Veteran Cutters Take On Reined Cow Horses
Author: Alex Taft
You’ve seen them both hundreds of times in the cutting pen. They grab everyone’s attention when they walk to the herd, and they make putting together a great run look easy. But both Clint Allen and Geoffrey (Spud) Sheehan leaped out of their comfort zones to take on a new challenge of training cow horse prospects for this year’s NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity.
Clint has always wanted to try the cow horse discipline, but as we all know, it’s easy to have a totally full schedule dedicated to cutters. Spud camp drafted as a kid in Australia, and he loved the thrill of the speed that the event required. After seeing the cow horse events when he came to the U.S., it was a discipline he thought would give him that same fix.
Both trainers knew it would be a challenge to work a cow horse prospect into their busy training programs, but they put their doubts aside and took the plunge!
While Spud’s first time out with 3-year-old mare Its About Time (One Time Pepto x Sliden Wright By) will be at the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity, Clint already showed off his versatility at the NRCHA National Stock Horse Snaffle Bit Pre-Futurity on 3-year-old mare Jans Shiney Rey (Jans Rey Cuatro x Shiney Bit O Ivory) and 4-year-old gelding DMAC Reydar (Dual Smart Rey x Boons A Dreamin).
Clint Allen & DMAC Reydar • Photo by Molly Montag/Quarter Horse News
Clint Allen & Dmac Reydar scored an impressive 221 in the Cow Work
Clint and DMAC Reydar, owned by David and Stacie McDavid, won the Level One Open Derby, were Reserve in the Limited Open Derby and had high placings in both the Intermediate and main Open Derby, as well! On his own Jans Shiney Rey, Clint also had a solid outing and took home third-place honors in the Level One Open Futurity. It’s hard not to be impressed with those rankings when you consider that was Clint’s first cow horse show.
Clint was happy with the outcome of the event, but admitted there were questions he didn’t think to ask before walking in the show pen.
Clint Allen & Jans Shiney Rey
“I thought I was ready, and I was happy with my horses,” Clint said. “I showed the Derby horse first, and I was walking to the herd with two reins in my hands and was thinking it was really weird! I had practiced like that but it’s stranger when you’re actually in the herd. Then I am working my first cow, and I thought, man there are a lot of questions I didn’t ask, like how do I quit? From a guy who has won almost $5 million, I was asking how to quit a cow! After I got done, all of those guys were laughing at me. They thought it was quite funny.”
Both Spud and Clint knew trying something different would come with trials and tribulations, but they didn’t expect how many hours it would take to really get a cow horse where you want it. They have a new-found respect for those cow horse trainers who put in the time to develop the great ones, and they both said training cow horses have helped them further develop as cutting trainers.
“You would think it was easier with two hands, but it’s really not because they have to softly come with you and not throw their head up,” Spud said. “That is one of the biggest things. When you have two hands, you have to ride different and there is a lot to it. You find a lot of holes in what you do. Especially in the reining, you cant be one sided and it better be spot on and balanced. Both me and Clint have been at it a lot. It is crazy that I have probably ridden this 3-year-old more than I have ridden my 6-year-old all the way through!
Spud getting in some fence practice on Its About Time
“It made me realize how sloppy my riding has gotten riding cutting horses,” Clint said. “It has been a process of going back to when I was a kid learning where to put my feet and not being so rough with them. You have to be more forgiving with your body. That has been the biggest challenge. When you ride cutters, you work one and get off and get on the next one. With these, you will sometimes ride them all night or a couple hours at a time working on getting them soft. There is no cutting corners.”
Although trying a new discipline hasn’t been an easy process, Clint and Spud haven’t had to take on the new process alone. Along with bouncing ideas and training methods off of each other, they both said the cow horse community has been nothing but helpful and welcoming through the whole journey.
“It seems like everyone came up and introduced themselves to me at some point,” Clint said. “It has been a great experience and just a great group of people.”
Clint and Spud encourage everyone to go out and try riding and training a cow horse, because it has been both educational and fun for both of them. You can expect to see them both showing off their first 3-year-old cow horses at this year’s NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity, so be sure to congratulate them on all of their hard work no matter the outcome!
“There has been a lot that I have learned, and I know a lot more about my horses,” Spud said. “Everyone says they want to go do it, and they should just do it! If you want to do something, do it.”
Clint and Spud both plan to continue training at least one cow horse per year in the future, and are thankful for the opportunities their clients have given them to take on the new challenge. Clint was sure to thank David and Stacie McDavid for the chance to show DMAC Reydar, and Spud made sure to extend his gratitude to Beechfork Ranch for trusting him with their mare, Its About Time. They know this new experience wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of loyal owners and clients!