by Larri Jo StarkeyThe American Quarter Horse Journal
When two athletic champion cutting horses faced off November 16 at the 2011 AQHA World Championship Show, it was a clear win for the audience.
In the first round of senior cutting, Sophisticated Catt, working first in the herd, slapped up a score of 225 – a tough mark to challenge. Working seven draws later, Dont Look Twice matched that score with breeder and longtime trainer Phil Rapp of Weatherford, Texas, aboard.
When the dust cleared from the senior cutting finals, the two horses were tied for first, and a cut-off was in order.
Both horses had the credentials to be world champion. Sophisticated Catt has won the AQHA senior cutting world championship for the past three years for owners Keith Feister and Dale Koller of Gainesville, Texas, and was back to defend his title.
Dont Look Twice is the 2011 National Cutting Horse Association Horse of the Year, with more than half a million dollars in earnings. She was the AQHA junior world champion in 2009. The 2005 sorrel mare by High Brow Cat and out of Tapt Twice by Dual Pep has had an exciting summer, racking up high scores and big wins at Mercuria World Series of Cutting events across North America, with owners Louis and Corliss Baldwin of Waco Bend Ranch in Graham, Texas, following the action closely. She has only had to work twice once before.
“In Idaho, we won the Classic Challenge with a 228, and that kind of sealed up the Horse of the Year, and then I had to come back and show her for the Mercuria finals,” Phil says. “Louis asked (my wife) Mary Ann and me, 'Well, how’s she going to do going twice in a row?' I said, 'She’ll think she’s in trouble. She’ll be fantastic.' That run we marked a 234 and set the all-time NCHA record.”
Both horses entered the herd. Sophisticated Catt, with Boyd Rice of Spearman, Texas, aboard, worked first in the cut-off, scoring a 224. Phil and Dont Look Twice pulled a 229 to roars from the crowd.
“Tonight, Boyd did a wonderful job both times,” Phil says. “The first time we showed her, we cut the cattle we had talked about, and I thought the mare was spot-on. I’d kinda hoped I’d won the first time, but the judges saw it. They had their opinion, and that’s fine.
“Then the second time, boy, that mare thought she was in trouble, and she said, ‘Well, if you’re working me twice, I don’t know what I have to do.' And then she was just spot-on. She’s just some kinda horse.”
NCHA events don’t have cut-offs, Louis says.
“This is the first cut-off I’ve seen,” he says. “As a matter of fact, we’ve tied with Boyd before and were both co-champions. That’s been exciting to see. I look for good things from her. She’s done very well in the past, so I was hoping that she’d do well, but you’re cutting cows that have been around for a long time and everyone has looked at, so I was hoping both Boyd and Phil could get some good cows and get the horses shown. I think it was a big thrill for the fans to see those two horses go again.”
Phil adds, “They got their money’s worth tonight.”
Phil Rapp and Dont Look Twice mark a 229 in the cut-off November 16. (Journal photo)