To become a cowboy is often a faraway aspiration among many young boys. This dream became reality when Adam, ’09, and David, ’12, Casuga achieve this through the sport of showing horses.
Adam began to show his horse at the age of seven. Five years later, David, despite initial skepticism, decided to show horses along with his older brother.
“When my brother first started out I thought the riding was dumb,” David said. “But then when I tried it out I really liked it, I realized it wasn’t some dumb horse thing ? it was actually really interesting, and much, much harder than Adam made it look.”
However, the experience almost caused David to quit riding horses immediately. After lunging his horse, Scooter, he rolled up the rope as his horse walked toward him. Scooter got caught in the rope and panicked, pulling David with him.
“For a long time after that I wouldn’t lunge my horse,” David said. “My trainer, Kim Jackson, was very patient with me, and Adam helped out by lunging my horse for me, until I was comfortable doing it again. But it taught me a valuable lesson ? [horses] are big, they can be scary, and you always have to pay attention for potentially dangerous situations.”
Jackson continued to help both brothers through all of their horse showing. She constantly pushed them to their limits, wanting only the best for the brothers.
“[David] had a strong confidence,” Jackson said. “He can do this because he is one with the animal. He listens well to detail and towards the end we had fun watching him.”
Because horse shows are seldom near the boys’ home, they often miss several days of school at a time to travel to places as far as Fort Worth, Texas. David’s classmates also deal with his horse showing schedule.
Though they frequently missed school during the season, the Casuga brothers considered absences a fair trade for showing horses. Adam holds no regrets and values all that he learned while showing horses.
“It’s a rush to be in complete charge of such a powerful animal. But it can turn scary in a hurry if they get out of control,” Adam said. “That’s where all the practice and training comes in. You have to anticipate what might go wrong, and head it off at the pass. It takes a discipline, patience and practice, practice, practice.”
David, in his brief career, has been a finalist (top 15) at the America Paint Horse Association World Show, Top Ten in the nation, is this year’s Reserve All-Around Champion for the State of California. He recently received a saddle for being All-Around Champion for the Temecula Valley Paint Horse Club. Similar to his brother, he has won many individual class championship buckles as well.
“I’ve made a ton of great friends and have learned a lot about myself and what I’m capable of,” David said. “Competition has taught me to conquer my nerves, stay calm under pressure, and never give up.”
Though the brothers no longer show horses, their mother, Laura Casuga, believes the sport was a rewarding experience for both boys.
“I don’t think they’ll be bored [now that they don’t show],” Laura said. “[Horse Showing] is very time consuming. Before I wouldn’t let then do anything else but now they can have time to try new things.”
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