At the NCHA Super Stakes on Friday, 15 riders and their cutting horses faced the third bunch of cattle.
The cows were tough. Three out of the first four riders received a no-score because their horses could not deal with the cantankerous cattle.
“They’ve been kind of numb and dumb,” veteran rider RL Chartier II said of the cattle.
I was trying to be aggressive enough to get a decent score because this 5- and 6-year-old class is a lot tougher than the 4-year-old.
Cutting horse trainer and rider RL Chartier II
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For Chartier and the mare, Sueper Kitty, it was a moral victory to turn in a solid score of 216.5 in that third bunch. The score will advance the duo to the Classic Open Division’s second round that’s scheduled for Sunday at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum in Fort Worth.
“I was trying to be aggressive enough to get a decent score because this 5- and 6-year-old class is a lot tougher than the 4-year-old,” Chartier said. “But these cows haven’t been very good. Although my last cut was kind of rough, my mare was pretty good. We were just trying to advance.”
Chartier and Sueper Kitty competed Friday afternoon during the opening performance of the 2016 Lucas Oil Super Stakes. The show runs through April 16. It concludes with the 4-year-old open division finals, which is the second jewel of the National Cutting Horse Association’s Triple Crown Series.
Chartier and Sueper Kitty competed in the first round of the Classic Open Division, which features 5- and 6-year-old horses who are second- and third-year competitors. The round concludes Saturday night.
Chartier, 32, has ridden cutting horses for most of his life. He said he probably mounted his first one when he was about 5.
But he was well tutored by his father, cutting horse trainer and judge Randy Chartier. He also learned from his mother, non-pro rider Kelle Chartier.
I like training horses and watching them develop and trying to make them the best they can be.
Chartier grew up in Michigan, where his father trained cutting horses. But in 2007, he moved to North Texas, a stronghold for cutting horse activity.
Today, he is a Weatherford-based open division rider, meaning he trains cutting horses for the public. He is flanked by his wife, Mica, herself a prize-winning rider.
“I like training horses and watching them develop and trying to make them the best they can be,” RL Chartier said. “Sometimes it’s a struggle, but once you get a good horse and get it trained, it feels really good.”
Sueper Kitty finished third in the open division at the 2014 World Championship Futurity.
Sueper Kitty is one of those remarkable horses. The mare commanded respect by finishing third in the open division at the 2014 NCHA World Championship Futurity, which is the sport’s most prestigious show.
Today, Sueper Kitty is a 5-year-old with $123,310 in NCHA earnings. The mare is in her second season on the NCHA circuit.
“She has a real good style of showing,” Chartier said of Sueper Kitty. “She stays low to the ground. She may not be as electric as some of those other horses, but she wants to be good.”