Arabian in Western Sports
Growing up in Wyoming, Kay Wright’s first horse was a Morgan that she
rode in 4-H all the way through high school. Since then, it’s been all Arabians. For many years, she rode her Arabians in endurance races and bred
Arabians for endurance, all while living and working on a cattle ranch with
her husband and children in Newcastle, Wyo.
“We rode the Arabians here on the ranch,” Wright says. But it wasn’t until
recently when Wright, now in her 60s, began competing in reined cow horse
and working cow horse.
It all started when she saw a stallion at the Scottsdale Arabian Horse
Show that impressed her, and she bred her black Arabian mare to him.
When the resulting colt, Midnight Marquis, came of age, she gelded him and
sent him to trainer Jim Hitt in Colorado.
“We did reining to start with,” Wright says. “Then Jim found that Midnight Marquis was really good in trail. Just this last year or so, Jim also
discovered that my gelding loves the cows. When you head him for cows, he
perks right up and goes into the herd.
“There are a lot of people who ride half-Arabians in working cow horse,
but we’re trying to
encourage more people to
ride purebreds,” she says.
“I went to the Region 8
Fall show in 2015 and
qualified for the Arabian
and Half-Arabian National
Show in all the working
cow horse classes. We
brought five championships
home from the Region 8
Wright to stick with
Arabians while living in
Quarter Horse country and
competing in cow events?
“They’re very smart,” she says. “They’re very athletic. I have to say they’re the
most beautiful horse in the world to me. They really bond with you—that’s
important to me. They’re a very people-oriented breed.
“My son-in-law has taken over the ranch now, and he’s a Quarter Horse
man,” says Wright. “Neighbors will tease me about how my grandkids aren’t
But Wright has plans to possibly add an Arabian to their string. “I want to
get my granddaughter on this gelding I’m riding because she’s a heck of a
rider, and she’d love him because she loves to do reining and cow work.”
For those who are passionate about their breed and discipline, going
against the grain can be fun and attention-grabbing, and it can even encour-
age others to explore the possibilities of thinking outside their breed.
MICAELA MYERS is the author of The Horse Illustrated Guide to Trail Riding and KNACK Leg
and Hoof Care for Horses.
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horse trainer, clinician and
There are a lot of
people who ride half-Arabians in working
cow horse, but we’re
trying to encourage
more people to ride