24-year-old Adan Banuelos took the “less is more” theory to an entirely new level when preparing Cat Diesel (One Time Pepto x Cats Glamour Girl x High Brow Cat) for the National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Level 1 Limited Open Futurity.
The gelding, owned by Banuelos’ mother, Tiffani Banuelos, already was a trained cutting horse with more than $30,000 on his show record – but he didn’t know anything about the rein work or the cow work events until mere days before he was to compete at Reno.
Despite the brief learning curve, Cat Diesel earned the $8,780 Limited Open Level 1 Futurity Championship when he scored a round-winning 219 in the herd work, a 208 in the rein work and a 215.5 in the cow work. The total 642.5 composite tied with AMR One Shiney Cat (Shady Lil Starlight x One Shiney Chic x Smart Chic Olena) and Morgan Cromer, but the tiebreaker, the higher fence work score, went in Banuelos’ favor. Banuelos also qualified Cat Diesel for the Futurity Intermediate Open and Limited Open finals!
“I knew we were real, real green in the reining,” Banuelos said. With help from friend and cow horse trainer Chris Dawson, he schooled Cat Diesel just enough to get through the event. “We knew we didn’t have a shot at doing well in the reining, so we just kept what we had together. The reining really humbled me,” he said, smiling.
Cat Diesel knew plenty about working a cow in the herd, but he had only made two other practice trips down the fence, just days before Banuelos took him into the show pen for the cow work prelims.
“He’s never been down the fence before. This horse has taken everything unbelievably well. Going down the fence and turning – I had confidence in him being good at that. The circling part – I didn’t know how we were going to do. I had no clue. He took it all well,” Banuelos said.
This is the second time for Banuelos, a professional cutting horse trainer, to compete in reined cow horse. Earlier this year, he won the Battle in the Saddle in Oklahoma City aboard MH Boon In My Blood, a horse trained by Dawson and owned by Dawson’s mother, Sandy Jirkovsky.
“Going down the fence is a lot of fun. A super amount of fun. My mom encouraged me to come here, and I’ve always wanted to do it, but I’ve never been ready. I wasn’t ready here, but the good Lord really helped me through this deal,” Banuelos said. “This year’s intention was to come here for homework, and figure out what I needed to do to come back prepared.”
Banuelos also took home a Gist custom buckle sponsored by Two Bit Performance Horses of Hempstead, Texas, a CR Morrison Trophy from the NRCHA, a fleece cooler from Classic Equine, a monogrammed Cinch jacket from Bob’s Custom Saddles/New West Country Store, Platinum Performance from Doug Herthel, -Les Vogt “Cowhorse U” training videos and a CR Morrison Commemorative Medallion.
For the Reserve Championship, Cromer garnered a check for $6,585 for AMR One Shiney Cat’s owner, Holy Cow Performance Horses. She also won a Gist Custom Buckle sponsored by Two Bit Performance Horses of Hempstead, Texas, Platinum Performance from Doug Herthel, a monogrammed Cinch jacket from Bob’s Custom Saddles/New West Country Store, Les Vogt “Cowhorse U” training videos and a CR Morrison Commemorative Medallion.
The National Reined Cow Horse Association, now in its 62nd year, is the governing body of cow horse competition. It is responsible for promoting the sport, ensuring high standards of competition and educating members and the public about the history and tradition of reined cow horses. With the support of a Corporate Partner family that includes Bob’s Custom Saddles, Boehringer Ingelheim, Cinch, Classic Equine, Gist Silversmiths, John Deere, Markel Insurance Company, Platinum Performance, Quarter Horse News, Rios of Mercedes, Santa Cruz Biotechnologies, Silver Legacy Hotel and Casino, Bloomer Trailers and Schwalbe Trucks presented by Great West Trailers, and Merial products UlcerGard and Equioxx, the association works to keep the vaquero tradition alive in today’s equine industry. For information on the National Reined Cow Horse Association, call 580-759-4949 or visit the official NRCHA web site at www.NRCHA.com.