Lloyd Cox is the first person to ride more than $10 million in winners in the Western performance horse industry. His leading earner is NCHA Futurity Open Champion One Time Royalty. • Forrest Photo.

Lloyd Cox: Thoughts From the $10 Million Man

Every sport has their superstar. Michael Phelps, Michael Jordan and Usain Bolt all share the honor of being star-studded household names in the world of sports. Cutting’s superstar is a little different.

Lloyd Cox, an unassuming cowboy from Marietta, Oklahoma, has earned himself the honor of being the first $10 million rider in Western performance horse history. 

He entered the year with $10 million recorded in EquiStat, a database that compiles statistics on multiple disciplines and additional incentives, and recently at the Breeder’s Invitational also became the first rider to win $10 million in the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA).

“I hadn’t thought about it ever happening. I don’t know how to what words to put with it. I’m happy, proud, humbled but it, really,” said Cox. “I look back and it was very difficult, but I was never aiming for [$10 million].”

Posting his first check to EquiStat in 1985, Cox started a spree that saw him gain momentum through the decades, never missing a year of earning. Joining the ranks of the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Rider Hall of Fame in 2000, Cox continued to climb and has come home with just about every Open title one could want in Limited Age Events.

His biggest year of earning was 2019, with $798,318 garnered according to EquiStat. Cox’s dedication to the sport is apparent with his winnings and seemingly constant presence in the competition arena, either cutting himself or turning back for a peer.

Lloyd Cox on his leading earners:

1. One Time Royalty
07S (One Time Pepto x Royal Serena Belle x Shorty Lena) 
Earnings: $447,383
Major Titles: 2010 NCHA Futurity Open Champion, 2013 NCHA Hall of Fame Inductee 

Described as a great athlete by Cox, One Time Royalty showed his stuff in both the pen and breeding barn.

“After he’d come back from the breeding barn he’d be real happy. He’d always buck, and it wasn’t a mean buck, he was just feeling good. When he was dialed-in he was an exceptional individual,” Cox said. “He had a big stop, he was very broke, sensitive and had character.”

2. TR Dual Rey
99S (Dual Rey x Peppys Misty Oaks x Candy Bar Peppy)
Earnings: $353,174
Major Titles: 2003 NCHA Super Stakes Derby Open Reserve Champion, 2003 NCHA Derby Open Reserve Champion

TR Dual Rey was a pure cow horse, according to Cox. 

“He wasn’t the greatest athlete I ever rode but he was very smart and had a lot of look in front of a cow. He stole some points [that way]. He was cowy, he wanted to do his job,” Cox said.

3. Smooth Talkin Style
11S (Smooth As A Cat x Stylish Play Lena x Docs Stylish Oak)
Earnings: $305,284
Major Titles: 2015 NCHA Open Horse of the year2014 NCHA Futurity Open Co-Reserve Champion

Smooth Talkin Style was described as a “good individual” by Cox. 

“If you cut a good cow that was easy to manage, he’d work it – but he was just playing. When you cut him a tough cow he would draw his knife and get serious. He enjoyed it. When you cut a soft cow it was like he was saying ‘It’s too easy!’” Cox recalled.

Advice and Thanks 

When asked what his advice would be to a younger version of himself, Cox cautioned against overthinking.

“I’ve always felt like you don’t need to overthink it. When you go down there and let it happen, things go much easier. Go down there and let yourself do what you do. Overthinking it will get you in more trouble than anything,” he said. 

According to Cox, his wife Christina keeps the show going with scheduling horses, kids and more. 

“She does such an excellent job, and it makes such a huge difference for me, so I can focus on what I do. There are too many other people to thank. I’ve had a lot of good help: Turnback, herd holders, people who have worked for me that have done such a great job and owners,” Cox said.