Hartselle teen award winner in cutting horse competition
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
After winning a number of awards in his first two years of cutting horse competition Clint Coffey, 15, of Hartselle is gearing up for tougher competition in 2006.
In March, he will compete in the Tunica, Miss., Work-off. He earned the right to do that by winning second place in the 10,000 Amateur Class and fifth place in the Senior Youth Class in the Alabama/Tennessee area in 2005. Top10 riders and horses from several southeastern states are scheduled to compete in the event.
Coffey is also looking forward to facing competition on a national level at the Summer Spectacular in Fort Worth, Texas in July.
In his first year of competition in 2004, Coffey finished 74th in the world as a competitor in the Junior Amateur Division. He also claimed first place honors in his division at the Montgomery cutting horse show.
Last year he won reserve champion (second place) honors in both the Senior Youth and 10,000 Amateur Classes at the Franklin, Tenn. show.
Coffey's performances have earned him a number of awards and cash prizes. They include saddle blankets and other pieces of tack, belt buckles and trophies. His largest cash prize to date is $1,000.
An eight-year-old cutting horse named Dually's Mudhole is Coffey's sidekick in competitions. He brings to the show ring good training, a lot of experience and exceptional quickness and speed. He also has a trainer, Mike Legg of Moulton, who helps out in the
ring. Four herdsmen are also required for each event
To keep himself and his horse in top shape Coffey spends about two hours a day riding and practicing cutting techniques with the help of his father, Rickey, who started competing in adult classes last year. They also work with three colts.
As a home schooled student Coffey has easy and quick access to his animals. His mother, Robbie Gail, allows him to take equestrian riding in lieu of physical education one period each day.
"Attending cutting horse shows on weekends has become a way of life for us, just like it was when we were following our daughter, Jodi, when she was playing softball," said Mrs. Coffey. My parents, Robert and Virginia Clemons, have developed an interest in the sport and join us on the road when they can."
Cutting horse competitions are patterned after the skills and techniques ranch hands use to separate a cow or calf from the rest of the herd." Rickey Coffey explained. "The rider and horse have two and one-half minutes to do their work. They are awarded points by judges based on their ability to separate a calf from the herd and keep it under their control for that length of time."