Australian equine ambassador a cut above the rest

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Savanna Gregg/Burnet Bulletin
21-year-old Australian Cutting Horse Group ambassador Lilian Macrae recently traveled across the ocean to Burnet to strengthen the relationship between the ACHG and the American Cutting Horse Group. Macrae is hosted by Burnet couple Mike and Janie Crumpler, who have worked with both cutting horse associations to bring the sport into the spotlight through youth involvement.






By Savanna Gregg

Staff Writer

Burnet Bulletin

Traveling on the fall breeze from Australia to little Burnet, Texas came another Australian Cutting Horse Group ambassador with a goal to strengthen the relationship between the ACHG and the American Cutting Horse Association to keep the sport in the spotlight.

Twenty-one-year-old Lilian Macrae traveled from Dorrigo, New South Wales in September to compete in cutting horse competitions across the state, with the help of her host Mike Crumpler and his wife, Janie.

The Burnet residents have cultivated a partnership between the ACHA and the ACHG, affiliates operating thousands of miles apart but sharing the same passions and goals involving youth in their mission to keep the cutting horse sport alive.

Ranchers and cowboys have been cutting cattle since the 1800's in order to separate them into specific herds for different purposes on ranches.

It became a sports competition in the early 20th century, mainly for bragging rights among cowboys and ranchers.

Today, riders have two-and-a-half minutes to demonstrate to judges their focus and ability to guide their horse, paired with the horse's intelligent, powerful execution in making three cuts from the herd. The rider has turnback help to control the herd during the two-and-a-half minute period, known as a “run.” All riders are scored between 60 and 80, starting at an average score of 70. The closer a rider scores to 80, the better. Both the rider and the horse use these two-and-a-half minutes to exhibit grace, power, focus, and agility to excel at the competition.

The ACHG, established in early 2018, pays tribute to the ranching days with monthly shows in New South Wales and Queensland and shares its talent with its American affiliate each year. Macrae was chosen as this year's ambassador, and hit the ground running upon arriving to Burnet.

Macrae has been working with Crumpler, a local horse trainer, on enhancing her riding skills as well as exhibiting the power and skill of her horse. She has been involved in the cutting horse sport for only two years, and already sits in the Top Ten $1,000 Novice Riders in the world.

“Going in to the ACHG, I wanted a friendly, family-based activity to get into and they were so welcoming to newcomers,” Macrae said. “I get to show horses and make new friends. It has been a good experience.”

Macrae grew up around horses and has created a relationship with them when training and when exhibiting skills in the arena.

“Nothing goes through my mind when I am competing; I am just focused,” Macrae said. “I try to be the best I can be, while taking care of the horses. I really do it for the horses and to show their skill on the cow.”

Macrae empathizes with her horses and ensures she works with them, not against, when training.

“Horses make me calm, and give me something to focus on and take care of,” Macrae said. “I try to improve myself better for them, because they can feel everything.”

Since her arrival, Macrae has been showing every weekend with Bad Cat, a horse owned by Joe and Kathy Brown, as she prepares for the World Finals, which will take place Dec. 6 and 7 in Belton. There she will compete amongst the best in the world, including some of her compatriots, including Ashley Knight, who was hosted by the Crumplers last year and will return to compete alongside Macrae with the ACHG.

Sitting in the Top Ten $1,000 Novice Riders, Macrae's World Finals outlook is bright as she perfects her skills and highlights those of her horse in the Crumplers' arena and transfers it to her shows.

“Lilian is an amazing young lady and very talented on horseback, for as green as she is,” Crumpler said. “She is very competitive in the cutting horse world, and is very coachable. We are very blessed and proud to have her here.

“She will be a Top Hand one day,” Crumpler added.

“Everything is different here in Texas, but everybody is lovely and so welcoming,” Macrae said. “I have had the amazing opportunity to ride some awesome horses thanks to Mike, Joe and Kathy, and the ACHG and ACHA.”

Crumpler, an ACHA member for 35 years and involved in the ACHG since its establishment, is determined to put an American in the shoes of these Australian Ambassadors and send them to promote the cutting horse sport alongside the ACHG in their shows in New South Wales and Queensland.

Individuals interested in participating in training and competing as an affiliate with the ACHA and ACHG, or sponsoring a rider in that endeavor, may contact Crumpler at 325-423-4734.

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