Jake Telford joins an elite, and small, club as he becomes the fourth National Reined Cow Horse Association trainer to become a $2 Million Dollar Rider. Telford, of Caldwell, Idaho, is no stranger to success in the show pen, but achieving this milestone only nine years after becoming an NRCHA Million Dollar Rider left the horseman speechless.
Over the course of his NRCHA career, Telford has earned multiple titles, including 2020 World’s Greatest Horseman Co-Reserve Champion aboard Sparktilion, owned by Michelle Cannon, and 2015 Snaffle Bit Futurity® Open Champion aboard Starlight Kisses, owned by Holy Cow Performance Horses. He achieved Million Dollar Rider status in 2012.
Telford’s earnings sum going into the 2021 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity, presented by Metallic Cat, was $2,009,625.86. Joining only three others as a $2 Million Dollar Rider— Todd Crawford, achieving in 2011; Todd Bergen, achieving in 2015; Corey Cushing, achieving in 2018—Telford is part of small group of riders, but an impactful one. When the four sat down recently to discuss what it takes to achieve this milestone, Telford pointed at Bergen, Crawford and Cushing as riders who have helped him along the way.
“When your idols become your peers, and to be sitting among them, it is pretty cool to me,” Telford said. “It is so competitive anymore, there is a lot of luck involved—the right draw, the right cow and so many other factors. I don’t feel like I show better than anyone else but have had some good luck. That, and I’ve stuck to it for long enough.”
Traditionally, Telford has pushed the praised onto the owners of the horses he shows, thanking them for giving him a shot. The horses, he said, are a big part of him achieving Million Dollar and, now, $2 Million Dollar status in the NRCHA. Telford’s earnings are still climbing as he rode RTR All Rise, owned by Loren Macey and James Baker, to the third-high rein work score in the Open Futurity prelims.
“It’s always meaningful to celebrate the important milestones of our riders and horses,” said Anna Morrison, NRCHA executive director. “To be able to celebrate Jake’s $2 million milestone at the Snaffle Bit Futurity, where he is surrounded by so many of his fellow horsemen, is particularly exciting.”
The 2021 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity, presented by Metallic Cat, runs now through October 23. Be sure to follow along with the reined cow horse action by visiting the show in person or watching the free, live web broadcast at NRCHA.com. The NRCHA will honor Telford, as well as other milestone achievements, during the Open Finals on Saturday, October 23. Tickets are available at NRCHA.com
About the NRCHA
Based in Pilot Point, Texas, the National Reined Cow Horse Association was formed in 1949 in California, with the goal of preserving and educating the public about the rich history of this traditional horsemanship. The NRCHA is responsible for promoting the sport and ensuring high standards of competition and continuing to work to keep the Vaquero tradition alive in today’s equine industry. The NRCHA also supports numerous affiliate clubs across the United States, Europe and abroad. These groups serve as the association’s backbone, holding many NRCHA-sanctioned competitions and events each year. For more information on these events and reined cow horse, visit www.nrcha.com.