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Jake Telford, pictured winning the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity with Starlight Kisses, recently reached a major accomplishment in the NRCHA. • Photo by Primo Morales.

Jake Telford Passes Major Career Milestone

Jake Telford recently joined an elite club when he became the fourth National Reined Cow Horse Association trainer to become a $2 Million Dollar Rider. 

Telford, of Caldwell, Idaho, is no stranger to success in the show pen, and achieved this milestone only nine years after becoming an NRCHA Million Dollar Rider through earnings won at NRCHA-sanctioned events. 

When including other disciplines, such as cutting and reining, Telford has won more than $2.185 million, according to EquiStat.

Over the course of his NRCHA career, Telford has earned multiple titles, including 2020 World’s Greatest Horseman Co-Reserve Championship aboard Sparktilion, owned by Michelle Cannon, and 2015 Snaffle Bit Futurity® Open Championship aboard Starlight Kisses, owned by Holy Cow Performance Horses. He achieved NRCHA Million Dollar Rider status in 2012. 

 Telford’s NRCHA earnings sum going into the this year’s NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity, presented by Metallic Cat, were $2,009,625.86. He joins only three others as an NRCHA $2 Million Dollar Rider— Todd Crawford (2011), Todd Bergen (2015) and Corey Cushing (2018).

In a statement announcing the milestone, the NRCHA said that Telford pointed at Bergen, Crawford and Cushing as riders who have helped him along the way when he and the other $2 Million Riders sat down recently to discuss the distinction. 

“When your idols become your peers, and to be sitting among them, it is pretty cool to me,” Telford said. “It is so competitive anymore, there is a lot of luck involved—the right draw, the right cow and so many other factors. I don’t feel like I show better than anyone else but have had some good luck. That, and I’ve stuck to it for long enough.”

Traditionally, Telford has pushed the praised onto the owners of the horses he shows, thanking them for giving him a shot. The horses, he said, are a big part of him achieving Million Dollar and, now, $2 Million Dollar status in the NRCHA.  Telford’s earnings are still climbing as he rode RTR All Rise, owned by Loren Macey and James Baker, to the third-high rein work score in this year’s NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open prelims. 

“It’s always meaningful to celebrate the important milestones of our riders and horses,” NRCHA Executive Director Anna Morrison said in the NRCHA’s statement“To be able to celebrate Jake’s $2 million milestone at the Snaffle Bit Futurity, where he is surrounded by so many of his fellow horsemen, is particularly exciting.”