Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cutting Horses-How it all Began

Cutting is an equestrian event in the western riding style where a horse and rider are judged on their ability to separate a calf away from a cattle herd and keep it away for a short period of time.

The horses involved are typically Quarter horses, although other breeds may be used, such as American Paint Horses or Appaloosas. A horse that instinctively knows how to keep a calf from returning to the herd, and is trained in a manner to be shown competitively, is considered a cutting horse.

In the event, the horse and rider select and separate a calf out of a small group. The calf then tries to return to its herdmates; the rider loosens the reins ("puts his hand down" in the parlance) and leaves it entirely to the horse to keep the calf separated, a job the best horses do with relish, savvy, and style.

A contestant has 2 1/2 minutes to show his horse; typically three cows are cut during a run, although working only two cows is acceptable. A judge awards points to the cutter based on a scale that ranges from 60 to 80, with 70 being considered average.

Cutting is one of the fastest growing forms of western horsecack riding/equine sports in the world. In 2006, the contestants at the NCHA Futurity competed for more than $3.7 million--over a hundred times the offering of the first year.

Here is the story of how it all began for this fast growing equestrian sport.

When American cowboys of the 1800s began using their best horses to separate individual cows from a herd, it was part of the daily job. Cutting's heritage runs strong and deep, like the centuries-old mesquites that flourish on the Texas plains. From Chisholm Trail to present day, cutting horses have been indispensable tools in the cattle trade.

During the era of the open range, cattle from one outfit often drifted and mingled with those of other outfits. Twice a year, in the spring and the fall, neighboring ranchers would join in a cattle roundup to sort out their brands.

Every outfit traveled with a remuda of horses. Within the remuda each cowboy had a string of horses, some of them more suitable for one job than another. For instance, a cowhand needed a steady mount to patrol the herd during the night, but in the morning he could ride last year's bronc to the far reaches of the roundup circle.

The cutting horse was an elite member of the remuda. A typical cutting horse might have started out in a cowboy's string, but his sensitivity to cattle brought him to the attention of the roundup boss. He was the horse that pricked his ears toward a cow and followed her with his eyes. He instinctively knew not to crowd her, yet was wary of her every move. He made the difficult job of separating cattle easier and quicker.

As big cattle outfits gave way to small farms and ranches in the twentieth century, pickup trucks and squeeze chutes took the place of cow horses. A few large ranches still rounded up cattle the old-fashioned way, but cutting horses were fast becoming obsolete.

The first advertised cutting contest was held at the 1898 Cowboy Reunion in Haskell, Texas. Fifteen thousand people, lured by ads in the Dallas News and the Kansas City Star, attended. Since the nearest railroad was fifty miles away, they came on horseback, or by wagon and hack. The cutting contest offered a prize of $150, a substantial sum in those days, and 11 riders entered.

The first record of cutting as an arena spectator event came at the Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show in Fort Worth, Texas, when a cutting horse exhibition was added to the annual rodeo in 1919. It became a competitive event the following year.

By 1946, there were so many cutting horse contests being held, under so many different sets of conditions and rules that a group of 13 cutting horse owners met at the Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show and decided to form an association to establish standard rules and procedures for holding such competition.

The first show was held in Dublin, Texas, in the fall of 1946, and the rest they say is history.

The bond between people and horses that make this sport so special, also links it to the sweat and dust of the Old West, and sets it apart from all other events.

To find out more about the Cutting Horse Sport please visit our Squidoo Lens and the links section for Cutting Websites.

Buckaroo Leather Cutting Horse Tack

American Made Leather, Timeless Quality

Quality Leather Horse Tack is vital for the performance for both horse and rider.

The type of cutting horse tack used is harness leather split reins and harness leather headstalls for working and cutting horse training...

A quality rein can make the communication between horse and rider superior, creating a stronger performance. Below is a listing of some of the finest American made reins available at Buckaroo Leather.

Professional Heavy Leather Split Rein-(pictured to the right) 5/8" width with an 8' Length. These TOP OF THE LINE Quality Pro Horse Reins are for everyday use by the Professional Horseman! These are heavy hand picked uniform Split Reins with Hand Beveled edges and rubbed with extra oil for a soft supple feel-Providing the Best ready to use Feel! Great for reining, training, Cutting, etc.Famous Lined and Oiled Split Reins

Split Lined Reins (Pictured to the right) 5/8" width with 7' or 8' length. The finest Quality Split Lined Reins are sure to become your favorite! They have the uniform balance through out the complete length Because we take care when cut side by side they are PAIRED together, BORN together for that exact same feel & weight for the ultimate signal and communication! This is the only Rein of its kind on the market! Great for reining, Cutting, trail riding and stock horse events.

Pulling Breast Collars by Buckaroo Leather

Cutting horse breast collars are very popular also because the horse is so fast and athletic it is needed to hold your saddle in place. The pulling breast collar, martingale breast collar (sometimes called choker) and over the neck breast collars are the most popular.

And in the cutting horse shows they often add silver conchas and buckle sets to accent and bling up their cutting horse tack...

Pulling Breast Collars-Tooled - (pictured to the right) Hermann Oak Leather Buckaroo style Pulling Breast Collar. The width is 2 1/2" wide with Nickel Plate hardware. This Breast Collar has an over the shoulder fit. It is designed to wrap through the saddle swells, perfect for a pulling position.

Pulling Breast Collars (pictured to the right) We have added 4 beautifully hand engraved Antique Berry Conchas to this Pulling Breast Collar. This Cowboy Pulling style Breast Collar is American made of Golden Bridle leather, is 2 1/2" wide, oiled & stitched with a soft chap lining and finished with Nickel Plate roller buckle hardware. The Breast Collar has an over the shoulder fit and is designed to wrap through the saddle swells, perfect for a pulling position.

Pulling Breast Collars - (pictured to the right) Quality Hermann Oak Leather Pulling Breast Collar. The width is 2 1/2"with a Golden Bridle leather color. This Cowboy Pulling style Breast Collar is oiled & stitched with a soft chap lining and finished with Nickel Plate roller buckle hardware. This Pulling Breast Collar is designed to wrap through the saddle swells, perfect for a pulling position.

Quality American Made Horse Tack

Our family has been dedicated for 30 years in serving
the Western Horseman the safest most durable Quality
American made leather horse tack.......

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1 comment:

Horse Riding Saddles said...

Geez, i didn't know this much about 'cutting' initially...thanks for the western horsey enlightenment....