The late David Scribner, who passed away Dec. 24, left an impact on the horse industry. * Photo by Nichole Studenberg courtesy of Minnesota Cutting Horse Association.

Trainer David Scribner Remembered as Mentor, Cowboy

Cutting horse trainer David Scribner was remembered as a mentor and friend, and great supporter of the cutting horse industry in his home state of Minnesota.

Scribner, age 70, of Stacy, Minnesota, passed away Dec. 24 after a strong fight against cancer. 

The Minnesota Cutting Horse Association eulogized Scribner on its website as a man who truly lived the cowboy life, and worked hard to achieve it. He was remembered as a mentor and friend.

“The cutting pen will never be the same without Dave out there helping everyone,” the association wrote. “We will miss his smile. We will miss the sound of his laugh. We will miss hearing him yell “all the way” when he was helping us in the pen.

“Thank you Dave for all you did for the MCHA and for everyone that had an interest in cutting or just horses.”

Discovering His Passion

Born to Gerald and LaVerne Scribner in St Paul, Minnesota, Scribner discovered his passion for working with horses at a young age when his family moved to the outskirts of the city. At 19, he was drafted into the United States military and was deployed to Vietnam for approximately one year. Upon his return to the states, he became involved with horses again and started training them for various disciplines. 

Scribner met his future wife, Dava Ratliff, at a dance hall in 1977, and they were married in 1981. Shortly thereafter, Scribner and Dava moved to a small farmstead in Stacy. It was there where they raised their daughter, Michelle, and Scribner started his cutting horse training operation. 

Though he had a talent for training a horse to do just about any job, his heart was in training cutting horses. He was a scholar of the discipline and worked tirelessly over the years to transform his property into a working cutting horse training facility and to maintain a small herd of cattle. In the winter season, he would sometimes haul horses south to train in Oklahoma and Texas.

Aside from the horses, Scribner loved country swing music and was phenomenal on the dance floor, as well as at singing. He was the type of person who was naturally good at anything he set out to do. He enjoyed spending time with his two granddaughters, Ariel and Zuri, and introducing them to horses. He had an appreciation for cooking and loved discussing ways to prepare different foods. He also liked to go fishing when he could find the time. 

Friend & Mentor

Scribner was a well-respected horseman, as well as a mentor to countless people over the years. He had many talents when it came to horsemanship, but he had a special gift when it came to teaching both people and horses how to work cattle. Scribner could usually be found on any given day working cattle with his loyal cow-dog companion, Nick, in his beautiful outdoor cutting pen. 

He served many years as a National Director for the National Cutting Horse Association, as well on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Cutting Horse Association. 

When Scribner was diagnosed with lung cancer in early 2020, he continued training and showing all through his cancer treatments. He would spend long days helping others in the show pen. There was no place he would rather be. Scribner stayed so strong and positive and always looked forward to the future show season. 

He found success in 2020 with Hollys Hot Cat, a son of NRR Cat King Cole that he bred and owned. Scribner concluded his career with earnings of $84,725 as a rider, according to Equi-Stat.

Scribner’s presence in and out of the show pen will be greatly missed by so many-his smile, his laugh, his guidance and key words of encouragement, his many (and there were many) entertaining and fascinating stories of his life experiences. 

Scribner was a cowboy in the truest sense, and those fortunate enough to know him will always remember his integrity and dedication to his chosen life. He rode off into that sunset as a much-loved and respected horseman, teacher, friend, husband, father, and grandfather. 

A celebration of Scribner’s cowboy way of life will take place at a later date that is to be determined. Memorial donations in Scribner’s honor can be sent to the Minnesota Cutting Horse Association, 32055 Hemingway Avenue, Stacy, MN 55079