Claudia Switzer and Wood U Play win the cutting world championship at the 2012 Adequan Select World Championship Show.
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by Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse Journal
The first world championship title awarded at the 2012 Adequan Select World Championship Show in Amarillo went to a shocked Claudia Switzer of Minco, Oklahoma, in the cutting, riding her 2005 mare Wood U Play.
“I didn’t (think I’d won it) because my first cow was so slow,” she said in her Journal Winning Run interview. “But we stayed focused and (trainer) Dell Bell was turning back for me, and he just said stay aggressive and I did. We made it to 216 and I was happy.”
The scores were held until the placings were called for the 15 finalists.
“When they announced that I won it, needless to say I fell over!” Claudia added. “I haven’t even called my husband (Kenny Switzer) yet because I know I’ll go into tears again.”
This was Claudia’s third trip to the Adequan Select World in cutting – she and Wood U Play finished eighth in 2011. The mare has $17,183 in National Cutting Horse Association earnings.
“I’ve worked really hard to come here and show,” she said. “(This is a) mare that my husband bought for me, and he keeps her tuned and trained her. She’s been a really, really good mare. I just needed to learn to ride her.
“We had a good run in the preliminary go: We marked a 219 and she was just incredible.
“Today … I had a really bad first cow that didn’t want to do anything. And she is definitely a run and stop (kind of horse). It just stood right in front of her face. But she stayed with it, and then our other two cows were really good and carried her across the pen and she just has an incredible stop.
“She’s very, very pretty to watch and I think she gets extra points because she’s so pretty,” Claudia said, smiling. “And all I need to do is sit on her and stay in the saddle.”
She added: “It’s really a big accomplishment. This is a great show, people are so good and there are so many nice people here that you meet.”
Claudia has had horses all her life – her grandfather had racing Quarter Horses and she and her cousins rode what came from the track to lay off or that didn’t run. She met Kenny in Hawaii and bought a cutting horse from him.
“We moved to California, and we were on my family’s ranch for about 12 years,” Claudia continued. “Then we moved to Oklahoma about 10 years ago, and he’s still training horses. He loves the young horses, but he always finds time to tune my horses for me so we can go to shows. We do a lot of weekend shows."
Kenny was unable to come to the show with Claudia, but their good friends Lynn and Bonita Laske hauled her in. An AQHA 20-year breeder, Lynn has been a Select cutting finalist top-10 finisher several times, winning the reserve title in 2007.
“They were cheering me on, and I really appreciated their help,” Claudia said. “It was nice to have family there, they are family.”
As far as celebrating, Claudia hasn’t thought past calling Kenny with the news.
“I’m going to go have a cup of coffee and a donut! I haven’t had anything and I’m starving!” she said with a laugh. “I’m going to give my mare a really nice bath and a lot of cookies, and we’re going to load up and go home.
“She’s really a sweet mare and I’m really fortunate to have her, and for my husband to keep her tuned for me. He does a good job.”