A few years ago Diana Cunningham retired from over 26 years in the education field. Her husband, Jerry, bought her a nice pair of golf clubs and set her up for golf lessons.
Diana said, “I thought it was something we could do together, so I went and took my first lesson. The golf pro says, ‘Go home and practice three to five hours and come back tomorrow.’ I put the clubs in the back of the vehicle and said, ‘I know I can ride a horse,’ and never looked back.”
So much for golf.
Diana was totally accustomed to life from the back of a horse. Raised in the Kings Prairie area of Eros, Ark., her family had a ranch that ran around 80 to 100 cattle.
“There were three girls and we thought we were boys until my brother came along – and that kinda ruined everything,” Diana smiled.
The land is still in the family. Diana’s mother lives on the home place and her brother lives and works on their granddad’s place.
Diana said, “We used horses to work cattle. Then we got into showing. We showed halter horses and pleasure horses. Then there was a lull while we raised children and tried to make a living. After I retired I thought I would go back to riding pleasure horses, but it was like watching paint dry.”
So much for pleasure riding.
These days, Diana spends all her “extra” time working with her cutting horses. Since the fall of 2005 she has been working with these horses because of “their athletic ability, the way they can read a cow. There’s just something real special about this type of horse and what they can do, what they can be trained to do.”
Her pride and joy is Catto Boy, a Quarter Horse stallion, trained by Stan Bell, out of West Plains, Mo. Diana drives there at least once a week to practice. Diana and Jerry also have an arena on their property just outside of Mountain Home, Ark. There she keeps a favorite mare “who has a heart that just will not quit,” a five-year-old mare that they show and a three-year-old that is “coming on.”
Catto Boy has good family lineage. Diana said, “The horses that we’re showing now have been purchased, but there is a lineage that you look for. We’ve got a colt right now that’s out of this horse (Catto Boy). His colts are just now coming on. There are three this year, two-year-olds and three-year-olds. We have a couple that are younger than that.”
The Cunninghams send the stallion to Columbia University to be collected, but don’t pasture breed or take outside horses to him. They also sell his semen.
Diana adds that it has been great this year to cross her favorite little mare that she’s won quite a bit on with Catto Boy.
Diana and Jerry both belong to the National Cutting Horse Association. They travel to NCHA-sponsored events across the United States.
Diana said that in order to be in this physically demanding activity, “You’ve got to have a high love for a horse to stay in the sport.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here