Glynda Turner's voice cracks every time she talks about why she's riding in the Augusta Futurity this year.
Turner, a relative newcomer to the sport of cutting from Lake City, Fla., hoped to share the experience of riding in her first major cutting horse show with her husband, Ronnie, who she considered "my No. 1 fan."
In late November, Ronnie unexpectedly died from complications following heart surgery.
"He's why I'm here," Turner said. "He wanted us to do this so bad this year. It's really been hard and very nerve-wracking."
Three years ago, the Turners attended the Augusta Futurity as spectators. Not long after that Glynda took up the sport, with the idea of riding in the Augusta show one day.
In Turner's first Augusta ride, last Saturday, she won the first go-round of the $5,000 Amateur with a 217.
"He was watching and helping me," Turner said of her late husband.
Turner eventually finished 15th in the finals but returns to the civic center pen on Friday to ride in the $50,000 Amateur.
"It would be very emotional if she won," said Terri Bowdoin, Turner's good friend and neighbor, who will also be riding the $50,000 Amateur. "I know it would be very emotional for me, so I know it would be for her. She is doing this mainly because of him. He got her into it and pushed her and pushed her. She was good and he wanted her to do the best she could."
Ronnie Turner rode horses at home but didn't show competitively "because he was too nervous," Glynda Turner said. "But we went everywhere watching shows because he enjoyed them so much."
"He's a very missed man by everyone," Bowdoin said. "He touched lots of lives. He was very friendly and kind. He was a very giving man. I know she misses him all the time, but she's really thought about him a lot more this week. I know I've thought about him."
The Turners are the ones who sparked Bowdoin's interest in cutting.
After her husband's death, Turner "got right back into cutting," Bowdoin said. "I think it's helped her stay busy and it's what he would have wanted. There is an angel up there watching her whenever she rides."
Bowdoin hopes her friend stays with cutting, because she thinks her future in the sport is a bright one. So does professional trainer Jeff McDaniel of Hartford, Ala., who has worked with Turner and her horse, Phoebes Rascal.
"She (Turner) has come a long way," McDaniel said. "She wasn't very good when I got her. She just stayed uptight and nervous. She's gotten where she pays attention good and she and the horse are starting to work together. She and that horse are getting along real good."
Turner's horse also brings back memories of her husband every time she rides the 8-year-old stallion.
"That horse was kind of special to my husband," Turner said.
No matter what happens in the $50,000 Amateur Friday, Turner won't ever forget her first go-round leading run in last Saturday's $5,000 Amateur.
"When I went in there I said `God, please let me get through this and show my horse,"' she said. "I had no idea we were going to do as well as we did. I still didn't realize it was that good until I watched the video. He was working great. It was so smooth."
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