Twenty-five days of demonstrations by the best cutting horse trainers and non-pros in the world — showing the best horses, herd work, earning credit, avoiding penalties, clock management and setting up your cow. Every single thing you need to know about showing a cutting horse, by people who have won enough money to burn a wet elephant.
Learn herd settling and cow picking from the best herd settlers and cow pickers. Make your own cow lists and compare them to the trainers’ lists. Learn to memorize cattle in 20 minutes while psychoanalyzing the whole bunch, just like the pros. You know that the herd settler is showcasing those cows, don’t you? That settling them is only part of what is happening.
Learn who thinks the correct use of the practice pen is to prepare a horse to show or season a 3-year-old for their not-yet started show career. Did you know some trainers bring their whole string to Will Rogers so as to not miss a day? Watch trainers train horses. You may even see the future 2013 Futurity Champion. Learn how to use rerun cattle. Observe these same trainers using the flag and mechanical cow to train or tune. See the appropriate use of the “flag” when it is used to give a horse that one last bit of sharpening. Take the opportunity to sharpen your judging skills. Bring your own judging sheets to compare to the judges’ cards.
Observe the proper care and feeding of an elite show horse, including stall cleaning. If you ask nicely, they may even let you clean a stall or 12. Study the proper way to prepare a horse to be worked, shown, cooled out, washed and ironed. Physical therapists for horses with the most modern equipment will be in attendance.
Take in all the “stuff” that is current – tack, saddles, boots and wraps. There will be trucks of every size and make, and trailers from a custom one-horse by Kyle Zanetti to multi-horse living quarters modeled after the Queen Mary. A wide variety of vendors have agreed to be on the grounds and in the exhibit hall to answer any questions you might have about tack, saddles, clothing, furniture, art or any other related gear. After all, cutting is a lifestyle, not just an activity.
On Saturday, April 20, beginning at 8 a.m., there will be a real money clinic hosted by Western Bloodstock with the most astute horse buyers in the industry on current values for cutting horses. The “smart money” people will be giving examples. The Grand Finale will be at 4 p.m., featuring two Open and two Non-Pro sets, with everyone showing to win in the finals.
Twenty-five days of intense, total immersion in cutting, tailored for the greenest beginner to the Hall of Famer rich in blacktype. Scoop up buckets and gallons of knowledge about things you didn’t even know you didn’t know. It’s especially suitable for a spectator.
There is nothing to this cutting horse business as long as you know everything. These are the people who do. There are three weeks ‘til the first bunch, so you need to make plans, book rooms or pack the RV.
Time problem? The last four days are the most entertaining. The first three days are the most educational. Watching all the open horses in the first go-round reveals all – great ones who have bad luck beside highly credentialed ones who don’t know a cow from a Kardashian. This is valuable knowledge. Sit up high behind the herd or in the corners and try to spot a cow taking a horse. Some will hook up and just “track” one out, driving way out or not. Watch a horse “draw” a cow. Learn it. There are trainers “dry working” before going to the herd and real pro lopers loping. There is no other venue where you can move around so freely to study up, with perspectives you can’t get from videos or the Internet.
Coming to one of these clinics is crucial if you are serious about being successful in cutting. It would take years to go see this many trainers one by one. Years. How quickly do you want to start drawing checks? Are you drawing enough checks now?
Cutting is way more than two-and-one-half minutes in the herd. Make friends that will last a lifetime. Sit and visit with people of like minds (warped, that is). Bounce ideas off each other. Play over/under for a dollar a horse. Tell lies. Insult each other. Break bread together. Across the street is the finest Western Art Museum in the world, the Amon Carter.
Tickets, maybe even box seats, can be had just by calling 817-244-6188. It’s so simple, a trainer could do it. Tell them you need tickets for the NCHA Super Stakes.
Cornbread Thinks: Cutters never regret the time spent in Will Rogers Coliseum.
You can reach Cornbread (Jimmy Bankston) at [email protected]