Linda and Chief are champs

By Geoff Lee

December 8, 2016 12:00 AM

RIDE 'EM COWGIRL! Hometown cattle cutter, Linda Davies, recently won the $35,000 Non-pro World Championship of the National Cutting Horse Association in Forth Worth, Texas, an accolade she credits more to her horse, Chief, than to her own skills. SUPPLIED PHOTO

Local cattle cutting enthusiast, Linda Davies, has seen her hard work finally pay off.
The 67-year-old equestrian, along with her horse Chief, just won the $35,000 Non-Pro World Championship of the National Cutting Horse Association in Fort Worth, Texas, as well as the aggregate of the World Finals Show, coming out with the highest score.
For those who don’t know, the sport of cutting is a competition where a rider and horse separate, or cut as it were, a cow from the heard, then have to hold it in place for a length of time, with two and-a-half minutes to cut three cattle in front of a panel of judges.
“(There was) lots of pressure, but it was fun and I managed to have two good runs both days,” said Davies.
“A 219.5 for second (place) the first day and a 222 for first (place) the next day, and then they do what’s called a pencil score, they add your two scores together for an aggregate, then they pay out in the end from the show itself too—so I won the final show and also finished first in the world, so it was good.”
Davies described the feeling of her win as wonderful, saying she and Chief were up against more than a few good horses, and the entire year as a whole has been truly exciting. 
She admits that she’s no spring chicken, calling herself a 67 year-old Grandma, but added she had her supportive husband and family cheering her on and can’t believe how lucky she’s been.
The age of her fellow competitors varied, and the sport doesn’t discriminate between male and female riders, pitting her against both men and women from ages 18 to 70. And as well as she’s done over the past year, Davies’ said most of the credit has to go to her horse Chief.
“I found him on the Internet from the Lac La Biche reserve,” Davies said. 
“I was very blessed to have a wonderful horse, he’s amazing.”
She said her interest in cutting was sparked after experiencing the sport as a spectator, admiring how well-trained the horses had to be to work the cattle.
The riders also have to know what they’re doing, she said, but again credits the horses as the true athletes, and though she started participating later in life, said she’s enjoying the sport and joked she’ll continue cutting as long as she can afford to.
Her favourite things about cutting have less to do with the competition, however, and more to do with meeting amazing groups of people along the way, being able to travel around North America, and just being around the talented horses.
“The travel and meeting people, it’s been amazing, there are just very gracious people everywhere you go and they’re so helpful, it’s a sport where everyone helps each other,” she said.
“It’s a different sport, there’s not a cut throat mentality to it; it’s great.”

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