I couldn’t have a website about Red Vette Ranch without showing my horse! I started riding in 2003. My wife had been riding for a long time, but I didn’t have much interest. When she started doing “Western Reining”, I got interested. It looked like a lot of fun, and it was. I started taking lessons, and I became hooked on it.
When it became clear that I needed my own horse, my trainer found one close by. I bought him and took lessons on him. Through no fault of my own, it turned out that he was an amazingly talented horse.
In Western Reining, you run different patterns that always contain the same 4 types of maneuvers. You do spins, large/fast and small/slow circles, sliding stops, and a backup. It turned out that Cautious was a huge stopper. It was his favorite thing, and he always nailed it. In most of the patterns, you do the spins and circles at the beginning and do 3 sliding stops at the end. When I was competing, I would get through the beginning of the pattern, and when it was time to stop, I’d relax because I knew that from then on, it was just going to be fun and easy and that’s where I could earn a lot of points. Nothing feels better than running 35 miles per hour, saying “Whoa” and having your horse slide to a stop.
My wife had a trainer she had worked with for a long time who started winning national championships when she was 6 years old. She was in her 30’s when she told us that she would like to try out for the 2006 Olympics in Achen, Germany. She didn’t have a horse that was good enough, so I lent her Cautious. At the trials in Kentucky, she scored the highest score she had ever had in her life on Cautious and he became the 1stalternate to the Olympics. That’s how good he was. His lifetime show earnings were over $73,000.
I did well with him too. I won quite a bit, and in 2008, I was one of the Top 10 reiners in the US as a Prime-Time Non-Pro rider. Prime-Time is for riders over 55 (we called it wrinkled reining). It was a big achievement for me, and I have him to thank for it.
Being such an athlete, he developed arthritis. My vet told me in 2009 that I was going to need to retire Cautious. He told me that I could have one last run on him, but if I kept riding him, it would cripple him. I retired him a San Diego, where he still lives today in a very nice facility. I got my last run on him and took 2nd place out of about 110 horses. Here’s his last run.