Super Stakes Wrap Up

Jesse Crandall and Bling Bling Blonde.

Jesse Crandall and Bling Bling Blonde placed first in the finals of the Super Stakes in the 4-year-old Super Stakes (SS) class, with a 143, and earning himself $3,232. Reserve Champion was BSF Sister Dereka, owner Gwen McMeeken and rider Brad Pedersen, earning $2,102.

Compliments of PS Video, watch video of Jesse Crandall and Bling Bling Blonde here:
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Dustin Gonnet and Peptos Miss San.

In the Open to the World (OTW) 4-year-old class Dustin Gonnet finished as champion aboard Rod Macdonald’s Peptos Miss San, earning $1,031. Reserve was Gonnet again on Cow Smarts owned by Ron Patton earning $832.

Marion Sapergia and Noon Date.

In the 4-year-old Non-Pro SS, Marion Sapergia secured the championship aboard Noon Date, earning, $1,658 for herself. Larry Sands garnered reserve championship aboard My Own Socks.

Compliments of PS Video, watch run of Marion Sapergia and Noon Date here now:

In the 4-year-old Non-Pro OTW, Carl Gerwien won the championship aboard Smooth As A Cat, and Scott Wardley came second with Hay Rey.

Dustin Gonnet and Christinas Blue.

In the Open 5/6-year-old Dustin Gonnet rode Christinas Blue to the championship earning $1,570 for owner Ron Patton. Reserve was My Own Badger, owned by Harvey Giese and ridden by Lorne Christianson. Reserve paid $806.

In the Non-Pro 5/6-year-old rider Danny Jones took home $1,570 for his win on Sweet Little Gal. Reserve was Rob Leman on Lizzys Play Girl earning $1,273.

Danny Jones on Sweet Little Gal.

Matt Anderson aboard Whata Bout Trona took home the championship in the Non-Pro 7-up, earning $1,398. Don Smith enjoyed a good show with a reserve placing in the same class on Genuine Docs Jessie, earning $1,134.

Matt Anderson and Whata Bout Trona.

The Super Stakes show also features a Pro & Non-Pro/Amateur class where an open rider rides in one class, a non-pro or amateur in the next, with a finals feature. This year’s champion team was trainer Dustin Gonnet and non-pro Wayne Meakin, riding Dandy Lil Freck. The winning pair earned $1,132. Adding to his roster of fine finishes at the show Dustin Gonnet also picked up reserve in the class, with partner Al Gerla, on Gerla’s My Own San Lena.

Wayne Meakin on Dandy Lil Freck.

Coteau Range Barrel Futurity

Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan will host a unique set of events this coming weekend – the second Saskatchewan Versatility Ranch Horse Competition, and for the first time ever – the Coteau Range Barrel Racing Futurity and Derby.

Both events will take place August 13 – 15 at the Golden Mile Arena in Moose Jaw. (Versatility competition in the indoor arena and the barrel racing events in the outdoor pen). The barrel racing event features a $10,000 added purse ($6,000 in the futurity and $4,000 in the derby), courtesy of Youngs Equipment Ltd. of Moose Jaw.

Photo by Sherry Clemens

Barrel racers commence with their first of two long-go runs Friday, Aug 13 at 3:00 pm. The second go is staged for Saturday at noon with AQHA-approved Open and Youth Barrel Races and a SBRA Jackpot later Saturday afternoon. The Futurity and Derby short go is set for Sunday, Aug 15 at 9:00 am Sunday morning followed by another Open/Youth barrel race and SBRA jackpot.

The Ranch Horse Versatility side of the weekend begins Saturday morning at 8:00 am (Open and Amateur), with each competitor competing the trail pattern then the ranch riding pattern around the perimeter of the trail pattern.

Youth Ranch Trail and Ranch Riding follow with Cutting staged for the afternoon.

Saturday evening features an Exhibitors Supper and Sponsor Recognition event with the balance of the Ranch Horse Versatility competition running on Sunday along with the Barrel Racing events.

Event producers have worked hard to secure sponsorship. In addition to the $10,000 Youngs Equipment Ltd. Futurity/Derby purse, the Open Division Versatility Ranch Horse Champion will receive a one year lease on a new Exiss Stock trailer sponsored by Moose Jaw Toyota Trailer Sales. Champions in the Open, Amateur and Youth will receive championship buckles. Novice Amateur and each individual class winners will receive a blanket.

Various other prizes such as Fast Barrel Racing time for the weekend will receive a magnetic blanket sponsored by www.TheBestBandages.ca

There is no charge for spectators to attend the event – which should be exciting with some of Canada’s top barrel racers in attendance along with a talented slate of Versatility competitors and cutters.

A highlight of the event is the draw for a raffle colt. Spectators and exhibitors are encouraged to purchase a ticket on the raffle colt to help fund this event and future events. To be raffled off is an outstanding yearling gelding donated by Fafard Ranch Horses, (Glen Fafard of Mortlach, Saskatchewan home of Leos Last Sensation).

Photo by Sherry Clemens

Visitors to Moose Jaw, “the friendly City” can be expected to receive some of the most genuine hospitality to be found anywhere.  Moose Jaw is rich with history and is one of the best places to visit on the prairies.

Numerous attractions exist in Moose Jaw such as Casino Moose Jaw, Temple Gardens Mineral Spa, Sahara Spa, Crescent Park, Golf Courses galore, Museum and Art Gallery, Western Development Museum, Murals of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan Burrowing Owl Interpretive Centre, Tunnels of Moose Jaw, and the Yvette Moore Art Gallery to name a few.

Event producers, (Sherry Clemens, Rosemarie Ortman, Candis Molde, Glen & Kelly Fafard, Lanette Lewis & Milt Rigetti) are exited about the weekend. Join them for what promises to be an exciting show. For more information, check out thewebsite: www.skversatilityranchhorse.com

For upcoming Canadian Barrel Futurity/Derby events, go to www.canadianbarrelfuturities.com

Western Elite Rider Awarded

Sir Winston Churchill once opined that the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a person. Well, that’s rarely more evident than during the 10 midsummer days that make up the Calgary Stampede.

Equine events constitute an integral part of the fabric of the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. The Stampede’s Heavy Horse events and trio of Western Performance Horse events – the Team Cattle Penning Competition, the Cutting Horse Competition, and the Working Cow Horse Classic – attract big crowds and draw elite competitors from across the continent, and 2010 was no exception.

“Through all of our events, we presented the best of the best to a Stampede audience,” said Christine Sowiak, chair of the Stampede’s Western Performance Horse committee. “We were fortunate enough to field a very deep pool of competitors, and that included our own regional competitors. We showed that the quality of Canadian trainers and riders, Canadian horses, and Canadian-bred horses is every bit as good as Texas and California, Oklahoma and Montana.”

Brad Pedersen of Lacombe, Alta., won the Calgary Stampede’s second annual Elite Western Rider Award, which honours excellence and versatility in the Western Performance Horse arena. Pedersen was seventh in the Open division of the Cutting Horse Competition, and fifth in the Open Hackamore division of the Working Cow Horse Classic. Photo: Calgary Stampede

Brad Pedersen of Lacombe, Alta., emerged as the second winner of the Stampede’s Elite Western Rider Award, introduced in 2009 to honour rider excellence and versatility in the Western Performance Horse arena. All riders who compete in at least two of the three disciplines are eligible for the Elite Western Rider Award, and all competitors earn points toward the title with Top-10 finishes in at least two of the events.

Pedersen posted a seventh-place finish aboard Hicks First Player, owned by Dr. Geoff Thomas of Red Deer, in the Open division of the Cutting Horse Competition on Thursday, July 15. He followed it up with a fifth-overall placement on Have a Drink On Me, owned by Jim Dobler of Delburne, Alta., in the Open Hackamore division of the Working Cow Horse Classic on Sunday, July 18.

“It’s very much an honour to be recognized for competing in both of these events, and doing relatively well in both of them, I’m lucky enough to have some good horses, and that makes a world of difference,” said Pedersen, who’s won the Open Snaffle Bit title 10 times at the Canadian Supreme in Red Deer.

Pedersen’s closest rival in the chase for the Elite Western Rider Award was Les Timmons of Kamloops, B.C., who was Open reserve champion in the cutting, but didn’t place high enough in Open Hackamore during Sunday’s Working Cow Horse Classic to keep pace with Pedersen.

Lindsey Thorlakson of Carstairs, Alta., was part of the winning team in the Calgary Stampede’s 14 Class Team Cattle Penning competition on Friday, July 9. It was Thorlakson’s third team penning title in two Stampedes. Photo: Calgary Stampede

Lindsey Thorlakson of Carstairs, Alta., earned her third Stampede Team Cattle Penning championship in just over a year on Friday, July 9, winning the 14 Class along with Russell Armstrong of Armstrong, B.C., and Pete Molnar of Langley, B.C. The Open Class was won by Lonnie and Skylar Hanson of Calgary, along with Jody Elliott of Lacombe, on Sunday, July 11. Husband-and-wife tandem Steve Sigouin and Deja Iannone of Abbotsford, B.C., along with Katy Kosinski of Williams Lake, B.C., claimed the 10 Class crown on Saturday, July 10, while Ron Vogel of Strathmore, Alta., Denise Guzowski of Millarville, Alta., and Debbie Myslicki of Calgary teamed up to win the 7 Class title on Monday, July 12. In all, 481 teams from across the Western half of North America vied for more than $225,000 in prize money.

The Stampede’s 38th annual cutting competition was, for the second straight year, a participating event in the Mercuria/NCHA World Series of Cutting. Tom Lyons of Grandview, Texas, scored a dramatic win in the Open division, scoring 231 points aboard Thomas E Hughes to edge Timmons and Smart Frele Cat, who’d posted a 230. Dan Hansen of Nampa, Ida., nudged his career earnings above $1 million by winning his second Stampede Non-Pro crown in three years aboard Woody Be Lucky. Calgary’s Andrea Rudkin, riding Anita Steady Date, won her second consecutive Youth crown.

In the Working Cow Horse Classic, John Swales of Millarville, Alta., scored a breathtaking, two-round aggregate score of 301 on Maximum Echo under the Big Top to win his sixth career Stampede Open Bridle title on Sunday, July 18. John’s brother Clint, of HighRiver, Alta., won Open Hackamore on The Mask with a 291 aggregate, while Bart Holowath of Cayley, Alta., took Non-Pro Bridle with a 292.

The Stampede’s Heavy Horse Pull attracted 22 teams from as far away as Michigan, Oregon, and Washington, but it was a local puller who really found his niche under the Big Top. Dennis Weinberger’s Springbank Belgians outfit of Cochrane, Alta., won the lightweight division on Friday, July 16, and followed it up with victory in the middleweight division on Saturday, July 17. Sunday night, Weinberger’s mammoth duo of Dan and Jesse set a new weight record of 13,200 pounds while winning the heavyweight division – allowing Weinberger to sweep all three classes for the first time in Stampede Heavy Horse Pull history.

During the World Champion Six Horse Hitch Competition, the highlight of the Heavy Horse Show, Brian Coleman of Didsbury, Alta., earned his third Stampede driving crown on Sunday, July 11 in the Pengrowth Saddledome, leading the Jackson Fork Ranch outfit ofBondurant, Wyo., to victory. For the first time in recent memory, five wagons were called back for a drive-off, with the Jackson Fork Ranch hitch emerging victorious.

In 2010, heavy horses celebrated their 125th anniversary as part of Calgary’s annual agricultural fair, dating back to the Stampede’s predecessor, the Calgary Industrial Exhibition. As a species, they’re the longest-running agricultural component of the Stampede and its predecessors, and the only livestock class consistently presented throughout that period.

During the 30th annual Canadian National Miniature Horse Show in the Agriculture Barns, FirstKnight’sHotChildintheCity, owned and bred by Calgary’s K.C. Pappas of First Knight Miniatures, was named Supreme Halter Horse, or overall champion, on Tuesday, July 13. Horse Haven, also in the Agriculture Barns, featured 18 breeds of light horses, with 10 days’ worth of exhibitions and presentations.

Calgary Stampede Cutting Results

In a stunning reversal of fortune, defending champions Les (Hollywood) Timmons of Kamloops, B.C., and Smart Frele Cat laid down an eye-popping score of 230 on Thursday evening – and then watched as Lyons, the cutting guru from Grandview, Texas, and Thomas E Hughes upstaged that performance with a breathtaking 231 to win the Open division of the Calgary Stampede’s 38th annual Cutting Horse Competition under the Big Top.

Lyons, who has stacked up $3.5 million in career earnings through half a century of National Cutting Horse Association competition, stuffs another $8,822.40 in his Wranglers and wins his first Calgary Stampede championship buckle, to boot.

“My exact thoughts? Les had a helluva run . . . and I told the owner of the horse (Don Boone of West Columbia, Texas), ‘They pay second-place money here. I really think we need to try for second,’ ” recalled Lyons, who has won every major NCHA event in existence, including the Futurity, the Summer Spectacular, the Derby, and the World Finals. “He said, ‘That’s fine. Whatever you want to do.’ But after that first great cow, I said, ‘To heck with it, guys – I’m going for the win.’ This was one of those kind of runs that you dream about. I wouldn’t change any part of that run. I’m gonna tell you, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

Tom Lyons, fourth from right, of Grandview, Texas, won the Open division title aboard Thomas E Hughes during the Calgary Stampede’s 38th annual Cutting Horse Competition under the Big Top on Thursday night. Lyons won $8,822.40 and his first Stampede buckle. Photo: Calgary Stampede

Timmons, who’d won the 2009 Stampede cutting competition aboard Smart Frele Cat, had laid down the gauntlet with a dazzling run, as the pair befuddled a trio of bovines and got the Big Top crowd on its feet. He eventually earned a second-place cheque for $7,057.92 as reserve champ.

“The horse was good. I couldn’t ask for him to do any more. We cut good cows, and he was where he needed to be,” said Timmons, who earned his Hollywood nickname decades ago during cuttings at Vancouver’s Pacific National Exhibition (PNE). “That’s my first (230). The NCHA world record is a 232.

“But I’m still feeling happy about this particular show,” added Timmons, a multi-time Stampede Open champ who’s also the president of the Canadian Cutting Horse Association. “They used to have an aggregate award, and in a total score over three runs, I’ve still got a seven-point lead (over Lyons). We were marked at 225 the first go-round and had a 223.5 in the second. So my horse was super-consistent.”

The sport of cutting highlights the pure athleticism, instinct, agility and intelligence of the cutting horse. With horse-and-rider teams attempting to cut at least three individual cows out of a herd within 150 seconds, cutting has evolved into one of the most exciting equine events in North America. The Stampede’s four-day cutting competition, which began Monday, July 12 at the Okotoks Agricultural Society, is the sixth event on this year’s Mercuria/NCHA World Series, which has expanded to eight stops from its original four-city tour in 2009.

Because of the World Series’ involvement, the Stampede’s Cutting Horse Competition featured $25,000 in added money in each of the Open and Non-Pro divisions. The Open division featured a purse of $37,408, compared to $42,296 in Non-Pro.

Dustin Gonnet of Cayley, Alta., placed third in the Open division aboard Christanis Blue, owned by Ronald Patton of Nanton, Alta., with a 222 score that earned him $5,293.44. Will Nuttall of Red Lodge, Mont., had some rotten luck in Thursday’s championship round – he placed two entries in the final 11, but lost a cow each time to drop out of contention.

Dan Hansen of Nampa, Ida., holding reins at left, won his second Non-Pro division title in three years Thursday night on Woody Be Lucky at the Calgary Stampede’s 38th annual Cutting Horse Competition under the Big Top. The win was worth $9,988.80. Photo: Calgary Stampede

Dan Hansen of Nampa, Ida., later won his second Stampede Non-Pro title in three years on Woody Be Lucky, scoring 227 and earning a winner’s cheque of $9,988.80. Nuttall’s daughter Fallon was reserve champ with a 224 aboard Shortys Royal Blue, earning $7,991.04. “I was (NCHA Non-Pro) world champion on this horse in 2007,” said Hansen. “His barn name is Super Freak, because he’s big for a cutting horse. He’s kind of a freak of nature.”

Andrea Rudkin of Calgary, aboard Anita Steady Date, won her second straight Youth division title at the Calgary Stampede’s 38th annual Cutting Horse Competition under the Big Top on Thursday night. She captured the Bill Collins Youth Excellence Award. Photo: Calgary Stampede

For the second straight year, Andrea Rudkin of Calgary won the Bill Collins Youth Excellence Award as Youth division champion, with a 215.5-point ride sealing a three-round aggregate title. This time around, she earned the Stampede title on her own horse, six-year-old mare Anita Steady Date, which she’s owned for two months. “I get along with her great. She’s the smoothest horse I’ve ever owned, and she’s also the prettiest,” said Rudkin, 16. “She has a lot of heart, and she’ll show it even with the toughest cows.”

The NCHA’s popularity has gone international in the past few years, and that was evident again Thursday as a father-and-son team, Daniel and Benjamin Jaeggi of Geneva, Switzerland, advanced to the Non-Pro and Youth finals, respectively. Daniel, the founder of Mercuria Global Energy Solutions, the title sponsor on the NCHA’s World Series, finished sixth in Non-Pro with a 214 on Bobs Lucky Lady. Benjamin, 14, acquitted himself well on WR Bingo Lingo, earning a 213 in Thursday’s final to go along with earlier scores of 210 and 211 in only his second cutting show. The first was in the north of France earlier this year.

“I always wanted to do cutting. One day I woke up and I said, ‘It’s time,’” said Benjamin, whose sister Constance, 20, has shown in previous years at the Stampede’s cutting competition. “I like the contact between the horse and the cow. The feeling when he stops, when he runs . . . I love it.

“I was a bit scared at the beginning of the week,” added Benjamin, “but when I scored a 210, I was really happy. I told myself it’s for fun; why be scared?”

A Silver Spoonful

Hes A Peptospoonful. Photo by Don Shugart

I recently read on www.sallyharrison.com that David and Stacie McDavid – owners of Hes A Peptospoonful – have offered to dish out $1 million dollars to the owner of any Hes A Peptospoonful offspring who can claim the title of National Cutting Horse Association Open Futurity Champion through to 2013. I believe this was in place for the 2009 Futurity, but obviously unclaimed, as the Dual Rey-sired stallion Rockin W was guided to that spectacular 229 finish by Tony Piggott.

The McDavid family are also offering a sizable bonus to non-pro, limited non-pro and amateur winners sired by Hes A Peptospoonful or Widows Freckles at all three of NCHA’s Triple Crown events, through the 2014 NCHA Summer Spectacular. In fact, they intend to match the official NCHA payout to any Hes A Peptospoonful-sired or Widows Freckles-sired offspring that win the non-pro, limited non-pro and amateur divisions of the NCHA Futurity, NCHA Super Stakes and NCHA Derby from the 2009 NCHA Futurity through the 2014 NCHA Derby.

According to Harrison’s blog post, David McDavid purchased Hes A Peptospoonful at the 2001 NCHA Futurity, where the three-year-old “had captured headlines by becoming the first horse in 30 years to win both go-rounds and the semi-finals. The red roan stallion was in the news again during the 2006 NCHA Futurity, where his first foals made an impressive showing in the finals.”

Hes A Peptospoonful stands at Joe Landers Stallion Station near the cutting capital of North America, Weatherford, Texas. His stud fee is currently $8,500 U.S.

Mentally Tough Cutting

Whatever your discipline, any competitive horse sport really is 20% sport-based and 80% mental.

One of the first clinics I ever participated in was cutting horse trainer Barbra Schulte‘s mentally tough cutting clinic. Here’s a group shot of clinic participants from that day.

Yeah, it was a bit ago – March, 1997 to be precise. Phil, is that you? Kat? Man, I miss you guys. . .

You’ll might recognize some cutters who have gone on to become cool and confident champions in the cutting pen, since this clinic a decade ago. I myself have been a fan of hers since. Barbra offers up some very powerful ways to improve your competitive game. Her mentally tough strategies are energized with powerful messages, tips and skills – not only designed for cutting, but for any competitive sport.

Keeping in mind Barbra’s mentally tough messages as a foundation, I continue to develop myself as a rider, and improve my ability to perform under pressure and overcome the fear and anxiety which in the past, often ruled me prior to entering the show pen.

In fact, I still have Barbra’s original three VHS set of Mentally Tough Cutting. There they are – right between Fantasia and Jurassic Park!

Of course, most of my fellow competitors likely have the DVD version. Either way, it’s a great insight into mentally tough cutting. Video One concentrates completely on the mentally tough program. Video Two and Three – Physical and Behavioral Characteristics of Cattle and Herd Management Skills offer unique insights into reading cattle – a crucial skill in cutting. Other than the format of my personal copy, there is nothing dated about these videos, they are timeless instruction in strategies and herdwork we can all benefit from.

So, when Barbra announced she was in the process of expanding the original tapes, I wanted to let you know about it. She has a special offer on the current DVD and you can access it here. I should mention, this offer is only good until midnight, June 21st.

In case you’re not familiar with Barbra’s Mentally Tough program, here’s a quick clip from the original tape.

A Weekend with Leon Harrel

Taking notes from legend Leon Harrel at Thorlakson’s Bullpen Arena.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to take part in a cutting clinic designed for amateur cutters such as myself, and hosted by K&K Livestock, located near Strathmore, Alberta. The clinician was National Cutting Horse Association Futurity, World and Open champion and NCHA Hall of Famer, Leon Harrel. Though I was only able to partake in Day One of the three day clinic I kept in touch with the clinic progression and have to report, thoroughly enjoyed myself.

And, in a nutshell, the weekend was about just that, enjoying one’s self, as well as a fantastic dose of cutting and horsemanship education thrown in, with unlimited fresh cows, and topped off by fabulous hospitality and food. What more could a cutter desire, I ask?

Cutters came from all over Alberta and Saskatchewan to take part in the clinic.

Sherman travelled from Valleyview, Alberta and even before his first go, was given the dubious nickname of “Shermanator.” Of course, he was a good sport and took it all in stride.

Ingrid Eggertson came out to enjoy the barbecue with Christopher, who with that winning smile, appears to be vying for spot in our 2011 fashion shoot.

I know you’re going to see these two at the next cutting, and let’s hope they’ve learned to share cigars by then.

After two days of cutting instruction from Leon at Thorlakson’s Feedlot near Airdrie, Alberta, we all convened Saturday evening at K&K for a barbecue dinner, a bit of socializing, and most importantly, to draw up two teams of six for the following day’s event, which would include a morning of practice, followed by an afternoon “show,” complete with judge Marilyn Anderson.

Dinner absolutely hit the spot and was barbecued and served up by this colorful character.

Not only was he fashionably color co-ordinated, he grilled my steak a perfect medium-rare.

I can’t mention food for the weekend, without paying homage to these two.

These two ladies cooked throughout the weekend, primarily at Thorlakson’s arena. What a wonderful touch to the clinic – absolutely delicious home-cooked meals for breakfast and lunch and after-the-clinic appetizers. Ladies, those date squares. . . those date squares!

During the barbecue, the teams were drawn and congregated to opposite ends of the arena.

In this corner we have the Untouchables.

From left, Dean Ness, Esther Vanhoughton, Bev Martin, Becky Taylor, Christopher Eggertson and Sue Wemp.

And in this corner, the Bloody Spurs.

From left, Jack Taylor, Jardi Clarke, Sherman Minni, Barb Veldhuis, Don Smith and Wes Dehm.

As you can imagine, with this crowd, strategy ran amuck from detailed plays to “whatever it takes,” as one contestant revealed to me.

I won’t divulge which team claimed the championship title the following day, nor what sneakiness might have been employed to achieve the result, but I’m sure sooner or later, one of the above characters will surface and spill.

All in all, the weekend was a great time. Ken and Karen Mix showed absolute hospitality and made everyone feel so welcome, both at their home and at the clinic. A big thanks to them.

Leon is not only a wealth of information and a world champion, but an honest and humble mentor with a true love of the horse and cutting, a gentleman, and best of all, the kind of person who really wants to impart his lifetime knowledge unto anyone with desire to become not a good rider, but a great rider.

Leon will tell you he doesn’t teach theory. Alternatively, he will impart gems of knowledge throughout a lesson, and I took note of a few of them to share with you.

“You concentrate on horsemanship 80% of the time and cutting 20% of the time, and you are going to do well.”

“You want to be so clean and so smooth with this horse, that it will become an extension of you.”

“You can get so much more done with feel and compassion.”

“Warming up your horse at the show: don’t ride him for six hours at the show and expect him to perform, just have him relaxed and ready.”

“When somebody comes up to you at show with nine miles of bad road behind him, you give him an upbeat response, and he’ll either not approach you again, or come back with a better attitude himself.”

“Right to the face, cut right to the face of that calf.”

“If you focus on that cow, then you’re in the action, you’re in the energy.”

“If you’re out there having fun, pretty soon you’ll have people around you having fun too. And, that makes the whole experience great.”

Well said! Take some time and visit Leon at his website, where there is a good amount of information as well as videos and teaching tools to peruse.

Battle in the Saddle

Trainer and competitor Brad Pedersen at last year's NCHA World Series stop at the Calgary Stampede Cutting. Photo courtesy of James Hudyma.

Although it would require a serious commitment in travel hours for any cutter, the 2010 Mercuria National Cutting Horse Association of Cutting is an exciting string of competition held in world-class arenas, and often, in conjunction with venues which at the same time, host a variety of recreational opportunities.

The World Series of Cutting is a series of eight events across the United States and Canada that draws the world’s best Open cutting horses and Non-Pro riders. Each of the World Series shows offers $25,000 in added money to both the Open and Non-Pro events. Every finalist cashes a cheque and the crowd-pleasing format helps bring cutting to new audiences all across North America.

Battle in the Saddle, the country’s newest equine event has been selected as a tour stop in the National Cutting Horse Association’s Mercuria World Series of Cutting.

“The Mercuria/NCHA World Series showcases the sport’s best seasoned horses, and attracts tens of thousands of fans,” said Jeff Hooper, Executive Director of the National Cutting Horse Association. “We are excited to add a tour stop to Battle in the Saddle, itself a unique event in our industry.”

The Mercuria/NCHA World Series of Cutting began its 2010 tour in February at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo and then made a visit to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo in March. From there, the tour hit the Breeder’s Invitational May 15 and 16, and continues on to the following locations:

June 24-26 – Reno Rodeo, Reno, Nevada

July 5-7 – Battle in the Saddle, Oklahoma City

July 11-15 – Calgary Stampede, Calgary, Alberta

September 16-18 – El Rancho Futurity, Rancho Murieta, California

October 7-9 – All American Quarter Horse Congress, Columbus, Ohio

Battle in the Saddle was announced last November in Oklahoma City and is an exciting new competition owned by State Fair Park and managed by AQHA. The competition will take place July 5-10. Battle in the Saddle is open to all breeds and will feature $130,000 in added money for an estimated $300,000 in total purses. Cutting, reining, roping and working cow horse classes will be recognized as AQHA special events. All breeds are welcome but Quarter Horses competing will receive AQHA points. The ranch horse competition is open to all ranches that meet the criteria of the AQHA-Bayer Best Remuda Award.

Roping events will be recognized by the American Rope Horse Futurity Association and follow ARHFA rules. Horses competing in the cutting will receive National Cutting Horse Association recognition. Ancillary reining classes will be approved by the National Reining Horse Association and NRHA affiliate Oklahoma Reining Horse Association. The National Reined Cow Horse Association will be involved as well.

Adding to the excitement of the competition, the selection trial for the United States Reining Team that will be representing the United States at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games will take place during Battle in the Saddle. See who will join the U.S. Equestrian Team as reining members to go for the gold at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games,www.alltechfeigames.com.

Battle in the Saddle will be held in conjunction with AQHA’s Youth World Cup, a team competition between youth from 17 nations scheduled to attend. In addition to the exciting equine competition in the arena, Battle in the Saddle will also feature a trade show. Other special events are also being planned to be held during the competition.

State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, often referred to as “The Horse Show Capital of the World,” is a premier equine facility that annually hosts the American Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show, the National Reining Horse Association Futurity and Derby, the U.S. Team Roping Championships, the International Finals Rodeo and many other major equine events. With more than $70 million in recent renovations and stalls available for 3,000 horses, State Fair Park has become the go-to destination for top-tier equine competitions and events.

For more information, or to enter, visit www.battleinthesaddle.com.

Ogden Opportunities

By now all Canadian cutters have returned from Ogden, Utah, and the 15th annual National Cutting Horse Association Western National Championships held April 28 to May 9 at the Golden Spike Arena in Ogden, Utah.

Canadians showed well with some landmark and personal victories including:

Carly Christianson at the 2009 NCHA Days in Claresholm. Photo by Sandy Hansma.

Carly Christianson scored a lifetime accomplishment with a championship in the Junior Youth. Riding Bob Playin (Bobs Freckle), owned by Equistar Enterprises, the 12-year-old daughter of cutting horse trainer Loren Christianson and his wife, Lisa, scored 217 to take the win.

Guy Heintz and Call Me Smurf, out of the Rafter H stallion, Jose Boon, scored a 220 to claim the reserve in the $3,000 Novice Horse class. “We got the good draw,” said Guy Heintz, in the Daily Chatter. “The cattle had been pretty tough, but we cut what we had picked. When you’re first up, you just have to come and let everybody else chase you.”

Guy Heintz, circa 1988 at the Canadian Supreme with a horse named Shortys Summer. Dave Robson presenting. Photo by Sharon Latimer.

Call Me Smurf’s score went up on the scoreboard as 218 points, but was later adjusted to 220. The 6-year-old gelding is owned by Neil Shanks of Okotoks, Alberta.

Guy Heintz at the 2009 NCHA Days in Claresholm. Photo by Sandy Hansma.

Call Me Smurf was clearly on his game, as he later led Neil Shanks to the reserve championship in the 50,000 Amateur with a 218. As reported in the Daily Chatter, Shanks said, “I scored 211 points in the go-round and just made it on the bubble. We tried to show as good as we could and it all worked out.”

Other top 10 finishes included:

10,000 Novice Horse: Dustin Gonnet on Christinas Blue (Mecom Blue), owned by Ron Patton (4th)

Junior Youth: Matt Couillard on War Bar Maid (War O Lena), owned by James Couillard (5th)

Open: Teri Paradis on Lil Scoot N Peppy (Smart Lil Scoot), owned by Jim & Teri Paradis (10th)

2,000 Limit Rider: Jackson Holm on Short N Steady Date (Smart Peppy Date) (8th) and Kelly Park on High Power Pepto (Peptoboonsmal), owned by Bill and Elaine Speight (9th-10th)

10,000 Amateur: Linda Meakin on Lookin Purr Tee (Caught Me Lookin), owned by Wayne & Linda Meakin (10-12th)

15,000 Novice Non-Pro: Doug Wiens on Trava Bob (Travalena) (10th)

50,000 Amateur: Rod Macdonald on CD Graceful Dual (CD Olena) (7th)

Overall, the Alberta Cutting Horse Association won the prize for most points scored for their region with 1,630 points, and brought home a $7,500.00 cheque for their efforts. In this excellent side-race to the competition, sponsored by the AQHA, members are signed up under their affiliate association, and collectively score points for each member’s effort, from 10 points for an entry in a class, to 50 points for a championship. It’s a great way to build community among the affiliates and provides for some good-natured rivalry between the affiliates. Close on the heels of the Alberta Cutting Horse Association was the Western States Cutting Horse Association with 1,595 points, followed by the Montana Cutting Horse Association with 1,050 points.

The Western Nationals posted an all-time record this year with 925 entries and $414,002 in prize money, nearly doubling last year’s prize goods. This sets the stage for a stellar 2011 show, and the race is already on for qualification.

~ thanks to the NCHA and the Daily Chatter for the use of their files for this post.