Bit by Bit The Two-Rein and Bridle Progression with Phillip Ralls and Randy Paul

The pinnacle of cow horses is the bridle horse. “The bridle horse is the finished product,” Randy Paul said. Paul is an NRCHA $522,165 earner and has won $1 million in the NRHA. He is also a bit maker. He doesn’t have a website but his bits are a favorite among the cow horse community. “You’re training him when he is three to be a good horse when he’s 10,” Paul said. That foundation begins in the snaffle bit and ends with a bridle. To prepare the horse for the bridle stage the horse will usually compete in the two-rein
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Member Spotlight – Carrey Gunderman – Elbert, CO

Carrey marking his first 70! Photo by: Performance Horse Photography Carrey Gunderman grew up in Wyoming and had a family friend who was a horse trainer. Gunderman thought reining was the coolest sport until that friend told him he had to check out reined cow horses. Gunderman did and he loved what he saw. Unfortunately, his friend passed away, so Gunderman put his cow horse dreams on the back burner for a few years. In 2011 he moved to Colorado where there are a handful of cow horse trainers. A farrier by trade, Gunderman shoes trainer Matt Koch’s horses and
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Trainer’s Corner – Shane Steffen – Powell Butte, OR

Total Earnings: $420,916 Shane Steffen got into cow horses the year he got married. He had never even heard of cow horses until then. His sister-in-law had attended the Snaffle Bit Futurity in years past and invited the Steffens to come along. He thought it looked like a neat sport that he could try. He began working for some ranchers and then moved to Oregon to work for Rocky Marsh, a cow horse trainer that competed in the Snaffle Bit and other big shows. This allowed Steffen to get his feet wet and then he went on to work for
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Bit by Bit: The Snaffle Bit & Hackamore Journey with Phillip Ralls & Randy Paul

The exquisite craftsmanship is evident in Randy Paul’s bits. There’s a reason an entire sport has developed from a bit. “The snaffle bit, for me, is probably one of the most important pieces of equipment we have. I start all my horses in a snaffle and I think my main purpose is layering that foundation on them. It’s a direct pull. When I teach a horse to be soft, get the foundation going, teach them how to follow their nose and keep their feet connected to their nose, it’s going to last them through every piece of equipment I put
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Member Spotlight – Kelly Woodworth – Lakeview, OR

Kelly Woodworth was working for a ranch when he spied the NRCHA magazine they received. After seeing the pictures, it ignited his imagination. He saved his money and took a trip to California to take a job working for a cow horse trainer. The first trainer said he didn’t ride well enough. As he was driving into the next ranch he saw someone getting bucked off. They put him on the bucking horse, he stayed on and was hired. He later went to work for Walter Wright, Justin Wright’s father, for three and a half years. Then he went out
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Trainer’s Corner – Jared Jones – Santa Maria, CA

Total Earnings: $220,086 Jared Jones grew up on a ranch in Idaho and has been riding since he could walk. His brother got into cow horses and Jones had always watched. At 22 he went to work for Clayton Edsall where he got some show experience. He then moved on to work for Justin Wright where he’s been for five and a half years. He also rides some of his own horses in training. His career highlight so far is making two horses back to the Open Snaffle Bit Futurity Finals last year and winning the Intermediate Derby in 2020.
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Mapping Out The Mind Game with Jesse Lennox

Jesse Lennox and Spots Hottist at the Summer Spectacular in 2021 Developing mastery over the mind game in any sport is probably the hardest thing any competitor has to learn. So this month we bring you a story about a top cutting horse trainer, Jesse Lennox, who has developed a detailed system that has helped his success and may well help guide you to develop your own. At age 10 he was cleaning stalls, by 14 he was breaking in ponies and a few years later he turned a date into his first job training cutting horses. You could say
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Member Spotlight – Jessica Strayer – Myakka City, FL

Jessica and Billi Rey Photo By: Inflecture Photography/ Noah Fletcher Jessica Strayer attended horse camps as a kid, igniting a passion for life. She always wanted to do more than just trail riding and had dreams of competing in the show pen. A friend introduced her to reining as an adult but after a while she sought out something more thrilling and found the cow horse sport. Strayer turned her reiner into a cow horse and has been involved in the sport on and off for 11 years. Strayer recently bought a cow horse named Billi Rey and is excited
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Trainer’s Corner – Erin Taormino – Lipan, TX

Total Earnings: $650,337 Erin Taormino moved from Canada to Texas to pursue a career in the all around circuit. After meeting and working for Ron Ralls, she was introduced to cow horses. She fell in love with the sport and never looked back. She went on to work for Todd Bergen for five years and then went out on her own with her husband, Anthony, at the end of 2015. She said working for Bergen taught her a lot from training horses, to running a business. Taomino was also featured in MJ Isakson’s cow horse documentary Down The Fence. Isakson,
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Get the Lowdown on the Rundown with Todd Crawford

Todd Crawford, NRCHA Hall of Fame member and $2.7 million earner. It may seem counter intuitive, but top trainer Todd Crawford teaches his horses to stop by teaching them how to run. “I believe the stop is all about how well you can run. If you don’t run well your chances of stopping certainly diminish,” Todd Crawford said. “I practice running more than I practice stopping,” the Hall Of Fame and $2.7 million earner said. Crawford has mentored many of the current top open riders. He won the 2006 Snaffle Bit Futurity. He operates his training operation in Blanchard, Oklahoma.
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Member Spotlight – Timothy Brock – Fair Grove, MO

Timothy Brock had always wanted his own horse and when he finally got one, it did not go well. After he got out of college, he looked for help. He came across natural horsemanship and the method made an impression on him. He learned more about how horses think which helped him improve his own horse. People took notice. He started to get outside horses and 30 years later he owns and operates his own training facility, BC Stables and Training Center. They have about 80 horses on the property, a mix of boarders and horses in training. “I’ve always
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Trainer’s Corner – Dustin Mills – Burneyville, OK

Total Earnings: $276,438 After working for Todd Crawford for about six years, Dustin Mills went out on his own in 2019. A few short years later he claimed the 2021 Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Reserve Championship and Intermediate Open Championship riding Jule Smart Rey. Mills, who grew up showing cutting horses, is the son of cutting horse trainer Mark Mills. Mark taught him all he knew. With the desire to forge his own path and learn something new, Mills went to work for Crawford. Mills attended college for two years and rodeoed but soon realized academia wasn’t for him. He
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