2017 has been a year of success for Jake Gorrell. He hit the million dollar mark with showing and won the NRCHA 2017 Snaffle Bit Open Futurity.
For Gorrell, it has not always been clear that training horses for futurity is what he wanted to do. He took a break during college while he earned his business degree and then pursued a job in that field for a while.
“There have been times we thought about pursuing other things. We thought about ranching, but we have been more successful at training horses, so we always come back to it,” Gorrell says.
His journey to this point has spanned many years and different ventures.
“For the last few years, my wife and I have been heavily pursuing ranching. She has a ranch in Nevada that just has not really taken off for us, but because we were trying to do that, I had started to move some of my clients to other trainers. I did not want to start their two year olds and then not be here to show them.”
“So I did not have the numbers I normally did. Then this year I decided we probably are not going to ranch, so I put my head back into training. I put my heart and soul back into it, and put my head down and got back to showing.”
Gorrell’s break through happened once he made this decision.
“I hit the million dollar mark. We have been pretty close the last few years but have just not been showing enough to make it. It’s just kind of felt like there has been a ceiling over my head that I’ve had a hard time breaking through it, and then we finally broke through it, and look what happened. Once we put our heart and soul back into it, it’s just gone crazy.”
The horse he won the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Open Futurity on is Plain Catty. Plain Catty is by Betty’s A Cat and out of Miss Plain Plain. Gorrell credits this horse as being one of the smartest horses he has ever ridden.
“The most well broke horse I’ve ever gotten from anybody. He’s just been easy, you can just show him one thing and he just does it,” Gorrell says. “Those are the kind that excel. You don’t have to over train him, you just have to show it to him in a way that he understands and he just goes. He’s been easy in training and he’s a dream to show. Every time I showed him he just got better. He’s awesome.”
Gorrell is constantly training, even while showing.
“It’s a complex deal, in comparison to a lot of other disciplines. You just work on them every day until hopefully one day it feels good. Even when I was showing in Fort Worth, I was working on things. Every time I showed him I would come out and there were some things I would want to work on, so I would go work with him until we got it. That’s when the smart horse comes into play, because I would come out of the show pen and realize a few things I would want to fine tune and we could quietly work on them without wearing my horse out and every time we walked back in, they were better.”
His advice for those who are trying to train horses for a living depends on where they are starting from.
“A lot of it comes from the background. If they come from a horse background, they already know the deal. I would tell them they need to go to college and see the outside world and get a degree, I would recommend a business degree, and if they would like to come back to the horse deal, they can,” he explains. “I think they need to see the world and that will help.”
“If they are not from the horse world, go apprentice for a really good trainer for a while, till they get the hang of it,” Gorrell continued. “Learn all that you can before you try to step out on your own. You for sure need to go work for a successful trainer in the horse field that you want to be in.”
“It’s been a really good year. I made the finals in all the major events, and won in Fort Worth,” Gorrell reflected.