Lauren Minshall admitted to being rusty Friday.
Add that to the fact she and CR Sister Tuff had never cut a cow together before. Sure, they’ve done some flag work, but that doesn’t compare to real competition.
Despite everything going against her, Minshall did just fine in the Futurity Non-Pro go-round. She and her mare marked 216 to tie for the top score with Cade Shepard and Bama Dawg. Sasha Thompson and Thommo placed third at 215.5. The top 14 horses with scores of 208 or better advanced to the finals, which will be held this afternoon at James Brown Arena.
“I’m ecstatic,” Minshall said. “I was extremely nervous. We we walked down there and I was like let’s just get through it, let’s just survive. Don’t make a fool of yourself.”
Trainer Gabe Reynolds purchased CR Sister Tuff as a 2-year-old for Jarrett and Shannon Callahan. He trained the horse, while Minshall always got her ready and took care of her. Reynolds made the NCHA Futurity semifinals on CR Sister Tuff when the Callahans mentioned wanting to sell the horse.
“I was devastated,” the 27-year-old Minshall said. “I was worried they were going to sell her to someone outside of our barn.”
The Callahans offered Minshall of Vine Grove, Ky., the chance to purchase the horse. It was a no-brainer. Minshall now had a show horse after competing just once just June.
She and Reynolds attended a smaller show in preparation for the Augusta Futurity. Reynolds showed CR Sister Tuff well earlier in the day, so Minshall elected not to show her. Finally, the pair made their first run together in the Augusta Futurity.
“Gabe really wants me to enjoy her,” she said. “It’s not nearly as much fun doing all the work and not getting to show. He’s not the slightest bit selfish with any of his horses. He really encourages the owners to enjoy them as well. So he was really encouraging of me.”
CR Sister Tuff is a sweetheart outside of the pen, Minshall said. When it’s time to work, though, her horse flips the switch.
“She takes a lot of work,” Minshall said. “She really enjoys her job. She’s always fresh afterward. Every day you get on her, as soon as your butt hits the saddle she’s slinging her head, pretending to kick you out. She’s definitely a hot-headed woman.”