Kenli Marvin and Cinderella Cat marked a 223 to win the NCHA Summer Spectacular Non-Pro Finals! - Photo by Katie Marchetti

Kenli Marvin’s Cinderella Story

Kenli Marvin first saw Cinderella Cat (PT) four years ago in a sale ring trotting alongside her dam, Miss Instant Choice (PT) (by HB Instant Choice [PT]).

“I had a Paint Horse when I was a kid, but circumstances took her away from me. I always said I would own a Paint Horse again. Then [Cinderella Cat and her dam] came through the ring, and I wanted her so bad!” Marvin explained.

With $5,000 in hand, she begged her dad, Tommy, to bring the pair home. He agreed to bid to $5,000 – and when the price reached $5,600, he kept right on bidding.

“He said, ‘I’ll loan you the rest, Kenli.’ And oh my gosh, I brought them home, and it’s been a dream come true since then!”

Marvin is still living the dream in the wake of marking a 223 aboard her 4-year-old Paint mare to win the Metallic Cat National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Summer Spectacular Derby Non-Pro Championship against a 20-horse field Aug. 5.

“I wish I had the words, but I don’t!” Marvin said, laughing through tears of joy. “I had no intentions of winning tonight. I didn’t even think it was possible! I told myself, if I can mark a [2]16 and be in the top five, I will really have done something, because this was my first 4-year-old finals. It meant the world.”

After starting the Thomas E Hughes mare herself, Marvin worked Cinderella Cat until she turned three. At that point, her dad, an Equi-Stat Elite $2 Million Rider, took over her training.

“I couldn’t have done it without my dad. I couldn’t have done it without my help, either,“ said Marvin, of Barnsdall, Oklahoma, thanking Clay Johnson, Cody Porterfield, Michael Cooper and Austin Shephard. Marvin, who has more than $163,263 in lifetime earnings and was memorably named the 2016 Senior Youth World Champion, got the mare ready for the pen herself, which meant she relied on her help entirely when it came to picking her cattle. “I just cut what they told me to. The first cow was good, and I thought, ‘Pretty good,’ and the second cow was good, and I was like, ‘This is good, too!’” Marvin explained, her smile growing bigger by the second. “And my third cow was just awesome, just incredible!”

“I didn’t even think it was possible!” said Kenli Marvin after winning the Non-Pro Finals! Photo by Katie Marchetti

The crowd seemed to agree with Marvin, as she and Cinderella Cat rode out of the arena to deafening cheers. The win gave them a check for $18,633. The fairy tale didn’t end there, though. The Paint mare received no less attention when she re-entered the showpen in the Open finals that followed, this time with Tommy in the saddle. The team marked a 220, which placed them fourth amidst an incredibly talented field and earned an additional $27,090, which raised Cinderella Cat’s lifetime earnings to $64,098, according to Equi-Stat.

“She’s a really fun horse,” Marvin said of the mare who was bred by Don and Kathy Boone, of West Columbia, Texas. “She has a really big personality. Always in your pocket. I’m so grateful, this means the world to me.”

The Reserve title went to Todd Quirk and Real Suen, who is by Boon Too Suen and out of Donas Cool Cat (by High Brown Cat). They marked a 219.5, which brought home a check of $16,857 for owner Plantation Farms LLC.