Total Earnings: $764,901

What started out as a quest to break in a horse soon turned into a career and over $700,000 in lifetime earnings for Matt Koch. He attended Lamar Community College where he was introduced to the horse show world. He said he didn’t even know what leads were until college. He didn’t know about cow horses or cutters either. He earned an associates degree in Animal Science while he rodeoed.

Koch then did an internship with cutting horse trainer Lloyd Cox, winner of more than $10-million. He started colts for Cox for about three years.

Koch went on to work for Robbie Boyce, a cutting, cow horse and all around trainer, and Darren Miller, an accomplished reined cow horse trainer and judge, and managed ranches along the way. He has also received help from many others.

Koch spent about four years for the Haythorn Land And Cattle Co., a large ranch in Nebraska, and was given the opportunity to train and show for them. Koch went out on his own about five years ago and runs his business out of his ranch in Elizabeth, Colorado.

Koch is a multiple Open Snaffle Bit Futurity Finalist as well as 2019 NRCHA Hackamore Classic Open Reserve Champion, 2018 AQHA World Champion Junior Working Cow Horse, 2017 AQHA World Champion Senior Working Cow Horse, 2016 NRCHA World’s Greatest Horseman – 4th, 2016 NRCHA Stakes Open Reserve Champion, 2015 AQHA World Champion Senior Working Cow Horse.

What’s your training philosophy?

“We ride them for what they are. Not every horse is going to be a superstar. We just get the most out of them and either they want to make a cow horse and we will show them at a local level or just find where that horse fits.”

What inspires you to keep going?

“Just seeing what these horses can do whether it’s a three year old or the bridle horses. Just the jobs or tasks you can accomplish on them. Whether you’re going to rope on them or check the pasture or going to a horse show – how they can adapt to their jobs. Just as much talent and ability as they have.”

Koch’s goal is to make each horse as good as it can be. He hopes to make as many nice horses as he can and be respected in the sport. To deal with nerves and a lack of confidence, Koch focuses on surrounding himself with supportive people. He said they are only a phone call away to be able to talk him through an issue. He tried not to dwell on bad results and stay focused on the next task at hand.

How do you define feel?

“Feel is understanding what the horse is thinking…I do things I don’t even realize I do. A lot of things I just feel…It’s just remembering where your strengths are and where your weaknesses are, as an individual, and just building upon that. Just find out how to get the job done as simple as possible.”

➤Click Here to Watch Matt’s videos on RCHTO.