story by Lindsay Humphrey “When I was a little kid, I wanted to be a cowboy and now that I’m old enough that’s exactly what […]
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Meet the Member Landon Little
story by Lindsay King
When life threw Landon Little a curve ball, he threw one right back. Traditionally, this Yukon, Oklahoma, family ropes, both calves and steers. Landon was a talented tie-down roper when he broke his leg right before the spring OJKHSRA started its spring run when he was in the eighth grade. He missed the entire spring season, but looked at it as more of an opportunity to try something new. “I decided I wanted to give cutting a try my freshman year. I love how athletic and smart the horses have to be for it. They basically do it themselves where the other events the riders direct them quite a bit. As a cutter, these horses have to make their own decisions and that’s a big reason why I like it so much,” said the 16-year-old.
He’s also not a fan of competing against his brother Layton, now 20, who would have been in the OHSRA when Landon first got there. Now a high school junior, Landon took advantage of living close to so many cutting trainers. “I rode with some trainers to get the feel for it and then we found an older cutter who knew a lot more about the sport than I did.” This gelding took Landon to nationals his freshman year. Their second year wasn’t quite the success story they hoped for and Landon decided it was time for a new mount heading into the fall 2018 season. “My gelding had more of the 70s cutting style, this new mare has some of the bigger stops and style I guess you could say.”
Landon gives all the credits for his success in the cutting pen to Bruce Colclasure. “I caught him on the retirement end of his training career. He has taken me in and we have hauled and won together. He’s done everything under the sun.” Venturing into a new sport in the equine industry is not for the faint of heart. Landon knows he is lucky to have parents (Bobby and Nikki) willing to support him in anything he decided to try. “They always told me they would support me no matter what. So, in that spirit they have tried to learn as much as possible about cutting.” Layton is supportive of Landon’s new venture, but like any good calf roper wants the big stopper to be a tie-down horse.
The confidence to never give up is a lesson Landon put his own twist on when he decided to pursue cutting. “I was sitting fifth in the OKJHSRA when I broke my leg. By the time I could get back on a horse I was in high school. I didn’t have the confidence in myself to rope calves against my brother and everyone else in high school.” This sent him down the unbeaten path, a decision he wouldn’t change for anything today. It’s also the reason why he decided to be homeschooled for the last two years of high school. “I wanted to use my hours more wisely instead of sitting behind a desk. I knew I would be gone a lot this year, so I figured homeschooling was the right path for me.”
Though Landon’s family would like him to get back to roping, it isn’t likely that will ever happen. “I just put so much time into cutting that I don’t have time to rope.” Building a relationship with your mount is a large portion of the hours spent in the barn for Landon. It is something he said is key to finding success in the event. Going to college might put a pause on his cutting career, but his main goal is to keep propelling the sport forward as a competitor. “I really like that the OHSRA brings youth competitors into the cutting industry.” His sights are set for a national championship, but he also has big goals for winning a USCHA world cutting title in 2019.