Written by Jennifer Paulson
Erin Taormino is finishing her summer on a high and heading into the National Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity with momentum any professional would envy. Unofficially, Erin has accumulated $60,000+ in NRCHA lifetime earnings over the course of a few weeks, making her a top trainer to beat this fall.
“We’ve been very lucky,” Erin said while unloading horses in a rainstorm at her Lipan, Texas, ranch. “It gives you encouragement that you’re on the right track heading into the biggest show of the year.”
In mid-August, at the Southwest Reined Cow Horse Association Pre-Futurity, Erin piloted Royal Stunner to win the open and intermediate open futurity titles, along with the Texas Quarter Horse Association Texas-Bred Incentive. She also showed Bad To The Boon to a top-15 in the open and sixth-place finish in the intermediate open.
Just a few days after returning home from that show, Erin headed for Las Vegas and the NRCHA Stallion Stakes Derby. Erin and Hazardous Materials won the intermediate open and placed fourth in the open. With Im So Stunning, Erin placed fifth in the intermediate open and in the top 20 in the open. Jittery and Erin earned sixth in the intermediate open.
Even at this phase in her career as a professional reined cow horse trainer, the 2015 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Reserve Champ relies on the same mindset she had when she started out as a professional: Focus on one moment at a time with a positive, can-do attitude.
“We’re all guilty of getting excited and looking too far ahead of where we are, but I try not to,” she said. “I take it one step at a time. Especially after the last few weeks [of winning], I focus on the process. It’s helped me immensely. One show, one day, one class, one horse at a time.”
This kind of success comes with support from her family, including husband Anthony, who also trains horses, and 2-year-old son Westley, who’s always in the stands to cheer for Mom. Erin admits running a business, training horses, and being a mother hasn’t been easy, but she uses the same attitude with Westley as she does her horses.
“It’s been hard to find a balance point,” she said. “But I think we’re on a good path. When I’m with Westley, I try to be 100% with him.”
Much like any hardworking parents, it takes a village for Erin and Anthony to raise Westley. Luckily, they’re surrounded by good help.
“Our family, people who work for us—we couldn’t do it without them,” she said. “It’s been harder this year. My parents live in Canada and have always helped us at the major events. But this year, we haven’t seen them since February due to COVID. It’s been an adjustment, but we’ve made it work with great help.”
The NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity runs October 10–24, which is just over a month away. Erin plans to focus on consistency and peaking her 3-year-olds just in time for the event, which expects to pay out $1.1 million.
“I wholeheartedly feel like I’m on the right track,” she said. “We’re going to keep building confidence and keep gaining ground.”
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