Horsemanship

Twice the Grit

Kelsey Love Thomas circling a cow

Kelsey Love Thomas returned to Arizona with a fire blazing to capture her second Art of the Cowgirl World’s Greatest Horsewoman title.

Four years since she won the title that helped launch her competitive cow-horse career to the next level, Kelsey Love Thomas and Kit Kat Jerrie captured another Kimes Ranch World’s Greatest Horsewoman title, presented by Western Horseman, at the Art of the Cowgirl, held in Queen Creek, Arizona. If anything, Thomas was more excited than before to claim the championship.

“My finals was just like I hoped it would go,” said Thomas. “She felt amazing, and I just hung on for the ride, and she laid it down.”

When the duo won in 2020, “Elvira,” a 2015 sorrel mare by Kit Kat Sugar and out of Jerries Dual Legacy (by Smart Little Jerry), was a newly minted bridle horse, with Thomas having skipped the two-rein on her to take her straight to the event. Now, though, she is a solid, competitive cow horse.

Kelsey Love Thomas at 2023 Art of the Cowgirl
Photo by Kate Bradley Byars

In 2019, Thomas rode the mare to win the National Reined Cow Horse Association’s Cowboy Invitational class, repeating the win in 2022 in the newly sanctioned Cowboy Class, as well as earning the Limited Open Bridle World Champion title in 2022. They’ll return to the NRCHA show pen in Fort Worth, Texas, in February in the World’s Greatest Horseman event with their entry paid — a perk of winning at Art of the Cowgirl.

“Last time [I won], we didn’t do all four events in the finals, so this is more congruent with what it is going to be in Fort Worth,” she says. “Our entry fees are paid for, and I’m going to remember to be mindful of enjoying the moment and enjoying this awesome horse I get to ride. I am so excited to go compete there with the best of the best!”

Thomas began the 10-rider finals with the herd work, where she topped the pen with a 148. Solid rein work and a steer stopping that was textbook kept her in the hunt. Then, the pair finished with the highest cow work score of 153, clinching the title.

Kelsey Love Thomas at 2023 Art of the Cowgirl
Photo by Kate Bradley Byars

Reserve champion was Morgan Holmes, of Stephenville, Texas, riding her home-bred 7-year-old gelding, Monster Truk. Her goal was to make the finals on the young grulla.

“I feel pretty darn good! He was awesome all day today and was everything I wanted him to be,” she said. “I’ll show him in the two-rein at the [NRCHA] World Show, and we will be back here next year!”

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