Maybe it is the adrenaline rush that you get from chasing a cow, or it is the challenge of having to be able read what the cow is going to do, before it does it. Whatever it is, I think anyone can agree that watching any event that involves riding a horse and working cattle, is addictive.
This past weekend was the debut of the Michigan Reined Cow Horse Show organized and put on by Deena Dunkle, in Midland, Michigan. Equestrians from all over gathered to either try something new or show in something they are passionate about. Reiner’s, Cutters, and Cow Horse enthusiast cheered one another on in each of their classes and just had a grand ol’ time. Reined Cow Horse consist of three events that riders show in throughout a few days. The scores from each event is added up and a winner is declared on the final day. The events are as follows…
Reined Cow Horse is to show how the lightest touch of the reins could control the horse, and the grit and speed the horse possessed to go after the rankest of cattle. Formed in 1949, the National Reined Cow Horse Association set out to preserve this and be able to share it with equestrians today and educate them about its history. Seventy-one years later, it is still a popular event and practice that keeps everyone on the edge of their seats.
Friday morning kick-started the weekend with reining classes, with Bill Thomas of Bill Thomas Performance Horses, Bill Brown of W. Brown Performance Horses and Jarid Walton of Walton Performance Horses taking the top three places in the Open with scores of 72.0 and two 71.5s. Herd-work was next on Saturday with high-scores of 73 and 71 being laid down by some very talented horse and rider teams. Sunday concluded the show with fence-work, my favorite event of it all. Stephanie Gilliland of Gilliland Horse & Cattle Co was our top rider in the Open Bridle laying down a score of 71!
Horses and riders gave it their all as the worked the cow down the fence and circled it. Tired from busy weekend, horses, riders, and cattle gave everything they had in the final event. Those who watched sat on the edge of their seats holding their breath at every cow that got by and cheering when horse and rider would take control of the pen. The top composite score for the Futurity Week was a 216.5 by Lyle Frederickson of Triple F Ranch; and just like that, the weekend was over, and everyone left talking about next year’s show.
Children and adults, young horses and seasoned horses all came together for a weekend of fun and excitement. Good times were had by all and everyone helped one another out, regardless of if they knew the person or not. It was like being at one big family reunion, with riders cheering each other on and lending helping hands when needed. It was a great weekend and a beautiful way of introducing reined cow horse to Michigan.
The Michigan Horse Council seeks to invest in education and training for our Michigan trainers and riders. The Michigan Horse Expo is the key time for MHC to unite with experts in a particular breed or discipline to teach all of us more. Bill and Deena have been an asset to the Michigan Reining Association, participated in various cutting competitions, helped the Saginaw Sheriff’s Dept and helped coach a variety of 4H, equestrian team and open show riders. MHC is thankful for their passion and experience and appreciate the quality of programming that they brought to the 2020 Mi Horse Expo. Bill was in the arena working with Craig and Cole Cameron guiding 6 clinician riders throughout the weekend in 6 clinic sessions. Deena designed and staffed the booth for the Mi Reined Cow Horse Association, handled the registration for the clinic riders and ran a Mi Reined Cow Horse competition on Sunday morning with pay back money and prizes.
The Mi Reined Cow Horse Association is a new group to Michigan as of 2020. The 2020 Michigan Horse Expo was the kick off and training grounds for this fun new exciting sport that combines many of the western disciplines that we all love to ride in and watch. MHC is thankful to Bill and Deena for taking the lead on this fun endeavor for the 2020 Michigan Horse Expo, staffing the program with excellent leaders coming to us from all over Michigan.
Get up and go chase some cows now!!