At the age of 19, Cade McCutcheon has become the youngest Equi-Stat $1 Million Rider.
McCutcheon won his first check when he was only 7 years old. Riding a wave of consistent success, McCutcheon has seen his debut year as an open rider yield him more than half a million dollars in earnings, bolstered by his success in Taylor Sheridan’s Run For A Million competition. There, he was Co-Champion with Equi-Stat Elite $4.6 million rider Craig Schmersal, each of them taking home $307,500.
“I’m pretty lucky. It’s been a pretty unbelievable year. Nobody — not even me — could have thought it was going to go this good,” McCutcheon said, the fresh awe apparent in his voice as horse hooves clip-clopped in the background.
“I’m lucky that Taylor [Sheridan] decided to include me in The Run For A Million and lucky that I could win it. The pieces had to all fall into the right places,” McCutcheon said.
Born into a royal family of reiners, McCutcheon was not pressured into the sport, but he took to it like a duck to water.
“We gave him whatever choices he wanted. We never told him he had to ride, he just craved it,” said mother Mandy McCutcheon, daughter of Tim McQuay. “[When he was little] he wore stick horses out. He wore the ends of the stick horses out to a sharp point [because] he ran so many patterns on the concrete. He knew pattern 10 and pattern five inside and out before he ever rode a horse.”
Of course, when you have Equi-Stat Elite $1.9 million earner for a father — Tom McCutcheon; an Equi-Stat Elite $2.7 million earner for a mother, and a National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Hall of Fame grandparents — one of which has earned $3.2 million in the reining pen and ridden household names of the reining industry, such as Colonels Smoking Gun (Gunner) and Hollywood Dun It — it’s safe to say reining runs in the blood.
But as many would agree, with the McCutcheon name comes the unspoken pressure to perform well and make a name for himself.
The youngest $1 Million Rider in reining history has a nice ring to it.
As McCutcheon prepares for his first NRHA Futurity as an open rider, the 19-year-old said he feels nervous, hoping to continue to prove himself in an industry that values a rider’s experience.
“I’ve done a lot, but it’s all been on horses other people have trained. [I’m] just trying to prove myself as a trainer as well as a showman,” McCutcheon said.
His ambition includes becoming the youngest NRHA Futurity Open Champion ever, and become an NRHA Million Dollar Rider. He’s not there yet because the NRHA didn’t count earnings from The Run For A Million.
McCutcheon graciously thanked his grandparents, Tim and Colleen McQuay, for letting him ride Custom Made Gun (Gunner x Custom Made Dunit x Hollywood Dun It) — his favorite horse of all time — and now-owner Cecilia Fiorucci for allowing him to ride “Custom” in The Run For A Million. McCutcheon also thanked his parents for their lifelong support and keeping him “on good livestock” throughout the year.