The small cutting pen inside James Brown Arena suits Kaitlyn Larsen just fine.
After winning the inaugural Mercuria NCHA World Series of Cutting Non-Pro last year on Laredo Montana, she returned with a new horse. And now she’s primed to repeat as champion.
Larsen and Sir Stylish Lizzy marked 222 to win the Mercuria NCHA World Series of Cutting Non-Pro go-round on Wednesday night by one point over Kathy Boone and Playin Witha Cat. The top eight horses with scores of 217 or better advanced to tonight’s finals, which should begin around 9 p.m. It is the last of four finals which begin at 6.
“I love this place. I love this pen,” Larsen said. “The cows are always tough, which I like.”
Larsen showed Sir Stylish Lizzy two days earlier in the Classic Non-Pro. The pair struggled with their second cow and left the pen before the run ended – she did advance to the Classic Non-Pro finals on her mare, Light N Lily.
“To come out here with two horses and make the finals on both of them is great,” she said. “I just love it.”
Larsen bought Sir Stylish Lizzy (aka Nickel), a 6-year-old gelding by Lizzys Gotta Player out of Stylish Sharon, last spring from Michael and Jennifer Cooper.
“I needed a horse with a little more horsepower,” she said. “I got so lucky to find Nickel. He’s the full package. He’s a great show horse. He’s dynamic, physical. But he’s also such a sweet horse.”
Larsen, the 2012 Non-Pro World Championship reserve champion, made the most of her one run in the Mercuria Non-Pro go-round.
She planned to cut three cows, but she added they were a little tougher than she wanted.
“My first cow just took off. She was the worst one I cut,” she said. “The second two I cut were just quick and in our face. If I hadn’t been riding a horse like that, I might not have survived that run.”