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Hunter Hays and Metallic Metal * Photo by Primo Morales

Hunter Hays and Metallic Metal Win Youth Cow Horse Spectacular

Finishing three-and-a-half points ahead of reserve champion Landri Lisac, Hunter Hays clinched the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Teton Ridge Stallion Stakes Youth Cow Horse Spectacular win aboard Metallic Metal (Metallic Cat x Nurse Gray x Grays Starlight) Monday, April 8, 2024 at the South Point Equestrian Center in Las Vegas, NV. With a total score of 436.5, Hays and Metallic Metal marked a 145.0 in the herd work, a 144 in the rein work and a 147.5 on the cow.

After preparing for the show with lots of fence work and getting their feel for each other, Hays rode into the arena knowing he could count on the 8-year-old red roan gelding to get the job done. Bred by Dottie St Clair Hill, Hunter Hays now owns Metallic Metal and has since June of 2023.

“I just had to trust him, because he knows what he’s doing, and I just needed to get out of his way a little bit to let him work in the rein run and in the cutting, too,” Hays said. “I can rely on him so much when there is a cow in front of him. I just put my hand down, and he pretty much does it. He’s just such a good boy. He’s kind of a funny horse, but he takes care of me, gets excited when there’s a cow in front of him and just likes doing his job.”

With a great support system, Hays credits much of his success to his father and coach Shawn Hays, his herd help Chris Dawson, Corey Cushing and Shane Steffen and his Lord and Savior. Raised around success in the horse industry, his father recently won the World’s Greatest Horseman and became an NRCHA $1 Million Rider; and the 14-year-old from Weatherford, Texas has his sights set on goals just as big.

“I get really nervous until after I show. I don’t want to drive all the way out to Vegas and take a hole in the trailer just to mess up. I’ve won the Snaffle Bit Youth Boxing class, but this is my first ever fence win. I get to get on these nice horses, and I know what it’s like and what I need to get out of the horses I try and train. I’m not just lost because I know what it feels like and how to get there getting to ride nice horses like this,” Hays said. “My goal is to win every major event at least once – The Run For A Million, The American. My goal for this year and next year is just to make clean runs and try to make it to the finals and Youth World’s Greatest.”

Although Hays knows what it’s like to win, he’s always focused on doing his job and supporting his friends in the industry.

“Almost everybody that shows, I’m good friends with. So after I show, I wish them all the best of luck and try not to listen to the scores. I just don’t want to wish bad luck on anybody,” Hays said. “I try not to watch anybody before I go, either. I just want to know my pattern, go in there and do it, do my job, go back to the stalls and try not to listen.”

The Reserve Champion behind Hays and Metallic Metal, Landri Lisac and Cat Walks Into a Bar (WR This Cats Smart x Sue C Shiner x Shining Spark) scored a 144.0 in the herd work, a 146.0 in the rein work and a 143.0 on the cow for a total of 433 points. Coming in third, Riley Friesen and Ima Wild Haired Mate (Wild Haired Cat x Mates Sally Goodin x Smart Mate) ended up with a total score of 428.5 points.