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Mandy McCutcheon, left, and Carlee McCutcheon, right, both won levels of the 2021 NRBC Non-Pro. • Photo by Kelsey Pecsek Hruska.

Mother-Daughter Day at the NRBC

Mandy McCutcheon just won her eighth National Reining Breeders Classic (NRBC) Non-Pro Championship, but said the win was especially meaningful because of the success her daughter, Carlee, also found at the show.

When the dust cleared Friday, April 23, in Katy, Texas, Mandy won the Level 4 Non-Pro with JLosa and Carlee won the Levels 3 & 2 Non-Pro with Dun With Guns. Both horses are owned by Mandy and her husband, Tom.

“That part was amazing. That put it right over the top for me,” she said of Carlee earning dual Non-Pro championships.

Level 4 Non-Pro

An Equi-Stat Elite $2 Million Rider, Mandy and JLosa marked a 224.5 to cinch the Level 4 Non-Pro Championship and $30,000. Bred by Katherine Wallis, JLosa is by the stallion Arlosa Whiz (by Topsail Whiz) and out of Spook N Jessie (by Smart Spook).

“I bought her last fall from Fred Thommson and Josefine Spangfors,” Mandy said. “They did all the work on her; I’m just getting to enjoy the glory. I tried for a long time to buy her.”

JLosa made a special first impression on Mandy. 

“Her stop is what caught my eye and I just watched her the whole time Josefine had her. I loved the look in her eye. It looked like the thoughts in her mind would be good thoughts.”

After showing JLosa at the Cactus Classic in the Open, Mandy said she gained valuable experience and adjusted a few things accordingly. “I used that run really to learn how to show her,” she said. Her changes paid big dividends by the time they arrived at NRBC. 

In the time leading up to NRBC there was some horse-swapping amongst the McCutcheon ladies, but the final decisions regarding horse and rider pairings were good ones. 

“Cade said, ‘Mom, you’ve got to give her Dununzio [Dun With Guns].’ Her big brother was looking out for her,” Mandy said. “She had three horses in the finals today and she showed every single one of them so smart. She showed each horse to its ability and I couldn’t be more proud of her.”

While a little horse trading is customary among the McCutcheons, Mandy said with a smile, “I’m not sharing JLosa. For now, momma’s keeping her. That’s the plan anyway.”

Levels 3 & 2 Non-Pro

Carlee rode Dun With Guns to a 218.5 to earn a combined $18,500.

By Equi-Stat Elite $4 Million Sire Gunners Special Nite and out of Belle Star Dunn It (by Hollywood Dun It), Dun With Guns bred by Turnabout Farm, Inc. 

Carlee, who has been in Katy, Texas, since January attending the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show with her hunter/jumpers, shifted gears into reining with ease as she prepared in the week leading up to NRBC.

“Pin Oak started in January, so I haven’t ridden many reiners since then. I just have to focus as much as I can and switch over,” she said. 

Of her performance in the finals, Carlee said her parents told her to go have fun, and that is exactly what she did.

“It was a lot of fun. My horse was with me every step. He’s super smart and honest, and I just trust him.” 

Carlee thanked her parents and grandparents, Tim and Colleen McQuay, as well as her brother Cade for all their help and support, along with Sara Willeman of Turnabout Farms for breeding Dun With Guns.

Level 1 Non-Pro

Sixteen-year-old Anna Layne Harris from Sheridan, Arkansas, made her first NRBC count when she captured the Level 1 Non-Pro Classic Championship riding Ready N Willing with a 215.5. The 2015 gelding sired by Equi-Stat Elite $3 Million Sire Walla Walla Whiz and out of Dainty Dunit (by Hollywood Dun It) is owned by Delaina Harris and was bred by Arcese Quarter Horses USA.

“I didn’t know what to think coming in, but I was really excited that everything went smooth. Overall, I was just happy that he performed,” Harris said.

Harris, who rides with Yonathan Baruch, invested a lot of time and miles into preparing for the NRBC. 

“We drive every weekend to Texas, it’s about four hours [one way] so we drive about eight hours to go ride. We went to Tulsa not long ago and cruised him through and it was really smooth. We watched the videos and saw what we could fix and just went in thinking of how to avoid any mistakes.”

Ready N Willing, aka “Red,” qualified with Baruch to the NRHA Futurity Level 4 Open finals before Harris and her family acquired him. 

“I tried him in December, and we ended up buying him then. He rides a lot like my old horse, so it was very easy to step on him and adjust. He’s very quirky, he likes scratches and anything he can eat.”

Harris said her horse handled the run-in pattern for the NRBC fnals with confidence. 

“I had run very few run-in patterns, so I was very excited to get to do that. He was really free and his circles were really good. I was nervous about the turns, but he got through it good.”