Dowers crossed the Million Dollar Rider earnings mark when he earned at the National Stock Horse Association Futurity Open Champion title aboard Cabanna Boy. With $1,006,910.74 in NRCHA earnings to his name, Dowers is now part of an elite group of reined cow horse competitors.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a while! I have dang sure wanted it to happen, for sure. I’m happy,” said Dowers. “The one thing I’m most proud of as far as the million dollar is that all but about $40,000 are horses I’ve started, trained, and done all the work. The other is horses from Annie [Reynolds] that I didn’t start and train. It’s a pretty dang small group of horses for these earnings, and the horses over the years.”
The rancher, horseman and trainer started out working horses on his family’s Triple D Ranches in far western Nevada. He attended Feather River College and began to focus on training horses through their equine program, especially motivated by a guest clinician and renowned colt starter, Bryan Neubert.
Dowers, who has racked up titles training horses in the snaffle bit, the hackamore, two-rein and bridle, is also a Road To The Horse two-time colt-starting champion.
With the backing of his family and owners that stay the course, like Clinton Marshall and Trigg Marquiss, Dowers says that he has the confidence to continue training a horse even when there are bobbles in the process.
“Clinton has owned a lot of really cool horses, and he understands the process and doesn’t get worked up in the highs and the lows. He has always had confidence in me that I’ll get it. Having an owner that has that kind of confidence in what you do, that doesn’t stress me out. We have never panicked and continued to stick with the horse, and it seems to find a way to work itself out,” he said.
“Along those lines, too, my family, my parents, my wife, and everybody that supports me all the way—I definitely couldn’t do it without them! They help where need be and that is crucial,” Dowers continues. “I feel a lot of satisfaction in the fact that of all the horses I’ve bought for Clinton or Trigg Marquiss or myself, the success rate on buying yearlings is super high. We have had very few that have not turned out to be really good horses. That has been fun, learning what to look for and what suits me to work, and replicate that over and over. It’s been cool.”
A multiple NRCHA world champion, in the two-rein and hackamore, Dowers has trained four horses with more than $100,000 in earnings. While he has numbers earners that have helped him accomplish the million-dollar milestone, a few stand out over the years
“Time For The Diamond is the one that let me know it was possible to hang with the big dogs,” Dowers said. “Smooth Bellingrath won $100,000 but did it the hard way, not a lot of big shows but $5 or $10,000 at a time. He was a super consistent horse. Another horse that is special to me is High Stressin Cat. He’s been awesome for a long time and has won from the futurity through the bridle spectacular. Cats Nu Shine, the little mare from last year, she is incredible. Earnings wise, I don’t think we’ve tapped into where she can be, but as an individual she is really special and on my list of top horses. The other one that stands out is Smart Shiney Playboy.”
Despite more than a dozen years of consistent reined cow horse success, Dowers still has show pen goals to achieve. Notably, to earn the champion title at the NRCHA Derby and the Stallion Stakes. Additionally, he’s gunning for a World’s Greatest Horseman title.
“I’ve been out here in the middle of nowhere, doing what I’ve been doing in a place I shouldn’t be able to do it just by hard work and determination,” Dowers said. “When I was starting out, I remember somebody said I won’t be able to be a topflight trainer until I move to Texas or Arizona and to myself, I thought, ‘You just watch.’ People should realize they can do it, too, if they put their mind to it. There is nothing holding you back but yourself.”
”We are thrilled to welcome Nick to NRCHA’s Million Dollar Rider ranks,” said Anna Morrison, NRCHA Executive Director. “The Dowers family has made a remarkable impact on the association, and seeing Nick’s success in the arena recognized by achieving this milestone is truly exciting.”