The American Performance Horseman
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Paint Horses sweep the 2024 The American Performance Horseman championships

A trio of Paint Horses validated their positions as the best of the best at the 2024 The American Performance Horseman competition. Storyteler, Down Right Amazing and SJR Talkin Diamonds each won their respective events at the competition, in which the top five Open money-earners in cutting, reining and reined cow horse faced off for huge cash prizes. The event took place March 8 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

The American Performance HorsemanThe American Performance Horseman: Cutting

Returning champion Adan Banuelos picked Storyteler to defend his 2023 TAPH title. Storyteler is a 2019 sorrel solid stallion by Smooth Talkin Style and out of Show Biz Kitty (QH); the stallion is owned by Double Dove Ranch. Together, Banuelos and Storyteler marked a huge 230 to clinch the 2024 TAPH cutting title.

“This horse is phenomenal,” Banuelos said. “He comes to work every day enjoying what he does; he thinks it’s a game, and I want to keep it that way as long as I can. I can’t tell you how proud of this horse I am. He loves what he does, and so do I. This is unbelievable.”

The American Performance Horseman: Reining

APHA member Casey Deary brought back his 2023 partner, Down Right Amazing (pictured above), to defend their TAPH championship. Down Right Amazing is a 2017 sorrel overo stallion by APHA Hall of Famer Colonels Smokingun and out of Shesouttayourleague (QH); he’s owned by DAG Ventures LLC. The pair were last to go in the reining and secured their second championship with a 226.5 score.

“Protecting that horse’s reputation was important to me,” Deary said. “He’s fantastic. He always shows up to work.”

The American Performance Horseman: Reined Cow Horse

Corey Cushing was ready to put on a show at his second The American Performance Horseman competition. This year, Cushing paired with SJR Talking Diamonds, a 2017 palomino solid stallion by Smooth Talkin Style and out of Shiners Diamond Girl (QH); San Juan Ranch owns the stallion. The team ranked second after the reined work go-round and received a new cow shortly after their fence work finals began. The golden team deftly worked the second bovine, marking a 218.5 down the fence. That effort gave them a 439 cumulative score for the win.

“I believed in that horse ever since I started taking him down the fence as a 3-year-old,” Cushing said. “We’ve been the bridesmaid quite a few times but never the bride. Tonight was his night. If I had to do it all again, I would turn around and call on him again because he gave me all he’s got.”

Each of the three discipline champions took home $100,000 for their event wins.

The American Performance Horseman: Team Champions

Blue was once again the color of winners, and Team Royal Blue emerged victorious when the dust settled. Adan Banuelos, Casey Deary and Clayton Edsall composed the team. Their individual scores created a team composite, and they split the $75,000 team prize.

The American Performance HorsemanThe team contest, which pairs a professional from each of the three disciplines together to compete for overall honors, is a unique hallmark of The American Performance Horseman event. The American Performance Horseman took place as part of The American Rodeo’s Western Weekend extravaganza, produced by Teton Ridge in association with APHA, American Quarter Horse Association, National Cutting Horse Association, National Reining Horse Association and National Reined Cow Horse Association. Eight Paints and five APHA members were among the 15 horse-and-rider teams vying for $1 million in total prize money offered at the event. For more information, visit


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About APHA

The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest international equine breed association. APHA has registered more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since 1962. APHA promotes, preserves and provides meaningful experiences with Paint Horses. Learn more at