For Whitney Hall and J Noble Daggett, the second time proved to be the charm.
After earning the Reserve Championship at last year’s Art of the Cowgirl’s World’s Greatest Horsewoman, Whitney Hall hoped to come back in 2022 and make the finals.
She did that and more astride stallion J Noble Daggett, showing quiet determination throughout the preliminaries and advancing to the clean-slate finals in the back of the pack.
“The horses and women are absolutely amazing so just to be in the short round with them was quite an honor. I just wanted to do my job well and show my horse to the best of his ability. The cows are what they are,” Hall said.
Putting together a substantial 586.5 composite, Hall and J Noble Daggett bested the field of 11 competitors during the finals Sunday, Jan. 22 in Queen Creek, Arizona. Individual event scores were not posted at time of publication.
“My goal this year was to make the short round. I said ‘Just show [J Noble Daggett] to the best of your ability and no major penalties,’” Hall said. “We’re the strongest in the steer stopping – if I can catch – and the fence work because he loves to stop.”
Their first-place finish earned them $7,764 and a paid entry into the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) World’s Greatest Horseman competition, which starts Feb. 11 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Preparation is Key
Hall worked diligently with mentor and friend Nelle Murphy in preparation for the reining portion of the event. According to Hall, both she and J Noble Daggett were transformed under the watchful eyes of Murphy.
“What an amazing [finals] day. We started off with reining and had probably the best reining run we’ve ever had. The fence work was a little sketchy not going to lie, the cow didn’t want to move and I was thinking ‘Should I take it? Should I [wait]?’ I went with my gut and let the cow take us down the fence. J Noble rated and stopped huge. I just tried to stay in the cow and not overdo it,” Hall said.
As far as strategy, Hall tried to stay as far away from the action as possible between runs during the finals and concentrate on J Noble Daggett.
“I tried to have him ready to the best of his ability and not think about the scores. Just enjoy the moment, I didn’t want to get too worked up,” Hall said.
The Partnership that Almost Wasn’t
J Noble Daggett and Hall fit each other well, but according to Hall the partnership almost didn’t happen. Bred and owned by Shannon and Ronda Hall of Loco, Oklahoma, the 8-year-old stallion was at one point slated to be sold.
“We were actually going to put him in the Fort Worth sale at the futurity, and they said Smart Little Lena was outdated. So, we ended up keeping him, and it’s a God thing that I’ve been able to ride him,” Hall said.
One of 13 money earners out of Royal Red Pepto (by Peptoboonsmal), J Noble Daggett’s lifetime EquiStat earnings have pushed to nearly $20,000 with the World’s Greatest Horsewoman victory.
Hall is now looking forward to the next challenge, the World’s Greatest Horseman show at the NRCHA Celebration of Champions.
“[At the World’s Greatest Horseman] I just plan on doing my job. It’ll be such an honor to be there and I have nothing to lose. Don’t take anything for granted,” Hall concluded.
Reserve Champion Sunday night at the World’s Greatest Horsewoman was Kimberlyn Fitch and 2013 stallion Cayenne Cat (Metallic Cat x Hulaote x Doc Quixote). The pair put together a 582 composite for a $6,211 payday for owner Kenneth Jones, of Lamoille, Nevada.