Team Burnt Orange * Photo by Teton Ridge

Team Burnt Orange: Who Will They Ride for The American Performance Horseman 2024?

On January 8 Teton Ridge announced the teams that riders would compete on for The American Performance Horseman 2024. Each rider qualified by being a top earner in their respective discipline in 2023. Five riders from the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA), the National Reining Horse Association (NRHA), and the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) were split onto teams of three with one rider from each discipline. This year, Team Burnt Orange will consist of EquiStat Elite $5 Million Rider Morgan Cromer, EquiStat Elite $2 Million Rider Brian Bell and EquiStat Elite $4 Million Rider Corey Cushing. Last year, team Royal Blue won.

Per show rules, the qualified riders can take any horse they would like with the exception of NRCHA riders who can take any bridle horse. On March 1, riders will officially choose their horses but Quarter Horse News sat down with the riders ahead of time to see which horses they were considering taking.

Horse earnings below are provided by EquiStat statistical service.

Morgan Cromer

Templeton, California

Cool Guitar

Pedigree: 20S (Stevie Rey Von x This Kats Kool x WR This Cats Smart)
Earnings: $87,686
Career Highlights: Fifth in the 2023 NCHA Futurity Open.
Cromer: “It’s such an elite group, and I’m so lucky to be able to be in that group, especially with the region that we live in. I’m just so thankful to have this opportunity and really, really looking forward to it. [I’m trying] not to put the pressure of it being a huge competition as much as just enjoying the process of it all.”
Fast Fact: A Californian, Cromer is an EquiStat Elite $5 Million Rider. Cool Guitar is one of the youngest horses to compete in The American Performance Horseman. His first show was the 2023 NCHA Futurity, which concluded in December and is only open to horses who haven’t previously been shown on cattle.

Brian Bell

Valley View, Texas

The 2023 NRHA Open Futurity Champion is counting on Gunna Whoa, owned by Catherine Crandon, to carry him to victory at this million-dollar event for Team Burnt Orange.

Gunna Whoa

Pedigree: 17S (Inferno Sixty Six x Whoawhiz x Topsail Whiz)
Earnings: $47,877
Career Highlights: 2020 NRHA Futurity L3 Open Finalist, 2023 Adequan® NAAC Open & Ancillary Open Champion
Fun Fact: “He’s got a real long mane, and he likes to flip his hair around and put on a show when he’s turned out.”
Bell: “I used to show a lot of world title horses, and you show up the morning of, get your horse off the trailer, and get it ready to go,” Bell revealed. “I’ve won six world titles doing it that way. So, I think it will be fun to go back to the way we used to go to a horse show, when I was younger.”

Corey Cushing

Weatherford, Texas

SJR Talkin Diamonds

Pedigree: 17S (Smooth Talkin Style x Shiners Diamond Girl x Shining Spark)
Career Highlights: 2022 Reserve Champion Celebration of Champions Open Derby, 2023 NRCHA Western Derby Open Two-Rein Spectacular Finalist
Cushing: “I just want to make sure that I represent [SJR Talkin Diamonds] the San Juan Ranch, represent my team the best that we can be,” Cushing said. “This is a celebration to us. We’re gonna go there, we’re going to have fun of course, it’s going to be very serious and we’re going to all be trying our best, but at the end of the day, you need to look up in the stands and pat yourself on the back for making it this far because of the days and the time that we put into it. And of course thank the horse for getting us here.”

Team Burnt Orange members for The American Performance Horseman 2024.