NCHA Futurity Champions Metallic Cat and Beau Galyean serve up an Abilene encore.
It’s difficult enough to capture the Open division championship of the National Cutting Horse Assocation’s World Championship Futurity in Fort Worth.
Then, when a sizable chunk of the cutting horse industry’s prime competitors move about 150 miles down I-20 to the Taylor County Expo Center in Abilene for the Abilene Spectacular less than a month later, the first-place trophy normally is placed in the hands of a different rider and/or a beaming owner.
But on Jan. 9, just 26 days after Metallic Cat (High Brow Cat x Chers Shadow x Peptoboonsmal) and Beau Galyean had captured the NCHA Futurity and earned $300,000 with a 222, they recorded a 223 to pick up the first-place check for $50,160 in the Abilene Spectacular Derby Open.
Although the two-for-two start is a bit early to start planning for a bronze of the red roan stallion, Metallic Cat already has gone where few cutting horses have trod. Only Shania Cee and Chiquita Pistol won the NCHA Futurity and the Abilene Spectacular.
“I don’t know what more I could say than what I said after the Futurity,” Galyean said. “It feels good. Abilene has been good for me three years in a row.”
Galyean, who turned 29 on Jan. 21, captured the Abilene Spectacular Derby Non-Pro the previous two years on Myles From Nowhere and Tassa Cat. He turned professional in late 2008. Alvin Fults, Amarillo, Texas, owner of Metallic Cat, was much more effusive.
“I’m just in awe,” Fults said. “He keeps getting better and better. I actually liked this run better than the Futurity run. He seemed to have more confidence, more strength and more cow sense.
“In the go-rounds, he just kinda floated around. Beau turns him up in the finals. The more pressure there is, the better he works. His nostrils flare, his ears turn up and his eyes are looking straight ahead. It’s just like he knows it’s crunch time. It’s amazing a horse that young can feel that.
“There were some great horses here, awesome, awesome horses. You never know for sure until the last horse comes in.”
Galyean said, “He’s maturing. All the way to the Futurity and through the Futurity, those horses were being
worked hard and they were tired. I let him rest for a couple of weeks. He felt a little bit fresher here.
“Compared to Fort Worth, Abilene is a smaller pen. That cow is sure gonna get on you, test you more and have more turns for the horse. Anytime a cow looks at a horse that many times, there’s a little more pressure on you.
“I’m real happy for Alvin and Becky. It’s great when someone puts trust in you and you’re fortunate to have it work out. I’m lucky to have some success in this deal because it’s so hard to make it through the go-rounds. I was lucky to have a good draw in the second set of the finals [sixth in second group, or 21st overall].”
Although the Abilene Spectacular paid go-round money, Galyean took a cautious route as he marked a pair of
216s to reach the finals. “I don’t focus on that,” he said.
“Go-rounds to me are just surviving. I did the same at the Futurity. I was trying to be as clean as I could. I just try to focus on getting through one step at a time.”
Catty Hawk (High Brow Cat x Scarlet Dance x Peppy San Badger), owned by Cowan Ranch, Marietta, Okla., and ridden by Sean Flynn, worked first in the finals and their 221 held the lead when Galyean entered the herd on Metallic Cat.
Watching Metallic Cat is like turning a ketchup bottle upside down – pure anticipation. When Galyean rode down the right side and brought two cows out front before making his first cut just 38 seconds into the run, the show was on.
“Bruce Morine and Shannon Hall really gave me confidence in the cows I picked; they felt good from the get go and all three cows turned out to be everything we liked about them,”
Galyean said. “They drove well and I had a pretty good feel for what they were going to be.”