“Team” is a word you hear spoken a lot by showmen at the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Futurity.
For Mandy McCutcheon, who won her tenth NRHA Futurity Level 4 Non-Pro when she guided Shining At Nite to a winning 221.5, she attributes her incredible career in large part to her family and the team that stands behind her.
The NRHA Two Million Dollar Rider from Aubrey, Texas, began showing reiners at age 12. She won her first NRHA Futurity Level 4 Non-Pro in 1993 on Hollywoods Striker.
“It’s pretty exciting. It never gets old,” she said after the finals on Friday, Dec. 4. “I just love to show, and I love reining and I love horses and I love what it does with my family. And, my family gets to be together and do it all the time.”
Mandy McCutcheon’s Career
NRHA Two Million Dollar Rider from Aubrey, Texas, began showing reiners at age 12. She won her first NRHA Futurity in 1993 on Hollywoods Striker.
Her other previous winners in the Level 4 Non-Pro were: Mi Hollywood Darlin (1994), Rawhides Banjo (2005), Haidachino Hollywood (2007), Smart Scat (2008), West Coast Mizzen (2009), Customized Gunner (2012), Ms Whiz Dunit (2013) and Best Nite Ever (2017).
This year, McCutcheon rode her home-raised and trained gelding Shining At Nite, by Gunners Special Nite, unofficially the newest NRHA Four Million Dollar Sire, and out of A Shining Sidekick, to earn the coveted CINCH Non Pro payday of $60,000.
Thanks to Futurity Challenge Donors this is the first year the Non Pro Futurity Champion has won a $60,000 paycheck.
Shining At Nite
Bred by Tom McCutcheon and owned by Tom and Mandy McCutcheon, Shining At Nite was nominated by Mandy McCutcheon.
“We bred him and raised him,” McCutcheon said. “We had his mother off and on. I wish I still had his mother, but Green Valley Ranch has her now and she’s in very good hands.”
McCutcheon says Shining At Nite was bred to be a winner and shares the heart and propensity to win that his siblings have displayed.
“This has just been an exceptional family of horses for us. [Shining At Nite] has a full brother that Carlee made the Level 4 Futurity Finals on when she was 12, and she took her brother’s record of being the youngest Level 4 finalist,” McCutcheon said. “There’s another one that Kathy Thompson used to show that’s just been a phenomenal show horse. The full siblings and now Shining At Nite have just been great, great horses.”
According to McCutcheon, Shining At Nite doesn’t resemble his siblings physically as much as he does mentally.
“This one doesn’t look like any of the other ones, the other two are sorrel with white faces,” she said. “What they resemble is just having great brains. They’re great show horses. They just go in there and try every time to be a good show horse. He’s shown well every time I’ve shown him. One time he broke gait slowing down showing him, but he was just trying to be too good.”
She had high praise for Shining At Nite’s performance in the Level 4 Non-Pro finals in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
“Every maneuver I asked him to do he just stayed hooked up,” McCutcheon said. “He was very good. Once he ran through the gate he just said, ‘Okay, whatever you want me to do.’”
And naturally, McCutcheon has a large and talented team of people behind her to thank for being a part of Shining At Nite’s journey to the winner’s circle.
“Debbie Brown trained him some as a 2-year-old, Trent Harvey trained him some, Cade trained him some, Tom trained him some. Everybody played a part in getting me where I am and that’s really been my whole career and I’m just really lucky to have such a great team around me all the time. My parents have been so supportive for my entire career,” she said.