Cade McCutcheon doesn’t appear to be nervous as he prepares for a world equestrian competition, but his father says he will be.
And his father should know: He has competed on the world stage himself.
The younger McCutcheon, an incoming senior at Aubrey High School, will compete for the U.S. in the 2017
for Juniors and Young Riders Aug. 9-12 in Givrins, Switzerland. The 17-year-old will be in the Young Riders competition with three teammates from Kentucky, Missouri and Oklahoma. The alternate on the team is from Florida.
“It’s exciting,” Cade said of going to the competition. “It’s the first time the USA has sent a team over there for this, and hopefully, it will be fun. It should be fun. I’m excited.”
He grew up in a horse family. His father, Tom McCutcheon, and grandfather, Tim McQuay, are renowned trainers. His mother, Mandy, is an equestrian as well.
Cade said he has learned “everything, pretty much” about competition from his elders, especially “short-term memory.”
“If you have a bad run, you’ve got to move on quick,” he said. “If you have a good run, you’ve got to move on quick, because you’ve got be to be ready for the next run.”
Tom McCutcheon said it’s a big deal for his son to go to the competition as only a handful of other Americans are competing. He knows what it’s like to be in his son’s place on the world stage as he has participated in reining horse competitions, including winning individual and team gold medals at the World Equestrian Games, according to his company’s website.
“I’m going to be nervous watching him, I know that,” he said.
The McCutcheons own and operate Tom McCutcheon Reining Horses Inc., in Aubrey, which is one of the premier reining training, breeding and rehabilitation facilities in the country.
Mandy and the McCutcheons’ daughter, Carlee, also are accomplished equestrians. Tom is a leading rider in the reining field.
Cade spends several hours a day during weekdays in the summer riding to prepare for the event at his folks’ business. But he spends just an hour a day with the horse that he will take to Switzerland, a quarter horse named Yellow Jersey that is kept at his grandfather’s McQuay Stables in Tioga. McQuay Stables is a state-of-the-art reining and hunter & jumper training, sales and breeding facility.
At the international competition, participants will perform a number of maneuvers with their horses, such as running and sliding, pivoting, turning and spinning. Participants also run circles and run fast and then slow down. An event can last three or four minutes, depending on how fast someone goes.
“You’ve got seven or eight maneuvers depending on the pattern,” Cade said.
The competition consists of team and individual rounds. Judging is tough, so riders must be precise, and judges can assess penalties.
“You get a big penalty, that can take you out of the game pretty easy,” Cade said.
Cade feels prepared for the event.
“We’ve had that horse for a few years now, and I know him pretty good,” he said. “He’s made some big runs, so I think he’ll be ready to go.”
Cade said he wants to continue riding after high school and make a career out of competitive riding.
Tim McQuay, a National Reining Horse Association Hall of Famer along with wife Colleen, said it’s a “little nerve-wracking” to see Yellow Jersey, 14, go to Europe again.
“We have a lot of faith in him,” Tim said.
Yellow Jersey was in a World Equestrian Games competition a few years ago in France and won a gold medal in team competition with Mandy.
As for his grandson competing on the world stage, Tim said: “It’s very enjoyable for us to see it.”