Ranch Horses

NRSHA Crowns Champions: Meet Catelyn Walker

Catelyn Walker won eight of her 12 classes.

Juggling two horses isn’t easy, but Catelyn Walker handled it masterfully and also nabbed two championships.

When she returned to Prairie Grove, Arkansas, Catelyn Walker brought home two National Ranch and Stock Horse Alliance titles. With Playin Motown, the 15-year-old rider won the limited youth national championship, and aboard Do It Classy, she won the reserve title in the same division. Juggling two horses in multiple events would challenge any rider, but Catelyn says she focused on each ride individually. 

“I’ve gotten used to having two horses at one show and having to switch back and forth,” she says. “At the show, I was really focusing on which horse I was on at the time and making sure everything went smoothly.”

With two years of shows under their belts, Catelyn and Playin Motown have made quite the team. She defended the title she won in 2018, though she won that on Do It Classy. She also showed both geldings in the Versatility Ranch Horse World Championships, winning the world championship on Do It Classy while riding Playin Motown to the reserve title—an exact flip from the NRSHA wins. She won eight of the 12 classes in which she entered in the events. It was quite the event for the limited youth rider.

Here, Catelyn talks to Ranch Horse News about her NRSHA champion horse, Playin Motown. If you missed the other NRSHA champion interviews, read here.

RHN: First, tell me about your horse.
Catelyn Walker: Playin Motown is a 6-year-old Mr Playinstylish gelding. He has quite the personality and is quirky on the ground but gets his job done. We bought him when he was a 4-year-old, late in the year, and I showed him all his 5-year-old year. It’s been fun. He has taught me a lot. He’s taught me, overall, how to figure things out so that I help him get shown. He will challenge me every now and then, but he’s taught me patience. 

RHN: Does your horse have a “day job” during the week?
CW: I’ll work three times a week in the arena, and then I’ll go on the ranch to help my grandpa, Larry Walker. I’ll work on ranch riding and move cows on Willow Springs Ranch. 

RHN: What NRSHA affiliate association did you show in to qualify? Was qualifying a goal all last year?
CW: I rode with the Stock Horse of Texas. Two events I really wanted to go to and show were the NRSHA and the American Quarter Horse Association Versatility Ranch Horse World Championships, so we got qualified as soon as we could. 

Catelyn Walker riding Playin Motown
Trail presented Catelyn and Playin Motown with a challenge at the NRSHA national show, but they met it head on. (Photo courtesy of Catelyn Walker, by Shane Rux Photography)

RHN: What class challenged you the most at the national show?
CW: I would say our trail was a challenge. He is always good in the trail but you have to be with him to make sure he’s mentally in the trail. It can be hard for both of us to get through. It was difficult because there were tricky angles, but he came out with a clean run. I couldn’t be happier because that was my goal. 

RHN: How do you prepare for the all-around versatility shows?
CW: My cow work is typically pretty solid with both horses, and the reining is, too. I do some turns before, and they know it is time for the reining. The trail and the ranch riding, we’ve had to put a lot of work into those events. 

RHN: What was your first thought when you were announced champion? 
CW: I didn’t believe it. It didn’t seem real for a minute! I was so proud of my horses. 

RHN: What are your future goals in ranch horse events?
CW: Right now, my goal is to do good at the AQHA Youth World [Championship Show] and at the Stock Horse of Texas world show. We also do National Reined Cow Horse Association. 

For more on the NRSHA champions, visit ranchhorse.net. AQHA has complete coverage from the Zoetis-sponsored World Show, and Level 1 Cattle Championships, at aqha.com

Looking for other NRSHA champion interviews? We have them here!

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