Noah Edwards, 13, is congratulated by his mom, Stacey, and JP Bell for marking a 75 on Metallic Star, owned by Nancy Burkes, to win the Sylvan Nelson Memorial traveling trophy for the $1,000 Rider Class.

By Mary Jo Lehmann

The MNCHA Fall Festival held Oct. 11-13 was great from start to finish, with good cattle and excellent ground.

One of the best runs of the show was laid down by one of the youngest riders. On Saturday, Noah Edwards, 13, the son of Non-Pro competitor Stacey Johnson, marked a 75 on Metallic Star, owned by Nancy Burkes, to win the Sylvan Nelson Memorial traveling trophy for the $1,000 Rider Class.

The Saddle Shootout, sponsored by Bill Zaharia and Owatonna Motors, was held Saturday evening and was the show’s highlight. Two saddles crafted by South Texas Tack of Brenham, Texas, could be won — one in combination of the Non-Pro, $50AM and $35,000NP divisions, and one in the $15AM, $2,000 limited rider and $1,000 rider classes.

A spirited calcutta was held prior to the event that was a lot of fun and a good fundraiser for the association. Young Noah Edwards was first to go in his division and set the bar extremely high, marking a 74 on Metallic Star.

Nice runs followed, but no one could top that mark until Jenna Brantner rode to the herd on Euphemia CD as the second to last cutter. Jenna and the gritty17-year-old mare gave it all they had, and their run was rewarded with a 75 and the saddle.

In the Non-Pro/$50AM/$35,000NP division, Brian Cottrell guided Moneymaker to “the ride of a lifetime’’ to mark a 75, also earning a saddle Saturday evening, a feast was laid out for cutters inside the (thankfully) warm Minnesota Equestrian Center in Winona, courtesy of Gary and Sally Hansen, who donated pork for the potluck; Jolynn and Scott McDonald who prepared the well-appreciated spread; and Mary Wilkinson and Pam Harrington who organized the dinner.

This was the first year MNCHA didn’t have a Breeder’s Futurity. But a $2,500 added Open Futurity was held. The class wasn’t large, but the competition was stiff and ended with Co-Champions Lil Sneakin Metallic, by Metallic Cat out of Lil Miss Sneakin, ridden by Grant Daniel and owned by Larry and Michele Thompson; and Sweet Sugar Kit, by Kit Kat Sugar out of A Merada Star, ridden by Bob Janssen and owned by Margaret Mehle.

Each earned approximately $1,600 for the win.

Brian Cottrell and Jenna Brantner win 2019 MNCHA Saddle Shootout!

Brian Cottrell, left, won the 2019 MNCHA Saddle Shootout at the Fall Festival, marking a 75 on his 8-year-old gelding, Moneymaker.

Jenna Brantner of Menomonie, Wis., won the MNCHA 2019 Saddle Shootout at the Fall Festival, marking a 75 on Euphemia CD.

State Fair Cutting Aug. 26-27

Mary Jo Lehmann and MCHA President, Dave Scribner award JP Bell the Open Champion Buckle.

Jenna Brantner won the $2,000 Limited Rider both days riding Euphemia CD.

Mary Jo Lehmann presents Kate Grover with the Non Pro Champion Buckle and Travis Grover with the Amateur Champion Buckle.

Mark Lundeen is all smiles receiving the Bridleless Champion Buckle from Mary Jo Lehmann

Retired physician Margaret Mehle is enjoying cutting again, after moving to Minnesota from Oklahoma.

MARGARET MEHLE

The first cutting horse Margaret Mehle bought taught her a lesson — but not the one she wanted to learn.

This was in the early 1980s, in Oklahoma, and Margaret, a physician, had recently returned from Texas, where she had watched the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) World Championships.

“I was dating a cowboy at the time and he took me to the Texas cuttings,’’ she recalled. “All my life I wanted a horse, from the time I was a little girl. But I never got one. And as I watched those championships in Texas, I thought, ‘I can do that.’ ’’

Returning to Oklahoma, Margaret soon attended her first horse sale. A mare caught her eye, and when that horse left the sale ring, Margaret owned her.

“But when I got that horse to my trainer’s barn, the drugs she had been given at the sale wore off, and she was a completely different mare,’’ Margaret recalled. “My trainer couldn’t ride her, and he wouldn’t let me ride her. She was too dangerous.’’

Undaunted, Margaret, a Minnesota Cutting Horse Association member who today owns eight horses, and who rides out of trainer Bob Janssen’s barn near Rush City, Minn., soon returned to another Oklahoma sale.

A Virginia native, she had attended medical school on a public health scholarship, and upon graduation, she was assigned to provide medical care at a federal prison in El Reno, Okla.

“I loved Oklahoma then, and I still do,’’ she said.

Margaret’s second horse sale ended more positively. This time she left with two horses, one of which, a Doc Bar-bred gelding, was her buddy for 31 years.

“We called him Cowboy,’’ she said. “I loved that horse. He was the first one I won a class on.’’

In the late 1980s and 1990s, Oklahoma was alive with cutters, cutting horses and cutting competitions. “You didn’t have to travel much more

than an hour and you could find a cutting most every weekend,’’ Margaret said.

When she retired in 2014 after a long career as a family practice physician, Margaret moved north to St. Paul, drawn there by her two adult children, Susan and Josef, both of whom live in Minnesota’s Capitol City.

“I figured with the move and everything, I would get out of cutting,’’ she said. “But eight months later, I found myself at a cutting in Winona, where I met Mary Farr, who was riding at the time with Bob Janssen. One thing led to another and before long I went to Bob’s place and rode one of his horses.’’

Physicians don’t use the word “addict’’ lightly. But that’s how Margaret describes herself when the subject is cutting.

“My thing always has been young horses, and the first horse I bought from Bob was a 5-year-old,’’ she said. “I started enjoying cutting again immediately.’’

In the years since, Margaret has surrounded herself with a small remuda. Among her eight cutting-bred horses is a 13-year-old gelding; a 6-year-old mare; two 5-year-old mares; one 4-year-old mare; one 3-year-old mare; a 2-year-old stud; and a yearling filly.

Each was acquired from Janssen, or with his help, and this summer, at cuttings in Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma and Colorado, Margaret has regularly found herself at the pay window, as has Janssen, riding her horses in novice classes.

“Bob has helped me a lot,’’ she said. “I’m at his place two or three days a week in the summer. In winter, I’m probably there, riding, as many as five days a week.’’

Janssen says working with Margaret is a trainer’s dream.

“Margaret is so passionate about the sport of cutting,’’ he said. “She genuinely supports everyone in the sport, and while she’s a fierce competitor, she’s very real about all the facets that go into success.’’

This fall, she and Janssen will show her 3-year-old mare, who’s by Kit Kat Sugar, in small futurities.

“She’s really a nice horse,’’ she said. “Next year I hope to show at the big Futurity in Fort Worth. My 2-year-old stud is by Hottish and he’s coming along really well.’’

Said Janssen: “Margaret is such a gracious woman to be around, and her enthusiasm is contagious — not just to my wife, Anita, and me, but to our entire team. She’s become a part of our family. The sport is lucky to have her.’’

MNCHA Horse Expo booth spreads the word about cutting

Minnesota Cutting Horse Association board members Gary Hansen, left, and Dave Hamilton join MNCHA member Anita Janssen and MNCHA secretary Dava Scribner in the group’s booth at the Horse Expo in St. Paul on the State Fairgrounds, May 26-29.

Many of the tens of thousands of horse owners and others who paraded through the State Fairgrounds April 26-28 while attending the annual Minnesota Horse Expo stopped at the Minnesota Cutting Horse Association (MNCHA) booth.

Staffed by MNCHA secretary Dava Scribner, who volunteered her time over the three-day show, with help from Anita Janssen, Dave Hamilton, JoLynn McDonald, Gary Hansen and others, the booth offered volumes of information about cutting and specifically about the MNCHA to the many Expo visitors who stopped to chat.

In the booth, a video ran continuously showcasing riders and their horses working cows.

Anita Janssen, wife of MNCHA member and trainer Bob Janssen, even brought a few pairs of virtual reality goggles that gave people a chance to visualize what it’s like to sit on a cutting horse while working a cow.

The group’s Expo presence was part of the MNCHA board’s ramped-up efforts to spread the word about cutting, and hopefully gain new members.

The expansive publication gave insights into what cutting is all about and offered a listing of MNCHA trainers who can give cutting newcomers the information they need to get started.

MNCHA members Deborah Moller, left, and Dennis Anderson joined Texas cutting horse trainer and performance coach Barbra Schulte, center, along with Nichole Studenberg, second from right, and Stephanie Shadiow at the Horse Expo. Barbra worked the riders and their horses on flag work, as well as how to read and sort cattle in four sessions over two days at the Expo.

Barbra Schulte Headlines at MN Horse Expo

Veteran Texas cutting horse trainer and performance coach Barbra Schulte was a headline attraction at the Minnesota Horse Expo April 26-28, and a handful of MNCHA members helped her demonstrate to thousands of show visitors what cutting and cow work are all about.

Schulte has won nearly $1 million in NCHA competition, and includes the NCHA Derby, Super Stakes Classic, and Augusta Futurity among her championship wins.

Schulte is also a well-known author and equine consultant who was raised on her family’s Illinois ranch, where as a girl she helped ride, train and prepare for sale some of the operation’s 500 horses.

A resident of Brenham, Texas, Schulte in 2000 was named the National Female Equestrian of the Year by the American Quarter Horse Association, and in 2012 she was voted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame. She also has been inducted into the National Cutting Horse Association Members Hall of Fame.

MNCHA chairman Dave Scribner hauled cattle to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds April 26-27 so Schulte could demonstrate cutting and herd work to Expo visitors

Using a horse trained by MNCHA board chairman Dave Scribner, Barbra Schulte demonstrated how to assess and enter a herd calmly, under control and with a plan.

Over those two days, in four seminar-workshops, Schulte, with help from MNCHA members Mary Jo Lehmann, Nichole Studenberg, Deb Moller, Stephanie Shadiow and Dennis Anderson, stressed the importance while competing of mental, emotional and physical self-awareness.

A certified personal performance coach, Schulte in 1994 introduced her Mentally Tough program for riders of all disciplines.

At the Expo, Schulte also presented classroom seminars that focused specifically on how riders can best prepare themselves for competition — skills that also can be utilized successfully in day-to-day living. Visualization, Schulte says, is a key mental skill. “That’s because we tend to get what we think about,’’ she said. Schulte’s books, videos, online training courses and other information are available on her website, www.barbraschulte.com.

SADDLE SHOOTOUT

There will be two saddles awarded for two separate groups of classes – classes included in one group -Non Pro, $50,000 Amateur, $35,000 Non Pro and classes in second group $15,000 Amateur, $2,000 Limited Rider and $1,000 Rider. You will receive one point for each time you enter a class. The top five point earners from each class will be eligible to ride in the Saddle Shootout at the October Cutting. All 15 finalists in each group will receive an award. All MCHA approved cuttings will be included for points. The more times you enter your class; the more points you will earn towards riding in the Shootout. Complete details will be available at the March Madness cutting in Cannon Falls, MN or you can call Dava Scribner for further information at 612-845-1270.