With racehorse welfare making national headlines, the horse industry is being scrutinized for putting money before the well-being of young animals. Racetrack injuries and deaths may have sparked mainstream interest in the issue, but high-stakes stock horse futurities beg the same question: ARE YOUNG HORSES PUSHED TOO HARD, TOO SOON?
Tom Neel trains performance horses at his facility in Millsap, Texas. He has earned more than $221,000 in reined cow horse, reining and cutting competition. He has earned world and reserve world championships in the American Quarter Horse Association and National Reined Cow Horse Association. He was the AQHA reserve world champion in junior working cow horse in 2011 with Zackly Right Time. In 2009, he rode Zezes Pepto Cat to the open hackamore title at the NRCHA World Championship Show. Zezes Pepto Cat also has American Paint Horse Association world titles in junior and senior working cow horse. Neel also is a judge for the National Cutting Horse Association and NRCHA.
Texas horseman Craig Cameron spends most of his time on the road conducting clinics and hosting Extreme Cowboy Racing events. He was featured in the June 2010 issue of Western Horseman, in the article, "Dare to Explore." His philosophy is to use natural obstacles and the great outdoors to build confidence in his horses.
California trainer Russell Dilday focuses on training cow horses for the nation's top events, including the World's Greatest Horseman competition, an event he has won three times. The horseman has won more than $587,000 in reined cow horse events, much of that on his stallion Topsails Rien Maker. The duo won the World's Greatest Horseman titles as well as a National Reined Cow Horse Association championship in the Open Hackamore class. Dilday trains colts and aged event horses at his Porterville facility, which he shares with his wife Tanna and their sons Colt and Ace. He also conducts clinics and competes throughout the United States.