Haulin' w/ Brian Pearse


Brian Pearse is certainly no stranger to the NCHA World Finals. In 2016 he made the finals in both the $2,000 Limit Rider and $15,000 Amateur. In 2017 he was crowned the champion of the $35,000 Non Pro, and this year he is back in the $35,000 Non Pro, sitting fourth with $8,692 in earnings. In addition, he will be competing in the $50,000 Amateur, where he is currently fourteenth, with $16,435 in winnings. A regular fixture in the world finals circle, Pearse says he is most concerned with ensuring he's becoming a better rider year-by-year. Learn more about his journey to the World's in this instalment of Haulin'...


Brian Pearse has now made the NCHA World Finals three years in a row.

Tell me a little about your horse...

His registered name is Reys Hot Wheels, he is by Dual Rey, out of Smart Little Beauty x Smart Little Lena. Around the barn we call him Hot Wheels. He’s actually my wife’s (Colleen) horse and I’m very happy that she is letting me show him! He's a loveable guy that likes people and is very easy to be around.

He’s fairly laid back. He doesn’t get too excited about too many things. However, from time to time, he channels his inner youth and he might give a little buck and a squeal - preferably not in the show pen but of course he has done it there too. What is your favourite thing about your pony?

On a run in the show pen, he can really hit the brakes, get down low, and freeze that cow and wait. Coolest thing. How long have you had your horse and how did they come into your life?

My wife has owned Hot Wheels for about two years and she has two horses. My horse has needed a little R&R and she has graciously let me use him while my horse recovers. Who originally trained it/who showed it previous to you?

Hot Wheels was originally trained by Steve Schlesinger and Tim Smith. My wife Colleen showed him in 2017 and 2018.

Describe their style in the show pen?

He’s gritty, has a good stop, a smooth turn, and he manages to do his job regardless of whatever I might decide to be doing up there at the time. What class(es) do you show in?

I am currently showing in both the $50,000 Amateur and the $35,000 Non Pro classes. If you show in more than one, do you find one harder than the other? If so, why?

Both classes are equally challenging and enjoyable. I would have to say, however, that it is kind of nice to use fresh cows.


Pearse competing at the Golden Spike Event Centre in Ogden, Utah,

Leading up to this year, what was your biggest accomplishment or favourite moment in the cutting pen?

I had the good blessing of winning the 2017 NCHA World Championship in the $35,000 Non Pro on my horse Reyd. When you think of one horse that defines your career in the pen, what horse is it, and why did you pick them?

I’ve had a very short career (more like an apprenticeship that is still in-process) and each of my horses (San Thules Heritage, Reyd, Reys Hot Wheels) have taught me to cut better, ride better, to win, to lose, to persevere, and to thoroughly enjoy the sport. When you started out the year, what were your goals? Was it always to make world finals?

My goal for this year was to become a better rider and I feel that although my journey is still in-process in this regard, I have accomplished that goal.

Is this the first time you are going to be headed to world finals? If not, what other years did you qualify and in what classes?

I’ve been fortunate to make the 2016 World Finals in the $2,000 Limit Rider and the $15,000 Amateur and the 2017 World Finals in the $35,000 Non Pro.


Pearse says trainer, Mike Wood (pictured), is not only an awesome trainer and horseman, but an awesome person as well.

Do you ride with a trainer, if so, who?

I ride with Mike Wood Performance Horses. Mike Wood is an awesome person, trainer, horseman and coach. He has taught me so much and I continue to learn so much more from him. I have also benefitted tremendously from the advice and teachings of Roper Curtiss as well as all of the support staff. This barn has such great people that are so supportive and fun to spend time with. What is the best advice your trainer has ever given you?

I’ve received so much great advice. If I had to pick the best advice, it would be to make sure to cut the cow then centre them up in the middle of the pen because a good run starts there. What has been the highlight of your year so far?

Winning the circuit in both the $50,000 Am and the $35,000 Non Pro classes at the NMCHA Kenny Paul Memorial Cutting Horse show in September in Moriarity, NM. Have you had a low point?

I’ve certainly been in a “non-winning rut” from time to time. How did you get through it?

I remind myself how blessed I am to be doing this sport. And with such awesome people around to influence me, I am able to stay positive, keep it simple, and re-build back up from the basics.

Do you get nerves/anxiety in the show pen?

I have been both nervous and anxious in the past but I’m generally pretty calm.

If so, how do you deal with them?

I try to stay in the moment whereby I try to clear my head of the million niggly things swimming through it and just only think about a few things such as focusing on the cow, sitting the stop and waiting. What was the best advice you received in the show pen, or about cutting, in general?

Less is more. I often try too hard, and when I do this I can hear Mike Wood say: "you’re working harder than your horse!" This means to relax, ride my horse, sit the stop and wait; and let my horse do what he does best. What is one thing that you think you’ve conquered, or gotten a lot better at, this year?

Quitting the cow in a more professional manner versus yanking my hand up like I’m lucky that the cow quit me. What’s your best tip for balancing real life with hauling?

There are such good people in this sport. Spend some time with people you know, meet some new people, and enjoy the camaraderie and fellowship.


Pearse and his wife, Colleen, travel down the road and compete together.

What could you not live without at a cutting?

It’s really great to haul and show with my wife Colleen. We get to experience the sport together, talk horses, support each other and keep each other more or less sane. What’s your number one tip for hauling down the road?

Don’t live and die on one run or even one show. It’s a long year and it’s the cumulative successes that count towards the Rider Earning’s. Bad runs happen so learn from them and move on. Have you had to haul pretty hard this year?

Many of our shows are near our second home in Arizona. However, we have thoroughly enjoyed showing in new places to us such as Amarillo and Waco, Tx. What is your favourite show to haul too, and why?

The AZCHA shows in Queen Creek, Arizona. It’s our home arena. It is usually sunny and warm. Footing is good. Awesome help in the pen. All the people are great and everybody has fun. If you could show to one song, what would it be?

Authority Song by John Mellancamp. Have you had an embarrassing moment in the show pen this year?

I am so thankful to the herd help that has helped me throughout the year, mainly: Les Bates, Cody Lamont, Todd Adolf, and Scott Raftery in addition to Mike Wood. And, I do get new help from time to time which is also very much appreciated. They not only point out good cows and help with the herd but they provide great advice. Anyway, sometimes I am so focused on my ride, I forget who has helped me. By the time I finish my run, turn my horse, and leave the pen, the turn back riders have often left the pen. This is particularly embarrassing to me because: 1. They were standing right there a minute ago. 2. I truly wish to acknowledge their helpfulness and 3. I can be such an idiot sometimes.

Looking towards world finals, what are you most excited about?

I’m excited to get out into the big pen, march out a few good cows and see if I can’t use my cumulative knowledge to have the funnest ride of my life. What do you plan to show in next year?

Next year I hope to show in the $5,000 Novice Horse Non Pro. What are your goals for next year?

My goal for next year is to be a better show person in order to showcase my awesome horse!


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Louisa Murch White

Creative Director

Western Twist Media