The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

Reigning in future goals

Leather fills summer with out-of-state internships
Courtesy Photo
While in Oklahoma City at the NRHA Derby, senior Cooper Leather takes a picture to be featured on NRHA’s social media. Leather interned under NRHA professional Jordan Larson while in Oklahoma City for three weeks.

Growing up, most kids find a hobby that they are passionate about, but these aren’t always the hobbies they stick with. For senior Cooper Leather, however, a passion for showing and riding horses has been a part of his life since he was eight years old and  may turn into a future career.

“Horses have always been a part of my life, and I have always loved to put my time towards it,” said Leather.

Leather’s favorite event is reining, which is a discipline that requires a showman to guide the horses through a pattern of circles, spins or stops.

“You’re showing how you can willingly guide this horse and demonstrate the best performance of this horse in a pattern event while being judged by other people,” Leather said.

Leather enjoys this hobby so much that his goal is “to pursue a future career in the reining industry someday.”

With hopes to pursue a reining career, Leather wanted to use his last summer of high school to gain experiences from other professionals and get a head start. The planning started months before summer hit, though.

“I knew that when December (2022) came, I needed to get a summer plan figured out so that I could have an official plan set by the time spring came,” Leather said.

Leather communicated with professionals he had already had connections with and lined up experiences in Arizona, California, Iowa and Oklahoma.

On May 18, the last day of his junior year of high school, Leather left on a flight to Scottsdale, Ariz., to begin his first internship with National Reining Horse Association professionals Steve Ross and Dan Huss. 

“I was there (Scottsdale) with Steve Ross for six days, who was lovely company,” Leather said. “They took me in like their kid and had me stay at their house while in Scottsdale.”

Senior Cooper Leather and reining horse profession Steve Ross pose for a picture at the Run for a Million in Las Vegas. In August, Leather competed at this show against 89 other competitors. (Courtesy Photo)

While interning in Scottsdale, Leather’s task was to help out around the horse show that Huss was competing in. 

“Most days I would start with arriving to the ranch around 5:30 in the morning and complete tasks like dragging the arena and preparing everything for the shows,” Leather said.

After spending six days in Scottsdale, Leather continued to travel every few weeks for the rest of the summer. Throughout each of these internships, Leather learned many new skills.

“I learned how to handle a business correctly, train and show horses better and experience what the life of a top-level horse trainer is like,” Leather said.

After his internships were over, Leather took an opportunity to put some of the knowledge to work in the “Run for a Million” competition in Las Vegas in August.

“I was going up against around 80 other competitors, so it’s a very big show,” Leather said. “I didn’t do as well as I wanted, but it was a great experience, and my horse did good for what he is.”

Overall, Leather appreciated the opportunity that he was given during this past summer, which will benefit his future career.

“I made a lot of connections and learned a ton of different things from a bunch of people,” Leather said. “If this is a career that I want to do, then I have to be learning and getting connections from the best people.”

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Maycee Hays
Maycee Hays, Senior writer
Maycee Hays is a senior in her fourth year of journalism.  She enjoys taking pictures at school events and writing feature stories.  Outside journalism, Maycee is involved in softball, cheer, powerlifting, club softball, speech, and NHS.
Donate to Chieftain Times

Your donation will support the student journalists of Yutan High School. Your contribution will help cover our annual website hosting costs, as well as allow us to purchase equipment and produce more in-print editions.

More to Discover
Donate to Chieftain Times

Comments (0)

All Chieftain Times Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *