Cade Shepard flipped the football in his hands, while his dad, Austin, prepared for the rest of his Monday.
After showing six horses in the Classic Open competition, Shepard left James Brown Arena about 2 p.m. to return to the Hippodrome to work some of the 32 horses he brought with him to Augusta. Still, he planned to play throw the football around some with his 11-year-old son.
“I think we can make time for that,” the elder Shepard said.
Shepard found time to ride three of his horses to the top of the go-round leaderboard. Aboard Cats In Ya Dreams, Shepard finished first with 222. He then tied himself for second place with scores of 219 aboard Divas On Time and Great Chief.
“I thought it went great,” he said. “I can’t complain.”
Trainer Roger Wagner brought the mare Dreams of Oak from Australia and breeded her to High Brow Cat, resulting in the offspring, Cats In Ya Dreams, now 6. When Wagner was forced to sell his horses, he sent Cats In Ya Dreams, now owned by Ten/27 Ranch in Denham Springs, La., to Shepard two years ago. The horse was gelded last spring, and that helped the horse’s disposition, Shepard said.
“He’s got a pretty big motor,” he said. “He’s a little goofy to be around. Playful. But he’s really super talented.
“I think he’s just going to keep getting better.”
Showing cutting horses is a real family affair.
Shepard’s wife, Stacy, has been a long-time cutter. Cade has joined the circuit, already competing this week in the Augusta Futurity. Austin Shepard said his 7-year-old daughter, Caylee, also will begin the sport soon.
“We’re able to spend a lot of time together,” Austin Shepard said. “We’re pretty lucky in the fact that we’ve spent pretty much every moment with the kids since they were born. I don’t think I’d be going to as many shows if they weren’t here with me. I don’t think I could do a three-week show and not see them.”
When he’s not traveling, Shepard stays busy with his training operation in Summerdale, Ala. He works with 50 to 60 horses at his ranch, and then he hauls his fair share to events around the country.
“I stay pretty busy,” Shepard said.