Cade McCutcheon Adds to NRHA Million Dollar Rider Dynasty

For Immediate Release – January 19, 2020 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) is proud to officially congratulate NRHA Professional Cade McCutcheon for becoming an NRHA Million Dollar Rider.

At just 19 years old, McCutcheon is the third member of his immediate family to cross this milestone. His parents, Tom and Mandy McCutcheon, reached the milestone consecutively—Tom in 2006 and Mandy in 2007. In 2014 Mandy reached her second milestone, becoming an NRHA Two Million Dollar Rider. Tim McQuay, McCutcheon’s grandfather, is an NRHA Three Million Dollar Rider as well as an NRHA Million Dollar Owner.

“It’s been a whirlwind; I never could’ve expected the year that I’ve had,” McCutcheon said. “I set the goal to become an NRHA Million Dollar Rider when I was 12. Before the [NRHA] Futurity, I joked about the idea of winning first [in the Level(L) 4 Open] and placing with my other two horses to make it happen.”

Who knew that reality would far surpass the joke? McCutcheon’s wins at the 2019 NRHA Futurity pushed him past the million-dollar mark by more than $70,000. For those who know McCutcheon, it’s not surprising he reached a goal long before he planned. He originally set the goal of crossing the million dollar mark by his 25th birthday.

A horse named “Turbo” equipped 6-year-old McCutcheon with the need for speed and helped the young horseman build the work ethic he needed to become a horse trainer.

“I had a hard time getting him to lope,” McCutcheon said of the gelding. “He’d always take me over to the gate. It took me about six months before I got him to finally lope. Once I got him loping, I never walked or trotted again.”

Perhaps Turbo secured McCutcheon’s fate to carry on the family legacy as an NRHA Professional. Or maybe it was simply bred into the third-generation reiner from the get-go.

McCutcheon’s first year as an NRHA Professional—2019—is hard work personified. Not only was he the Run for a Million Invitational co-champion, McCutcheon also topped the NRHA L3 Open Derby and placed first and second in three levels of the 2019 NRHA Futurity Open Finals.

“I was competing at the 2018 World Equestrian Games when I thought to myself ‘I can play with the big dogs,’” McCutcheon said. It was in that moment McCutcheon decided to officially take his riding to the next level as a professional.

Reaching the pinnacle of reining as a 19-year-old presents McCutcheon with a strong foundation to continue building on in 2020.

“There are a million people I could thank for this,” McCutcheon said. “I’ve been very lucky to have a good support system around me.”

McCutcheon’s 2019 NRHA Futurity Placings:

  • Super Marioo (Gunnatrashya x HA Chic A Tune): L4-2 Open Champion
    Guns And Dynamite (Gunners Special Nite x Chic Olena Starbuck) L4 Open Co-Reserve Champion and L3-2 Open Reserve Champion
    Deja Vu With A Gun (Gunner x Dun Its Déjà vu) Open L4-2 Finalist

Snip O Gun Joins Elite NRHA Million Dollar Dam Club

For Immediate Release – January 13, 2020 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) is proud to recognize Snip O Gun as an NRHA Million Dollar Dam. Owned by Hilldale Farm, Snip O Gun is one of only three dams to produce offspring that reached the million-dollar earnings mark to date. She crossed the million-dollar milestone during the 2019 NRHA Futurity where her offspring earned more than $50,000.

Snip O Gun, affectionately known as “Snip,” made a name for herself despite harboring no show record of her own. The 1993 bay mare produced big-name reiners, including Inferno Sixty Six (by Gunnatrashya), Big Chex To Cash (by Nu Chex To Cash), Hot Smokin Chex (by Nu Chex To Cash) and Chexmaster (by Nu Chex To Cash).

“If a mare doesn’t have a show record, or you can’t afford one that does, you buy a mare with the best conformation and pedigree to cross with your stallions,” said owner Tammye Hutton of Hilldale Farm. “The only stud we had was Nu Chex To Cash, so we bought mares for him. I felt Snip was the perfect cross.”

Snip’s conformation emulates the foundational bloodlines of the American Quarter Horse. That, paired with her “cool” temperament, made her an ideal match for Nu Chex To Cash. Once he was done breeding, Hutton knew Snip would also cross well with Gunnatrashya and Colonels Shining Gun.

“Snip is just very calm, cool, and collected,” Hutton said. “I’m guessing if she would’ve had more than 30 days under saddle she would’ve been extremely athletic; she’s made for it. But she’s so laid back that you would’ve had to really ask her to do what you wanted; but that’s probably why she works well on different stallions.”

Hutton said, “She’s round from the tip of her nose to the tip of her tail.”

“She has a big, soft, intelligent eye,” Hutton added. “She has a pretty neck that ties into her shoulder perfectly. She has a lot of bone, substance, and depth.”

Not to mention she stands on four strong feet.

Perhaps it’s just personal bias, or it’s the bold-face truth, Hutton said she’d be hard-pressed to find a fault in the mare. In the end, it was Snip’s personality and demeanor that captured Hutton’s heart.

“She’s very sweet, quiet, and laid back,” Hutton said. “She likes to graze and be with her horse buddies, but she’s also the first one to the gate when I whistle.”

Snip O Gun’s top-performing offspring include:

  • Inferno Sixy Six (by Gunnatrashya): $205,690 LTE
  • Big Chex To Cash (by Nu Chex To Cash): $194,260 LTE
  • Hot Smokin Chex (by Nu Chex To Cash): $186,598 LTE
  • Chexmaster (by Nu Chex To Cash): $103,911 LTE
  • Snips Shining Gun (by Gunner): $52,817 LTE
  • Snip O Satellite (by Nu Chex To Cash): $52,057 LTE
  • Snip O Chex (by Nu Chex To Cash): $50,648 LTE
  • Chexamillion (by Nu Chex To Cash): $35,377 LTE
  • Rio Killer Gun (by CFR Centenario Wimpy): $33,752 LTE
  • Snip O One (by A Sparkling Vintage): $31,911 LTE

Kari Klingenberg Featured at Art of the Cowgirl

For Immediate Release – January 6, 2020 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) and Art of the Cowgirl are teaming up to present NRHA Professional Kari Klingenberg during the 2020 event. As a first-year event sponsor, NRHA will be featured in the trade show while Klingenberg will talk about her career in a demanding, ever-evolving industry.

Hosted Jan. 24–26, 2020, in Phoenix, Arizona, the event features women every facet of the Western industry and celebrates their contributions to the Western way of life.

Klingenberg was the “horse-crazy girl” who simply never grew out of what most deem “just a phase.” At the ripe age of 12, this Stanwood, Washington, native tried every discipline under the sun until eventually landing in the stock horse and performance arena.

After a career as an assistant trainer riding a kaleidoscope of horses, Klingenberg found herself working for reining and cow horse trainer Sue Sultze. This propelled Klingenberg to become a top rider, and in 2008 she took a leap of faith as she struck out on her own and started Klingenberg Performance Horses.

“I have definitely taken the path less traveled,” Klingenber said. “When I started my own business I didn’t have the experience to do it; but I had the desire and the determination to try. I also had a strong belief that I was going to be successful.”

Both Bob Avila and Troy Heikes mentored and coached Klingenberg throughout her career. Shawna Sapergia was also a major influence, inspiring Klingenberg to believe that women have a place at the professional trainers’ table and are valuable contributors to the industry.

Women making waves in the Western industry is the vein of truth that formed Art of the Cowgirl. This speaks to Klingenberg on a personal level as she grew up with strong female role models who prepared her for this career path.

“I have a soft spot for little girls and teaching,” Klingenberg said. “I think girls of all ages need to be super tough and learn there are no limits of what they can accomplish. It’s important for girls of all ages to see other women who have conquered big things.”

Klingenberg will speak twice during the event: Friday, Jan. 24 at 3:30 p.m. Arizona time and Saturday, Jan. 25 at 1 p.m. Arizona time. Don’t miss out as Klingenberg travels down memory lane in hopes of inspiring the next generation of horsewomen.

“It’s an honor for me to be a part of this, and I’m really excited about it,” Klingenberg said. “Everyone makes huge scarifies to be able to live this lifestyle; to be a part of it and share the way that I’ve done it is very humbling.”

For more information about Klingenberg, visit kariklingenbergph.com/about. For ticket information and a detailed schedule for the Art of the Cowgirl, visit artofthecowgirl.com.

Francesca Sternberg Awarded 2019 British Equestrian Federation Medal of Honour

For immediate release – December 20, 2019 – Oklahoma City, OK –The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) is proud to congratulate longtime reiner Francesca Sternberg for being awarded the British Equestrian Federation Medal of Honour today at the Olympia International Horse Show in London. One of the highest accolades given by the British Equestrian Federation, the award recognizes Sternberg’s passion for equestrian sports in the United Kingdom and her achievements in the sport of reining.

“I would never have imagined the British Equestrian Federation would recognize a reiner,” Sternberg shared. “In the UK, we’re highly traditional—everything is eventing, show jumping, and dressage. To be recognized by my peers in my own country is quite overwhelming.”

Originally competing in top-level eventing and show jumping, Sternberg first became an NRHA member in 1995. Since then, she’s earned more than $418,500 in NRHA Lifetime Earnings (LTE) and experienced success at the highest levels, competing at five FEI World Equestrian Games and making numerous trips to the AQHA World Championship Show, NRHA Futurity, and NRHA Derby in Oklahoma City.

“The reining horse has taken me to places I would never have gone and allowed me to meet people I would never have met,” Sternberg revealed. “Although the accomplishments in the arena are hugely important, it’s not really all about that. It’s about the journey and the incredible experiences en route.”

In light of this latest honor, Sternberg credits the family she’s found within the sport of reining for helping her achieve such success.

“The heart of NRHA is a combination of the horse and the community,” Sternberg continued. “I haven’t found that in any other equestrian group. Everybody can be competitive, or just enjoy the ride. It’s a team effort.”

Sternberg’s two children, Tabitha Sternberg Allen and George Sternberg Allen, both share their mother’s passion for reining.

“I see the future containing exactly what the past has, but the difference is, I won’t be sitting in the saddle as much,” Sternberg laughed. “I’ve been beaten by both of my children in the past few months, and that was far better than anything I could win.”

Horsewoman of the Year Award Renamed to Honor Becky Hanson

For immediate release — December 10, 2019 — Oklahoma City — The National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) is pleased to announce that the Horsewoman of the Year award has been renamed to honor NRHA Professional Becky Hanson, past NRHA board member and professional from Clements, Calif.

“Becky exemplifies what we look for in the Horsewoman of the Year award,” said Shane Brown, NRHA Professional and Executive Committee member. “We feel like it sets a good example to continue the award in her name.”

The newly dedicated Becky Hanson Professional Horsewoman of the Year award will be voted on by NRHA Professionals and announced with the other Professional of the Year awards at the NRHA Awards Banquet in June. Becky is known for her incredible photos of the Western lifestyle, horsemanship, her philanthropic heart, witty humor, and constant willingness to lend a hand wherever it is needed.

“Becky is always willing to help out and volunteer, no matter where she’s needed, from coaching to tasks at the barn, and from the affiliate level to a national level; she is always willing to help everyone around her,” Brown said.

Before stepping away from training horses herself, Becky had spent five years training reining horses in Italy, made multiple NRHA Derby finals, earned North American Affiliate titles and major event titles across the country, and coached endless non professionals to victory. Now her support is never far from her husband, NRHA Professional David Hanson who still trains and competes.

“She did it all, from sending entries to working with clients and helping find good horses and making their local affiliate run,” Brown shared. “There was not one part of this business that she didn’t have her hand in, one way or another.”

In naming this award in her honor, the Professionals Committee hopes she will serve as a continuous reminder about what it means to be named Horsewoman of the Year.

“She’s been an inspiration to people in this industry at all levels,” said Patrick Flaherty, NRHA Professionals Committee Chair. “She’s a huge influence, and I strongly believe her affiliate is successful today because of what she put into it. She and David set up an incredible business because of how they complemented each other. Their support was pivotal to their business and our industry.”

Becky exemplifies what it means to be an NRHA Professional through her tenacity, morals, philanthropic heart, and the way she has continuously poured into every aspect of the reining industry for so many years. She has spent her life working to promote and grow the sport of reining through world-wide and local affiliate efforts, as well as serving on the NRHA Board and multiple committees.

“We all wish the Professional of the Year awards existed when she was actively training and showing horses because she would have won it five years in a row,” Flaherty said. “Now that the professionals have come up with this award program, we want to be sure it pays homage to her, and this felt like the perfect way to do it.”