Riding into a testy herd, Ashley Baxstrom cinched not only the Champion but the Reserve Champion title as well in the 4-Year-Old Limited Open finals at the Arbuckle Mountain Futurity in Ardmore, Oklahoma.
Aboard the Metallic Cat gelding Spot of Hot Metal, Baxstrom marked a 222 to bring home a check of $4,690 for breeder and owner Kate Robinson, of Orlando, Oklahoma.
“The cattle were good, they were sitting a little bit deeper, but we got our cows cut and we were sure about what we were going to cut. I thought it went well,” said Baxstrom who collected his first National Cutting Horse Association check in 2000 and since then has piloted horses to $878,466 in lifetime earnings.
The gelding who is out of Spots Hot Sox (by Spots Hot) nearly doubled his lifetime earnings at the Arbuckle Futurity, where Baxstrom says he has shown real maturity. “He has turned into a really physical, really fun horse. He’s big and strong and he really hits hard,” the trainer explained.
Baxstrom really likes the mare LHR Ichi Time (Cat Ichi x LHR Boon Times x Peptoboonsmal), who earned the Reserve Champion title with a 218.5 in the 4-Year-Old Limited Open finals, adding $3,861 to her lifetime earnings. The mare, who is owned by Claudia Switzer, of Warrenville, Illinois hasn’t logged as many hours in the arena but proved she is more than up to the task at hand.
“I thought either one could take it,” Baxstrom said. “The gelding had been shown more, he’s a little bit grittier and I kick around more on him, but they both were good. Some days it’s just going to work and it did that day, and it’s a blessing that it was that day and that time.”
What made the day even more special was the fact that both owners, Kate Robinson, and Claudia Switzer were there to watch the finals unfold. Health issues have made life difficult for the two women whom Baxstrom describes as extra special people.
“They are the two coolest sets of people ever, and I’m just really thankful for them,” Baxstrom said. “It was just such really blessed and beautiful thing … that was God’s hand that they were here and that this happened was such an answer to prayer, that they could have a moment in the sun. We didn’t win the NCHA Futurity or the big open, we just won the Limited Open but it was a big deal to them.”
Baxstrom has plans to head to the NCHA Super Stakes with Spot of Hot Metal, although the trainer said that he stays home quite a bit. With his wife Dawn Baxstrom traveling to photograph and video equine events around the country, and his 14-year-old son Jagger pursuing a passion for roping, the Baxstrom’s stay busy in multiple arenas.
Baxstrom couldn’t be more thankful for his clients, and that his son Jagger stepped up as his herd help this year in Ardmore, earning the title “Preparations Specialist” from his Dad.
“It was a good day of cutting,” Baxstrom said, made even more special by the people who were there alongside him.
Metallic Drifter and Matt Gaines
14G (Metallic Cat x Ruby Bagonia x Pepy San Badger)
Owner: James Vangilder, Weatherford, TX
Breeder: Arcese Quarter Horses, Weatherford, TX