Special Horse, Special Rider, Special Run

Friday, September 18, 2015 - 2:45pm
by Amanda Morris

There are very few words to describe a near-perfect run in the cutting horse pen. The weightlessness you feel when your horse flexes every muscle to beat the cow, the intensity of the crowd cheering, the agony of waiting on the clock to stop, and fighting the urge to grin ear-to-ear in those last seconds. It is a unique feeling that very few riders are fortunate enough to experience, but the ones that have lived it, would probably describe a run like this as “special.” Special, indeed, since Special Nu Baby is the mare that everyone is talking about for her astounding 234 in the Open Mercuria Finals during last week’s El Rancho Futurity.

Baby’s pilot and champion cutting horse trainer, Matt Gaines, spent two and a half heart-pounding minutes making history in the National Cutting Horse Association. Matt and Baby are only the second duo in the association’s history to mark a coveted 234, following in the footsteps of the great Phil Rapp aboard his incredible mare, Don’t Look Twice.

Matt and Baby’s run was one for the books. Every second was heart-stopping, hair-raising, tear-jerking excitement. You don’t have to know cutting horses to know that the pair was as close to perfect as anyone in the cutting industry could ever be.

“It was, by far, the best run of my career,” said Gaines. “…what started as an attempt to win enough to get [Baby] into the into the NCHA Hall of Fame (over $400,000 in earnings) has now developed into a monumental year. Baby is my once-in-a-lifetime horse…”

This is just one of many Open Mercuria Championships won by Matt and Baby this year. They are leading the NCHA Open World Standings right now, and we expect that will continue through the NCHA Mercuria World Finals in Fort Worth this December. We are looking forward to a few very exciting nights of cutting at that event.

The video of Special Nu Baby and Matt Gaines riding to their historical 234 (see RIDE TV Facebook Page for video) has spread like wildfire. It is likely the most shared cutting horse video of all time, and with good reason. Runs like this can attract new people to the equestrian industry. When they see a run like Baby’s, they think “I would like to try that—that looks like fun!” And here at RIDE TV, we want those people to try it, too.

RIDE TV would like to applaud Matt Gaines, Special Nu Baby, and everyone on the Matt Gaines Cutting Horses Team, for putting together a run that was so incredible, it is drawing new eyes to the National Cutting Horse Association.

RIDE TV congratulates Matt Gaines, his wife, Tara Gaines, and their special mare, Special Nu Baby, on a historical and memorable day, and an iconic run that will be talked about throughout the lifetime of the National Cutting Horse Association. We look forward to seeing you at the World Finals in December.

Special Nu Baby is owned by the Barker Ranch and ridden by Matt Gaines.