Faith Farris knows you can’t take anything for granted . . . especially not in cutting.
Already holding 146 points in the Youth World Standings going in to the final round on the National Youth Cutting Horse Association (NYCHA) Junior World Finals, Farris had scored a 218 in the first and then hit a bit of a slump, scoring a 209 in the second. She and her equine partner Smooth Serena Rey were going to have to stay strong to win the year-end Senior Youth World Championship.
A svelte 5-foot-7 14-year-old, Faith has had plenty of time to study cattle on the family ranch in Midway, Texas, where she home schools as a distance learner from Weatherford Christian Academy. She’s also been able to take advantage of some nice horses, like Smooth Serena Ray (Smooth As A Cat X Margaret Rey x Dual Rey), owned by her grandfather Jimmy. Thankfully so, as her mount at the beginning of the year, Quite The Fat Cat (Mr Peppys Freckles x Quite The Cat x High Brow Cat), just kind of fizzled.
“I showed him at the beginning of the year and then he started running off,” she said of the gelding on which she won the 2017 American Quarter Horse Youth Association World Championship. “By February, I really didn’t have anything to show, so my grandpa told me I could show his mare. She’s tried so hard and has the biggest heart. A heart of gold. She’s not the easiest to ride, but she’s got a really cool stop and she’s cool in the middle.”
Faith started the World Finals off with 146 points and a strong showing, winning the first go-round, but then she said her head just wasn’t in the game.
“It was all me. My mare tried her heart out, and tonight is the best she’s been,” said the petite brunette, but recognized that her win was the result of a season’s hard work. “Around the end of February, dad is the one who told me I couldn’t show ‘Fat Cat’ anymore and he made me show Serena. That was the first weekend we really clicked. I had shown her some the year before and I think I needed the time to mature and she needed the time to mature. But when we finally came together, it just clicked.”
The reserve champion at last year’s Finals, Farris saw that her points for this year were climbing and felt she could continue the trend.
“I saw that I was getting up there with Chance Cerny, but we were 45 points behind in February,” she said. “But I kept showing her and my dad told me to keep my head up, so it all just kind of worked out.”
Despite the fact that other junior youth pulled out some notable scores in the final round, such as Gavin Callahan with his 224 on Time N Tequila and Madison Flynn and Jade Mitchell both scoring a 219, the top four had been so far ahead there was no catching them.
Farris ended the point year with 152 to take the NYCHA Junior Youth World Championship, while Chance Cerny came in second riding 2012 NCHA Futurity Open Co-Champion He Bea Cat (High Brow Cat x Mae Bea Marie x Freckles Playboy) with 125 points.
“I can’t thank God enough for letting this happen to me after two years,” she said. “I want to thank my parents Mitch and Tracy Farris for being there and supporting me through the hard times and the good times, and my grandparents Carolyn and Jimmy Farris and I sure want to thank Serena Rey for doing this for me.”
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