Patty Ralls has achieved a lot of things in a variety of disciplines, but in 2021 she added a new one -- World's Greatest Horsewoman. * photo by Kate Bradley Byars

Patty Ralls Wins World’s Greatest Horsewoman

If ever there were someone with a background tailor-made for the World’s Greatest Horsewoman competition, it was Patty Ralls.

Ralls, of Gainesville, Texas, entered the 2021 World’s Greatest Horsewoman competition with show experience in cutting, reined cow horse, barrel racing and roping. That included making appearances in the Non-Pro finals of the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit, American Rope Horse and National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) futurities. And, she’d earned several Non-Pro Bridle championships at the NRCHA’s most prestigious events.

On Saturday, Jan. 17, she added the World’s Greatest Horsewoman to her list of achievements.

She did it with Solano Cat, an equally experienced 16-year-old son of High Brow Cat owned by Hershel and Shannon Reid, of Pilot Point, Texas. The best feeling of the event was when Solano Cat had command of the cow during her final fence work run, she said.

“When he was circling up that cow, I just knew that he had him and that cow wasn’t getting away and my heart just jumped out of my chest,” she said.

World’s Greatest Horsewoman

Held in conjunction with Art of The Cowgirl, the World’s Greatest Horsewoman competition is patterned off the World’s Greatest Horseman event held during the NRCHA Celebration of Champions. Riders must compete in four events: herd work, rein work, steer stopping and cow work.

Riders compete in all four events during the preliminary round, and for the finals do rein and cow work.

Ralls and Solano Cat entered the 10-horse finals with the top preliminary score of 584, and added 144.5 in the rein work and 149.5 down the fence for the winning composite of 878. They earned $3,870 for the win.

World’s Greatest Horsewoman Reserve Champions J Noble Daggett (Smart Little Lena x Royal Red Pepto x Peptoboonsmal) and Whitney Hall finished with a final composite of 869. They earned $

Solano Cat

The winning horse, Solano Cat, is a 2005 stallion has a varied and long show career with multiple riders. It’s also a record marked in versatility: Not only did he win in reined cow horse wins, but he also picked up another $3,700 in reining earnings in spite of the fact he was bred to be a cutter.

His show career started in 2008, where he made the finals of the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity with Ralls’ husband and the horse’s most frequent show companion, Ron. The duo had what would be Solano Cat’s most successful season the next year, when they earned the 2009 NRCHA Stallion Stakes Open Reserve Championship and were named American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Junior Working Cow Horse Reserve World Champions.

Over the next few years, the horse competed in reined cow horse with Ron Ralls and Todd Bergen, and in reining with co-owner Shannon Reid and trainer Stefano Calcagnini. Patty Ralls won her first classes with him last year, picking up two wins Intermediate Open Bridle and two reserves in the Open Bridle at the Fall Into Autumn show.

In all, he won $122,570 prior to the World’s Greatest Horsewoman.