Cheylin Patenaude may be young, but she is fierce competition in the show pen. This year she made sure her presence was known by consistently topping the leaderboard at shows across Canada with her dynamic mare, Gracies Cat. Cheylin worked hard to rise to the top - showing her horse, helping out loping horses at shows, all the while still in school, and always maintaining a humble and kind attitude. When people say, "that's a good kid", I tend to think of Cheylin. Plus, her and Gracies Cat are definitely a duo that makes people stop and watch - Gracie can sling some dirt around, and Chey can really ride her, they are a very talented duo. The High School Student ended up Reserve Champion in the 2,000 Limit Rider in Canada with an incredible $3,973 won, and also captured the reserve championship title in Alberta, as well as fourth overall in Saskatchewan. So without further ado, A Beginner's Guide to Cutting with Cheylin Patenaude...
Cheylin Patenaude and Gracies Cat were the 2017 Co-Champions of the Bill Collins Youth Scholarship cutting held in conjunction with the Calgary Stampede Mercuria. Photo Credit: Hudyma Photography
What is your horses registered name?
Gracies Cat (x Annies Cat)
What is their barn name?
Gracie Tell me a little bit about their personality?
Gracie is definitely the type of horse that likes to get things done. She is very energetic and doesn't have much patience for standing around, she likes to keep things fast paced which can be pretty fun. What is your favourite thing about your pony? There are lots of things that I really love about Gracie but what I love the most is how dependable she is in the show pen. No matter what the conditions are like or how tough the run is I know that she wont quit on me and she will try her hardest to save me if i get too ahead of myself and out of position.
Describe their style in the show pen?
Gracie's really gritty in the show pen and will tough out whatever kind of run your having in any condition. She gets super cowy and will do way more than she needs to. She keeps things energetic and exciting in the pen, as she always impresses with how low she can go. What class(es) do you show in?
the 2000 Limit Rider and I did show in the youth once or twice this year When you started out the year, what were your goals? At the beginning of the year I was mainly shooting to just be consistent all the way through the show season and after that we sort of made it a goal to run for the Canadian title and shoot for top 15 in the NCHA standings in the 2,000 Limit Rider.
Do you ride with a trainer, if so, who?
For the start and majority of the show season I rode with Glen Beveridge, Valleyview Alberta, and ended up finishing off the year with Dustin Gonnet, Cayley Alberta. Both Glen and Dustin have been very supportive and I have learned lots from riding with them. They've been a key factor in all of my accomplishments.
Cheylin and Gracies Cat are a very dynamic duo in the show pen. Photo Credit: Just Enjoy Photography
What was the highlight of your show career this year specifically?
So far this year one of my highlights was qualifying for the Bill Collins Youth Scholarship and getting the opportunity to compete in the Calgary Stampede during the NCHA Mercuria. That was definitely a really great experience and getting to show in a showpen like that was lots of fun and really exciting. Gracie gave me a great run and in the end I came out co-Champion with Tara Callaghan and received my first ever belt buckle.
What was the low point?
There were a couple low points this year, one of them hit around mid show season and I couldn't put together any solid runs. I just had a hard time figuring Gracie out and I wasn't making any good runs for a couple weeks. It was really tough to get out of that slump. But that is cutting. How did you get through it?
With help from my trainer, we eventually figured it out by working on our weak spots as well as changing up our warm up routine until we found something that started working for us again. Do you get nerves/anxiety in the show pen?
I used to get really nervous in my first year of showing but I kind of got over it after a while with more experience now I don't get too nervous in the show pen for the most part anymore. It helps when I always knew I would have good turn back help in the show pen, helping me out.
If so, how do you deal with them? For me it really helped just getting more show experience and building confidence. Also showing at bigger shows to start off with really helped for all the smaller shows. So I guess just getting used to the environment and everything helped me get over my nerves. Also I find that taking an extra long time warming up Gracie always helped me and Gracie chill out.
Photo Credit: Roughstock Studios
What was the best advice you received in the show pen, or about cutting, this year?
"One cow at a time" has to be some of the best advice I've received in the show pen. It always helps to hear this before I walk in because it reminds me to stay focused on what is happening instead of worrying about my entire run all at once.
What was your best moment in the show pen this year?
It is hard to pick one really good moment as I have been so lucky to have many. I think one of the best moments was winning the Calgary Stampede belt buckle. Another most memorable moment would be during the Saskatoon Cutting Horse Show in June. It was so nice being able to show where my family lives and having the support of all my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins cheering for Gracie and I, that was a great feeling. Gracie and I had one of our most consistent weekends and marked 74's both days, ending up the aggregate winner that show.
What do you plan to show in next year? Next year I am planning on going to university so sadly I'll have to take a break from the cutting life.