Reining’s first family

Cade McCutcheon was the teenage star of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ team competition as USA took gold…

Text and photo by FEI

Not even open heart surgery could stop two-time team champion Tim McQuay from being at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG) to see grandson Cade McCutcheon claim a sixth Reining gold medal for the family.

On the opening day of competition, 18-year-old McCutcheon, the third generation in a family of reining world champions, was part of the all-conquering USA team, which claimed a fifth successive gold medal.

McCutcheon junior is also currently sitting pretty as the top-placed qualifier to date, ahead of Saturday’s individual final. His 66-year-old grandfather could not be prouder.

In the 16 years since the sport made its debut at the WEG, members of the McQuay family have now taken home an incredible six of the nine gold medals on offer. McQuay senior is the fire behind this golden furnace.

“I went straight to reiners in 1983,” said the man who won team gold in 2006 and 2010. “From then, that’s what we’ve trained. When you start with a young one you want to have one that naturally wants to stop. It is kind of breed into them now to stop. Then we train them from there to do the spins and the throwbacks and the changing leads.”

His daughter Mandy McCutcheon, Cade’s mum, won team gold and individual silver on one of his mounts last time out in Normandy in 2014 while her husband Tom McCutcheon did the double four years earlier.

“We are very fortunate our whole family loves horses and riding and training. Fortunate and broke, because all we want to spend money on is buying a new horse,” Mandy McCutcheon explained. “We all have a good feel and a lot of compassion for the horses which is I think why we are successful.”

For the new kid on the block, most of his life has been spent on horseback.

“I don’t remember a time not being on horses,” the teenager laughed. “I’ve been on a horse as much as I can since I can remember. It feels totally natural.”

His mother reveals that Cade “rides every day from sun up to sun down five or six days per week” and always on a horse trained by her father. His Tryon 2018 mount, Custom Made Gun has been honed for this event for the past five years, with Cade in mind.

“We kind of know what horse fits each person best and we kind of stick with the game plan for the career of the horse,” Mandy McCutcheon said, insisting that there is no competition between members of the dynasty to grab the best horse. Despite being a defending champion, the Texas resident insists she “couldn’t be happier” just watching her son.

Cade’s father Tom was meant to be competing alongside his son in Tryon but had to withdraw his horse at the last minute. Instead he had the pleasure of commentating on his son’s first gold medal winning performance for


Therese Stub Alhaug
Therese Stub Alhaug


Therese is the editor of Equilife, and is truly dedicated to equestrian sports and horses. She started riding as a little girl, and enjoys her free time with her two horses back home. Portrait interview is her favorite topic, as it has the gift to inspire others through peoples stories, knowledge, training and general life-philosophy, and certainly, their lives with horses.

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