Cornbread Thinks: It’s Kind of a Big Deal

The NCHA Futurity starts this month. Our biggest deal. In today’s world of war, pestilence, drought, non-functioning politicians, earthquakes, rampant crazy and such, we are tiny. I’m guessing Mr. Putin has never even heard of us. Too bad, we could fix him. We could fix a lot of oversized egos, given a half a chance. During this Futurity thing, we ain’t knowing much about him, either. It is all consuming. Because all it takes is all you got and, unfortunately, that is sometimes still not enough.

Our industry will gather in Fort Worth, Texas, for three weeks. People from other states, countries and continents will come, even those from Peaster. We will be here to see what a year or five has turned into. To get current. To unload and reload. More than a few have done nothing but make payments on a bet they made with a scary amount of risk. It’s a world thousands know, and mil- lions never will.

The 20-something trainers are really light- ing things up. It’s a real thrill to watch them become grownups, starting a business and building a brand. Their barns are filling up with more and better horses, and they’re bringing their best methods and practices to shows. They’re gathering a life; wife-and-husband teams holding each other up when it gets hard, ‘cause it does. They’ve studied this art under the best, but are now doing their own thinking and honing God-given talents. Training and showing horses close to the same place in life – showing promise but not yet there. They’ve got their stuff all squared away. Very professional. It is a comfort to see this…and exciting.

Then there are the trainers in their prime, like NFL Pro Bowlers or MLB All Stars. Elite athletes. Proven. The exception is when they aren’t in the finals. They’re not quite as intense as the youngsters, confident in their skills and ponies. Comfortable even. It is still very much a mistake to get between them and the money. It does not bother them one bit to cram a 228 down your 222 throat. They are nice about it, though. They will help you as hard as they help anyone. They will even compliment you, while folding that check into their pocket. They are good, good people to be around. Stars.

While we have only seen a few of the horses to be shown here, we have seen most all their relatives. We do not have any sires right now that dominate like Doc Bar, Doc O’Lena and Smart Little Lena did in their glory years. High Brow Cat and Dual Rey are still breeding with frozen swimmers, their offspring are winning and high-percentage bets, but the next big thing is on the horizon. We just don’t know who yet. We may know this year. There is more than one knocking. One is hammering. There are several outstanding horses winning big, sired by the younger sires. First foals from the youngest great mares will be here – the ones who have thrilled us to our core with magic runs of dreams. All year we have seen greatness. We are ready and hungry for the future.

Everywhere we have been this year has been like one long reunion. These last few years were hard and filled with conflicts. It was kinda tense at times. Those days seem to have cycled out and the tide is rising. People are taking down barriers they put up. A cloud that felt like time, hence, the reunion feeling. Jim Bret Campbell is feeling more and more like exactly who we needed. It is good – perfect timing for the numbers of new cutters showing up. Contrary to popular belief, it is not against the unwritten rules to introduce yourself. Just don’t try and coach them. Lord knows they need it, but not your circus and not your monkeys. Help them find the office, not the herd.

Cutting is not static. Far from it. As bad as we hate change, it is a constant. Actually, we hate big changes, we love little changes. There are waves of them right now. Venues. Rigs. Vetting. Rules. Therapies. Settling. Cows themselves, for that matter. Styles are morphing into the next. A hint: Horses that create time in a run. There is one right now. I’ll leave you to think about that one.

All signs are tracking to a great Futurity. You are going to miss something if you are not here. Something you need, worse than you know.

Cornbread thinks: You will only regret not being here.