-horse field, Cowan knew she had her work cut out for her.
“There were some really good scores before we went, and I knew there were some good horses coming up after us,” said Cowan, the daughter of Ardmore, Oklahoma, cutters Michelle and Bill. “I was a little nervous going into the herd.”
Her nerves were understandable. Ahead of her had been Emma Grace Rapp riding 2013 NCHA Non-Pro Horse of the Year Reyzin (High Brow CD x Miss Reycine x Dual Rey), and following her was Jade Mitchell aboard 2014 NCHA Open Horse of the Year Junie Wood (Nitas Wood x Tuffs Junie x Tuff Lena).
Yet, “Jerry” and Cowan put on their best stylish moves for a solid ride that held up for the win. Mitchell scored an impressive 219 for the Reserve Championship, and Rapp finished third with a 218.5.
“I’ve had my horse for about a year and a half, and we’ve improved a lot in that time,” Cowan said. “He’s an awesome horse.”
Laughing as she said “Jerry” was really like a boyfriend to her, she noted that her goal riding to the herd was to make nice cuts and stay clean while her dad and R.L Chartier helped her.
“I thought all three cows were pretty nice cows, and they were just telling me to drive up and slow down,” she said of her run. “When we got to my second cow, I started smiling because my horse was doing really good. This was my first time making the finals.”
While Cowan enjoys playing softball and hanging out with friends, it’s horses that capture her heart and time.
“We go to mostly weekend shows, and this has been the best ride we’ve ever had,” she said about her run aboard Jerry, who was a gift from previous owners Dwayne and Cindy Watkins. “We were in an OK spot in the middle of last year, and we’ve been slowly progressing. This has definitely been our best show.”