Congratulations to John Swales who earned the title of National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) World’s Greatest Horseman. This is the second time the Millarville, Alta., horse trainer has won this hotly contested competition.
Held at the Will Rogers Equestrian Center in Fort Worth, Texas, Swales rode Metallic Cat Rose (Metallic Cat x Teletrona x Little Trona) to an incredible 878.5 points (217.5 herd / 218.5 rein / 215 steer / 227.5 cow). The pair rode home with $42,000 and a profusion of prizes for High River-area horse owners Jerry and Nicole Myer. With the win, the mare doubled her lifetime earnings, going from $41,228 to $83,228 in one evening.
Traditionally, there are three judges, and each can award between 60 and 80 points. Over three days, horse and rider gather a score in each of the events: herd work (cutting), rein work, steer-stopping (rope and stop a steer), and cow work (work a steer along the fence, then circle them both ways in the centre of the arena). The points from each event are totalled for the final score to determine the top 10. Then for the Championship run on the last day, the finalists start with a clean slate and compete in all four events — and once again, Swales bested the field.
In 2017, the Alberta trainer first won the World’s Greatest Horseman title when he rode Heza Diamond Spark, owned by Jesse and Elyse Thomson of 7P Ranch, to the championship.