Just days after the second of three National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Town Hall Meetings, in which Executive Director Jim Bret Campbell stressed the importance of attracting new people to the sport of cutting, Cutting Horse Central debuted its new Cutting Club.
Mark Michels, founder of Cutting Horse Central, created the Cutting Club as a way to reach out to horse enthusiasts who want to try cutting for the first time. While the clinics are also open to amateurs looking to meet trainers in their area and improve their skills, Michels developed a “buddy system” to encourage beginner participation.
“Our goal was to get NCHA amateurs to bring their friends who may be on the fence about the sport or just want to try cutting in a low-cost, fun-filled environment,” he explained, adding that a beginner can attend for free. “Whenever possible, we try to have ‘practice horses’ available for the newbies to ride and possibly get hooked like we all did.”
Complete with a catered meal and organized instruction, the clinics are designed to welcome new enthusiasts in a family-friendly environment. When an event attracts a larger-than-normal number of participants, Michels reaches out to another trainer to assist at the clinic.
The first Cutting Club event was held April 21 at Equi-Stat Elite $4 Million Rider Lindy Burch’s Oxbow Ranch in Weatherford, Texas. The overwhelming response the clinic generated filled the indoor arena at Burch’s facility and started the clinic series off on a positive path.
Rock Hedlund hosted back-to-back events at Echeta Ranch in Wilton, California, and Tatum Rice held another at his T/K Cutting Horses in Weatherford. All four clinics were booked full, and riders who attended walked away praising the new format.
“We have been overwhelmed by support from people wanting to participate, trainers wanting to host them and sponsors wanting to be part of them,” Michels said. “We’ve already seen a bunch of new people coming to try it and some familiar faces we haven’t seen in a while that now want to get back into the sport.”
The next Cutting Horse Central Cutting Club clinic is scheduled during the Breeder’s Invitational for May 18 with Equi-Stat Elite $2 Million Rider Tommy Marvin at his facility in nearby Barnsdall, Oklahoma. It will be followed by a June 9 event with Equi-Stat Elite $9 Million Rider Phil Rapp in Weatherford. For more information on the Cutting Club or to find out about upcoming events in your area, visit qhne.ws/1VRVvGw or contact Michels at [email protected]
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