The 2014 NRCHA Derby is in the books, and it was a good one! I grew up in the cutting world, and I’ll always feel most at home at a cutting. But I tell ya, cow horse shows are a pretty good time. So many great people, and I am in awe of the horses and great runs I got to watch. My thoughts are pinging all over the place, so I’ll make them look organized with a bulleted list.
- I am about as nervous of a spectator as you can get. I watch my husband’s runs through squinted eyes or not at all. During the reining, I had a nice lady offer to move so I could see better; I told her no. I wasn’t really watching, just sitting in a lucky spot with my head bowed down. I don’t like to watch the actual cut during the herd work, instead I ask the person next to me to let me know when he gets his cow cut with an annoying, “Tell me when, tell me when…”. I get just about as nervous watching anyone I know, and the marathon that is a reined cow horse event is a nervous spectator’s nightmare.
- Cutting is a humbling sport because of all the variables; you can be a talented showman and be riding the best horse, and it still has a chance of going horribly bad. Well, cow horse takes that to a whole other level. Talk about a roller coaster of emotions. Don’t get too bummed or too excited after the herd work. You have two more events to go…and you could have an amazing turnaround or things could go south in a hurry. Just look through composite results for the go-round and you will see horses that had a mediocre score in the herd, come back and mark 220’s in the next two events. Likewise, that 222 in the herd work is quickly forgotten when you draw a crappy cow down the fence. I do realize that most major cutting events have more than one go-round. But the complexities that go with showing in the herd one day, the reining the next, and then going down the fence, are intense. I am emotionally exhausted. Case in point, the video below. Shadd had a beautiful run in the reined work. We let ourselves celebrate for about an hour, then it was time to think about the next event. Ahhh!
- Paso Robles is still my favorite horse show town. The surrounding areas as well as the actual show grounds themselves make it the best. Though it’s a busy show, we manged to fit in a full day at the beach and a half day of wine tasting. Gracie and I also had some nice pool time, and definitely spent our share of time at the infamous dirt pile. At one point I counted 16 kids playing; it’s the coolest place to be if you’re under the age of 12. And if you’re 35, just gracefully (ok, I meant awkwardly) lumber up to the highest peak and you have a view of about 60% of the show pen.
And just a few more snippets…
- The hamburgers at the show are really good. I, err I mean Gracie, had several during the week.
- Continuing on the food train of thought, the coffee shack’s Root Beer Freeze was my favorite treat of the trip.
- The San Jaun Ranch Breakfast on finals day was out of this world. I’m embarrassed to say I have slept in and missed this the last few years, but never again. Oh, that was about food too.
- A discussion with friends about our favorite TV shows made me thankful Shadd isn’t the only male that watches the disgustingly bloody and graphic Spartacus. (Ahem, Anthony Taormino, I’m talking to you.)
- We loved staying at the Adalaide Inn. It’s been a few years since we stayed there, and I’ll be booking way early from now on to make sure we stay there again.
- A lot of wine was consumed during the week. A lot.
So that’s about it for the NRCHA Derby. Congrats to Kelby, Randy, and Les on their wins! Glad to be home, thankful to get to do what we love.
McKenzie P. “Bear”