At long last, welfare issues have come front and center in the minds of equine organizations.
My part of the Lucas Oil National Cutting Horse Association Super Stakes, as far as showing goes, is over. It did not go well. My fault. I cut a bad cow once and cut bad next. Both preventable. The bad cow might not have been bad if I had cut her second or drove her out farther or, or, or... you know. We picked her together and had consensus. I ate steak that night to get even. The second cow got a step on me. Yellow baldy. My choice was chase her into the corner or switch off, counting on all five judges’ eyesight to fail. It did not. I got hit with a switch. Never got a chance to show my horse because of decisions I made or agreed to before I ever left the cow boxes.
What is the most expensive kind of maintenance? Deferred. The cheapest? Preventative. The easiest to put off? Regular. The most ignored? Ourselves. I am tired of being serious. Pay attention.
I write this column a month in advance of its published date so, I can only guess at the outcome of the upcoming American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Convention. By now, all of you will have heard the news as to who has been elected to serve AQHA’s membership on the executive committee, board of directors, changes in the rules and other pertinent information that has been decided on during this annual meeting.
As a community, we are all in this together. In truth, the whole world is in this together. It’s hard to understand how one fool on the other side of the world can pull off one stunt and we all go barefoot in the airport. Or it can be one hero and the change is for the better. The world of cutting is no different.
Buttermilk is always good for a column subject. She thought I should tell you about the work involved at shows – in particular, aged events, and even more specifically, the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity. Given that she is smarter and more observant than me, and the keeper of the TV clicker, I agreed. I could make this the shortest column ever. Easily. It is a lot. But that is too easy, so...here it is.
The National Cutting Horse Association Futurity Non-Pro starts as I write. Horse shows have a “feel;” this one is very good, like it should be and what we want. I’m driving in from Whiskey Flats, listening to Norwegian Symphony tunes, to meet a Swiss snowboard racing lady, a man from Venezuela and a Ukrainian truck driver. I have run video feed for a Canadian. I have made a loper from Israel laugh. I helped “Fish,” the Eritrean parking attendant, help a girl from Wisconsin find her car and a cutter from Peaster, himself. Facebook has given me cutter friends from all over the world. These global connections are fascinating. This is old in the world of horses and cows.
This column comes out deep into the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity. Even though I am writing before it even starts, I know we have seen some great runs. I am clairvoyant like that. Everybody has seen old friends, made some new ones, told each other Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukah or such. It’s all good. We are going to get down to the end and start passing out trophies, buckles, swag and most importantly, checks – big ones in some cases.
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.
Embarrassed here. I am used to it though. Been doing it to myself for a while. I talk about cutting being all about quality. Buttermilk brought it to my attention (of course she did) that I have never really defined “quality.” So, I am going to have a crack at it.