Communication helps couple cut it
Cayley: Gonnets impressive at Stampede cutting competition
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 06:00 am
Sometimes it pays to listen when a husband yells some advice.
Marla Gonnet of Cayley was all ears as she listened to her husband Dustin yell which cows to select at the Calgary Stampede Cutting Futurity at the Stampede Corral on Sunday.
It paid off, as she earned the reserve champion in Non-Pro Classic Challenge.
“Dustin was helping me to pick cattle out of the herd and trying to keep me calm,” Marla said.
Marla and her horse Dirty Dreamin’ scored a 217 on three cows over 2 minutes to finish second.
Cutting has horse and rider moving from side-to-side virtually mirroring a cow to prevent it from going back to the herd.
Three judges compile the scoring each starting at 70 points. Points are added or subtracted based on a horse’s performance. The minimum total score is 180 and the maximum score is 240.
“She did very well,” Marla said of Dirty Dreamin’.
“After we cut the cow from the herd, I drop my hands (let go off the reins). I then sit there and watch the cow and help her (Dirty Dreamin’) with my feet in anyway I can. I will bump her here and there, but she has so much natural instinct she does it on her own.”
She added Dirty Dreamin’ is “very cowwy” meaning the horse can read the movements of the bovine.
The pair hit it off relatively early in their relationship. Marla purchased Dirty Dreamin’ just six weeks ago from the Paradis family from Okotoks.
“I just got her and things just clicked,” Gonnet said.
“My goal was to come in here and have two clean runs to make the final and just do the best that I could.”
Her best meant she picked up a $6,611 cheque.
Marla was getting advice from a guy who can walk the talk — Dustin was the reserve champion in the three-year-old Open Futurity on board Annie’s Little Cat on Saturday.
“The three-year-olds is where the biggest purse was to be won, so I had a pretty good weekend,” Dustin said. “Coming in here, I always want to win, but coming in second is the next best thing.”
Gonnet had a 217.5 in the final round.
“I never think about how the other guys have done before me when it’s my turn,” Dustin said. “I want to cut the three best cows I can and just show my horse and let the judges determine what my score is.”
Prior to the go-round, he studies the cows as they settle to determine which animals he wants to cut.
“I study them and try to pick the best cows for my horse,” Dustin said. “Sometimes the cows aren’t very good and I just got to cut ‘em anyway.”
Annie’s Little Cat was spot on during the cutting, practically a dance partner to the cow he studied her so closely.
“I just went down there and was real focused on what my horse can do,” Dustin said. “He’s got a hard stop, is really low-headed and has good turns. I just wanted to show off his good qualities and not make any mistakes.”
Low-headed means Little Annie’s Cat can keep his head close to the dirt.
Little Annie’s Cut is owned by Robert Krentz of Manitoba, but is trained by Gonnet.
The Cayley trainer picked up 25 per cent of the $12,865 payday for winning the reserved championship.
Dustin knows the importance of studying the cows. He was also atop Ritchie Reynes in the same final.
“I lost a cow on him,” Dustin said. “I thought he was a quiet, good cow and it tricked me.”
Gerry Hansma of Granum won the three-year-old Open Futurity.
Dustin also ended up winning the Open Derby on the Doug Wiens owned This Cats Max with a score of 220. He picked up 25 per cent of the $7,169 winning cheque in that event.
“I had a clean slate on him,” Dustin said.
He said it won’t be too long before he won’t be helping Marla with the cow selection.
“She doesn’t have the opportunity to watch cows because she is warming up her horse and stuff,” Dustin said. “As time goes on, she will learn to watch cows.”
So, Dustin, who’s warming up your horse while your eyeballing cows?
“Um, usually her,” he said with a laugh.
The Gonnets operate Gonnet Performance Horses near Cayley.
To see the full results of the Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Futurity go to ag.calgarystampede.com/results