Sarah Dawson’s father, renowned horseman Richard Winters, piqued her interest in showing reined cow horses competitively. She went to shows with him and started competing in the youth as a high schooler. Later, she worked for Sandy Collier who was the first woman to win the Snaffle Bit Futurity and Jon Roeser, NRCHA Hall of Fame trainer. She also worked for well-known breeder and rider Carol Rose. Dawson said her father gave her a great foundation in starting young horses and he taught her about the psychology of a horse.
2020 was a huge year for Dawson, she and her husband Chris Dawson welcomed their first child, Hadley in April and Dawson won her first Open Snaffle Bit Futurity in October aboard Selvarey. She is the second woman to win the Snaffle Bit Futurity.
Dawson said winning the prestigious title is an awesome feeling. “There are a ton of people that are more than qualified to win that title but a lot of things have to fall into place and a lot of stars have to align. I am just so grateful that I am one of those people,” she said.
As far as goals go Dawson said “Getting on top is easy, it’s staying on top — that’s hard. My goal is to keep going out there and do the best I can and hopefully find more good horses to go do it again.”
Despite the obvious difficulties of 2020 and cancellation of shows, Dawson said the COVID-19 shutdown worked out for her. She had a break after having her baby and so did everyone else. She said it’s easier to stay home from a show when everyone else is home too!
Dawson said her and Chris’s training goals are to give the horse a good foundation so it can go on to do anything.
“We have a lot of horses come in and out of here and not all of them are going to be great show horses. We really try to find a job that they can go and excel at, not just send them home because they aren’t going to do this [sport]…We try not to be a cookie cutter [training operation] but be flexible and try to find the right job for every horse.”
What are your preferences when picking cows?
“I try to pick the right cow for the right horse… I wouldn’t say I am looking for one particular thing in a cow, I am just looking for the right cow for the situation.”
What is the most important quality you must have in a horse?
“Trainability and try. I would rather work with a tiny bit less talent and little more try than the other way around.”
What drives you and inspires you?
“I am a horse-crazy girl! I love horses and I’m competitive. I like to have a goal that I’m working towards so getting these horses trained where we can hopefully go win on them is a pretty good goal. It all goes back to ‘I love horses’ and if there were no horse shows I’d probably still have a horse in my backyard.”