The third time is certainly the charm for Terrell, Texas, youth cutting horse enthusiast Austria Arnold and her 2004 American Quarter Horse gelding Haidas Heritage. The competitive pair was recently honored with the breed association’s annual youth cutting high-point award for the third consecutive year. Cutting, a popular western equestrian event, pits the horse against a selected cow from a herd of cattle. The rider and horse team then drives it to the center of the arena where the horse works to hold the cow from the balance of the herd. Two to three cows are typically cut during the judged 2 1/2 minute competition showdown.
"Heri's cow sense and athleticism helped us win this honor," says Austria. "He is very athletic."
Arnold, a sophomore at The Hockaday School in Dallas, competes on multiple horses on a regular basis in both the AQHA and the National Cutting Horse Association. During 2013 she rode the sorrel gelding Haidas Heritage, known by Austria and her family as Heri, to win the AQHA youth high-point cutting title over 12-months of competition for the third consecutive year.
“It is a great feeling when you are in-sync with your horse and the cow you have selected,” says the 15-year-old youth cutting horse competitor. “Heri and I have really excelled at the AQHA competitions over the last few years.”
Austria, who has worked with cutting horse trainer Ed Dufurrena for the last 18 months, credits the Gainesville, Texas, trainer for much of her success. Dufurrena has focused on honing Austria’s cattle selection skills with particular emphasis on how to pick the best cow for the horse she is riding. “I feel like I have learned a tremendous amount about cattle from Ed over the last year.”
Austria has won many awards aboard her family’s quarter horses but finds particular pride in winning the AQHA honor. First winning the AQHA Youth High Point honor in 2011, she repeated the nationwide win in both 2012 and 2013. “I am very proud of the fact that I ride Quarter Horses. They are amazing animals and offer so much versatility and athletic ability. I have grown up attending the AQHA events and love winning the breed association awards,” says Austria.
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