Kristen Galyean piloted Aspen to the Breeder's Invitational Jeffrey Matthews Derby Non-Pro win. · Photo by S. Sylvester Photography

Kristen Galyean and Aspen Climb to Breeder’s Invitational Derby Non-Pro Victory

For a pair that’s working toward becoming a cohesive team, Kristen Galyean and Aspen hit their stride at only their second show together. During the Breeder’s Invitational Jeffrey Matthews Derby Non-Pro finals, held May 28, they scored a 223 to bring home the Championship.

Bred and raised by Galyean and her husband, Wesley, Aspen is out of Steven and Jessica Feiner’s mare Lil Rattler (by Dual Rey), and by legendary stallion Metallic Cat. The 4-year-old mare made the semi-finals at the 2021 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity under Wesley, then made the finals at the NCHA Super Stakes with Kristen earlier this year.

“Every time she goes into the herd, she gets more and more confident,” Galyean said. “We’re super proud of her.”

The pair scored a 221 and 219 in the go-rounds before setting the score to beat as the fifth horse in the finals. Their winning score of 223 set them above second place earners Katie Fonsen Young and Hott Shots, who marked a 218.5. Aspen and Galyean pocketed $21,802 for their efforts over the weekend.

“We’re starting to click now,” Galyean said. “She’s just a really, really good mare. If you get decent cows out in front of her, she can definitely give you an advantage.

“She stops hard, is strong, and she’s just really pretty,” Galyean continued. “She’s almost cat-like how she trots across the pen. She’s just a special horse in her style and the way she does things.”

Galyean will continue to share the reins with her husband as the season progresses, and she feels confident continuing on their journey.

“I’ve gotten to the point where I’m figuring her out and she’s figuring me out,” she said. “I can trust her and just focus on my job to give her a good cow in the cut.”

Fonsen Young and Hott Shots (Hottish x Smooth As I Can x Smooth As A Cat) collected $17,956 for the Reserve Championship.