Team Regal Red * Photo provided by Teton Ridge

Team Regal Red: 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 Regal Red will consist of EquiStat Elite $10 Million Rider Austin Shepard, EquiStat Elite $2 Million Rider Cade McCutcheon and EquiStat Elite $2 Million Rider Sarah Dawson. 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.

Austin Shepard

Summerdale, Alabama


Pedigree: 19M (Hottish x Show Biz Kitty x High Brow Cat)
Earnings: $544,123

Career Highlights: Won Augusta Futurity Open and 4-Year-Old Open championships at the Cotton Stakes, Brazos Bash, Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association (PCCHA) Futurity and the Southern Cutting Futurity. Reserve Champion in the 2022 NCHA Futurity Open.
Shepard: “I’ve been involved in a lot of really neat situations showing horses, but this is the most incredible event I’ve ever been to.”
Fast Fact: Kittennish is the 2023 NCHA Open Horse Of The Year. Owned by Billy Wolf, she is a daughter of EquiStat Elite $2 Million Dam Show Biz Kitty, making her a half sibling to 2020 NCHA Futurity Open Champion All Spice and 2018 NCHA Futurity Open Reserve Champion Badboonarising.

Wood She B Magic

Pedigree: 18M (Woody Be Tuff x Magic Metallic x Metallic Cat)
Earnings: $326,289
Career Highlights: Won the Augusta Futurity Open, Southern Cutting Futurity 4-Year-Old Open and the Augusta Futurity 5/6-Year-Old Open. Third in 2021 NCHA Futurity Open and competed in the inaugural cutting event at the 2023 The Run For A Million.
Fast Fact: Sold to owner Billy Wolf for a record $1,050,000 at auction as a 2-year-old. Second dam is EquiStat Elite $2 Million Producer Sweet Abra.

Cade McCutcheon

Aubrey, Texas

Finals Bound

Pedigree: 18S (Gunnatrashya X Wimpys Little Chic x Wimpys Little Step)
Earnings: $88,975
Career Highlights: Fifth in the 2022 National Reining Breeders Claccic (NRBC) Level 4 Open Derby, Fourth in the 2023 National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) Derby Level 3 Open Finals
Cade: “I bought him specifically for The Run for a Million, but the horse I was going to show at [The American Performance Horseman] got hurt,” McCutcheon explained. “So it was perfect that I had [Finals Bound] for this event as well.”
Fast Fact: “The horse’s barn name is MJ. It was supposed to be for Michael Jordan, but he hasn’t won anything yet. So, they changed it to Michael Jackson.”

Sarah Dawson

Perrin, Texas

Smart Chic An Tari

Pedigree: 17M (Smart Chic Olena x Shiney Tari x Shining Spark)
Earnings: $198,790
Career Highlights: Open Two-Rein Spectacular championships at the 2023 NRCHA Western Derby and the 2023 NRCHA Stallion Stakes. Appearance at the $200,000 Cow Horse Challenge during The Run For A Million 2023.
Fast Fact: Last year, Dawson won the reined cow horse portion of The American Performance Horseman on Smart Chic An Tari’s half sister, Shine Smarter (by WR This Cats Smart). They are both offspring of the EquiStat Elite $1 Million Dam Shiney Tari.