The 2013 reined cow horse celebration of champions derby wasn't Stuart Bozeman's first rodeo, or horse show in this case. In fact, Bozeman has been a frequent competitor in the cutting horse arena and ranch horse events. But he and his horse called 'Squiggy' made a clean sweep at the San Angelo competition.
"A reined cow horse derby is for four and five year old horses. They have to be shown in a smooth snaffle or a hackamore," Bozeman said. "They do a herd work which is like your cutting, and then they do a reining pattern, it consists of spins, lead changes, circles, and stops. And then they do a a fence work where you box a cow at the end of the arena and get control of it, then you run it down the long side of the arena and turn it both directions, then you circle it. It resembles like being out in a big pasture and trying to get a cow to a gate or something like that."
Most show horses are started under saddle as two year olds, then enter their first futurity competition as three year olds. Now in just his second year of riding, Squiggy and Bozeman have won just shy of $10,000 dollars together.
"We'd gone to a futurity last fall in Stephenville and we had good luck there, but it wasn't a real big one," Bozeman said. "There weren't a lot of entries and my horse was still really green, but about the middle of December we really went to work on him."
Bozeman credits his horse with a personality that is all business once you get on him. And he's easy to be around in the barn, too.
"He schools real easy, he's real laid back. As you can tell he's kind of like a raccoon. He always wants to be right in the middle of your business," Bozeman said. "I mean you show him something, and then he thinks about it and does it, so it doesn't take long to get him ready."
And getting a reined cow horse ready for a major show is similar to a star athlete training for a tri-athalon. The show was demanding, but in the end they came out on top.
"I won the amateur division, I won the non-pro division, the intermediate non-pro, and the novice non-pro, and then the level 1 open division, I also won that on him," Bozeman said. "It was like every time I rode in the pen he just got a little bit better, did his job a little better and tried a little harder."
Bozeman said that he tries to learn something new everyday, challenging himself and his horse to reach their full potential.
"It's not really about the belt buckles or the money why I do it, it's about making a better horse," Bozeman said. "I had some good coaches along the way, and it all just kind of came together for that show, and I hope that it will come together for some more shows in the future. That's my favorite thing, as long as your learning, you're going to be getting better."
Bozeman is currently getting ready to take Squiggy to Las Vegas, Nevada where they will compete in the NRCHA stallion stakes at the end of March.