Halfway through the year, Amanda Smith gave up on going to the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) World Finals in Fort Worth. Good thing somebody talked her back into it, because she left the show a champion.
The rider from Wembley, Alberta, Canada, made the most of the trip by guiding Im Short And Smooth to a winning $3,861 in show earnings at the event that concluded Saturday (Dec. 1) at the W.R. Watt Arena. They banked the money by marking go-round scores of 218 and 219.
“It hasn’t really even sunk in to be honest,” Smith said in the barns after the final round. “I’ve so many people to thank. I know everybody says this, but it really does take a village.”
She thanked her trainer, Dustin Gonnet, as well as California horseman Eric Wisehart, who also helped her during the year, and those who assisted her in the pen during the World Finals. Smith’s particularly grateful for the encouragement from her boyfriend, fellow cutter Darcy Geherman, who convinced her to keep hauling and go to the World Finals.
“That was my goal at the beginning of the year, to make the Top 15,” she said. “And then about halfway through the year, I was just like ‘You know what? I don’t think I’m gonna go. Even if I make it, I’m just gonna stay home.’ I kind of talked myself out of it.”
Geherman urged her to keep chasing her goal, so Smith kept hauling. She went to a few more shows — spending the past several weeks on the road – to secure her spot. Smith is glad she kept at it, even though she was nervous during the show.
“I was a bag of nerves and I was warming my horse up and I pulled over to the side and was just walking circles, and called a friend and he helped me regroup and get focused,” she said. “And, then I went in and it was just…Gosh, I was so happy with my horse.”
She got the Pine Island Ranch-bred son of Smooth As A Cat in April of his 6-year-old year. After having only been shown in aged events, it took a while for the horse, who Smith said has a quirky personality, to adjust to the lifestyle of a weekend cutting horse.
“He’s very wild. Little things just set him off, and then I’ve got a lot of energy and adrenaline and that sometimes doesn’t work,” she said, laughing. “But, I think I just figured out finally how to ride him, and I slowed myself down, which helped him, too.”
Im Short and Smooth entered the show with career earnings of $128,941. He is the leading earner for his dam, Chiquita Shorty (by Shorty Lena).
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