This summer, when Bobby Mote found himself in his second career as a horse trainer at Reliance Ranches, 7-year-old PKC Corona Cuz, or "Cuz", was just about ready to start his second career as a rope horse.
The 15.2-hand brown horse, by PYC Paint Your Wagon out of a Special Effort mare, raced for Reliance Ranches and was one of their more promising 2-year-olds before he shin bucked, missing some of the bigger races. But the McKinney family liked his looks and disposition, so they kept him around. When Mote got on him this May, he was pretty broke and ready to start roping, Mote said.
"I've been roping on him all summer and just started jackpotting on him this fall," Mote said. "I rode him and won 12th in the #14 with Justin Watts, and I'll ride him in the #15 and the #13, too."
Mote rode the horse at his kids' junior rodeos to get him used to the atmosphere, and each time he went to town he just got better and better, Mote said.
"He's fast, he has a really good mind," Mote said. "The one thing I've noticed of these horses that come from the race program: They already know how to break and run, so it's not something you have to teach them. The run doesn't scare them. I'm never going to ask them for the kind of run they're accustomed to running. So this is easy for them."
The horse is cowy, too, and will pin his ears and bite the steers coming up the return alley. Mote's wife Kate has Cuz ready to go exhibition on the barrels, but for now, Mote is keeping the horse on the head side.
"He's kind of our calling card, because he's representative of what we'll be bringing along. The 2-year-old we have in the Lance Graves Sale at the Lazy E this February is going to grow up and look and act like him. They're all great prospects, and they're all nice. He's what will get people's attention to make them want to take the trip to Llano (Texas) to try one."
The Reliance Ranch horses are so trainable, Mote said, that they retain what you teach them from day to day and only need shown something once or twice. The program prides itself on the care they take of their good-minded, hard running athletes.
"We do everything to try to make sure they're feeling the best that they can–from the time they're weanlings in their race program. Every roper or barrel racer who loves their horse has these Back On Tracks and Soft Rides on them when they haul their horse. We want them to feel good."