Monica Hicks-Mathison with Just Stitch It, Inc., is a familiar face at National Reining Horse Association events. She is the go-to source for official NRHA merchandise, as well as the creation of other logoed and embroidered items. Monica is married to Justin “Gunny” Mathison and lives in Tioga, Texas, where he trains and she enjoys the niche she has found in NRHA as well as showing as a non pro.
The NRHA Media department had a chance to sit down with Monica here at the NRHA Futurity and ask her about her business as well as a few fun facts related to her background in the reining industry.
Favorite futurity memory?
“That’s hard, there are so many. You know, the Futurity is a show where you get to see everybody, the best of the best. I think every finals night is just electrifying. Inevitably for me, what has happened in this business is the people in it become your family. We are a big family so to see those people succeed, it’s very heartwarming for me.”
Tell people about your reining background?
“So my own personal story… I started with pleasure horses, and through a friend of a friend I got into the reiners a little bit. I became very good friends with Mandy (McQuay) McCutcheon. I ended up coming to Texas and I helped the McQuays way back in the day. I ended up being there and involved in their program and ended up learning so much from their program. I had horses with them and had the ability to show with them. I was fortunate enough to have some very nice horses and still do have some very nice horses. I married someone—Justin Mathison, who worked for Tom and Mandy McCutcheon at the time—so that’s how I met him. He helps me out now and we have horses together so it’s all just kind of grown from there.”
Favorite Personal Horse Show Memory?
“I’ve had probably two. My first horse was a horse we called “Tango.” He was a little dun gelding, his name was Oakie Dun Did It. I did really good at the NRBC with him one year. I ended up tying and we had to have a runoff. I had never been involved in that situation before, so I was a little nervous. I remember one of my really close friends coming up to me and she said, ‘Monica, you know the worst you can be is second,’ and I was like ‘Oh, this is OK, it’s all fine now!’ It ended up working out really well for me and I ended up winning down at the NRBC. Then Gordyville was another horse show we went to and I ended up winning at Gordyville too, so that was totally unexpected.”
Tell us how you started Just Stitch It?
“I believe it’s been close to 15 years that I’ve been bringing Just Stitch It to the NRHA Futurity. I’ve always liked the creativity of things and working with the trainers, so I kind of got into it after working with some people in my hometown with embroidery and screen printing. I knew I didn’t want to be a trainer; I enjoy being a non pro and enjoy doing this for fun. I thought maybe Just Stitch It would be a way to go down the road, but I never thought it would be this big and take me to where it has taken me. But this industry, it can be very heartbreaking, it can also be very exciting. These horses have taken me overseas, they’ve taken me everywhere.
“I think you’ve got to have great staff to help you, and I’ve got great girls that work with me right now that have been with me for a while. I love seeing my stuff out there. I really put a lot of thought and I lot of work into it because I know these people and I want them to look good. When the NRHA came to me and I had that opportunity, it came at the right time and place to say, ‘yeah, I think I can handle this now.’”