We are approaching the halfway mark on this year’s National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity. If you have been here, you have seen a lot of horses work – outstanding ones, good ones and some embarrassingly bad. What everyone is looking for is the future, which is kind of why we call it the “Futurity.” Last month, I mentioned the 600 or so days a trainer has to get a horse ready for the Futurity. Not a minute is wasted or rushed. Everything is done just right, in order and in time.
This month, the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity starts in Fort Worth, Texas. It is one more very big deal, the pivot point of our world. It is the first time these 3-, coming 4-year-old horses have a hand dropped in real competition, in front of real judges.
There is a manure load of money to be realized in the Bigs, events with $100,000 minimum. Prize money is actually the little money in cutting. Big money is a mare having 20 babies selling for $50,000 apiece. Or a stallion breeding a full book of mares for a couple of decades at $10,000. Each.
Somebody has to decide which pony got the job done best. All cutters are experts. We should be able to decide who was best amongst ourselves. Right? Honey Baked Hams will be franchising in the Middle East before that works.
Until then, we will stick with the five judge/monitor/video review system. The one we have been using for 25 years. It is complicated. It is expensive. It has more moving pieces than a Swiss watch. It is as fair as humans can make it, eliminating anything that could even possibly have the appearance of unfairness.
Over the past couple of years, you’ve heard me speak about the urgent issues of building and encouraging youth horsemen, along with the problems the horse industry faces because of ever-decreasing numbers in membership. Even though these are two separate issues, they really go together as one impacts the other. I have asked you to become aware of this dual-edged dilemma because it really could be the most important factor in determining how the equine landscape looks in the future.
The NCHA Summer Spectacular is now in the books and was as good as any. The 10 days of rain and coolness was a real mood fixer. But there was also heartache. John Carter passed during the show and the services were in the coliseum one evening. It brought us all together with a reminder of what a family we really are, along with many memories of good times.
Well, Cornbread and Buttermilk went to the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Convention. The overall tone was excellent and upbeat with plenty of signs of growth. The best convention I ever attended. It was a chore, even living 10 minutes away, ’til I walked in and was at peace. Family – it’s a very good thing.
In cutting – really everywhere, but cutting is all that matters – we tend to have a higher estimation of ourselves than is correct. We think we are fine, everybody else thinks we are rough. Buy us for what we are worth, sell us for what we think we are worth, and you’d have a nice profit. This makes for a poor student. If you have to learn all your lessons the hard way, you will be bruised and battered, like a chicken fried steak.
Cutting and life are similar in that they are both long, forked trails. Decisions beget decisions. Some are harder than Chinese arithmetic. Making no decision is a decision. Allowing others to make your decisions is a decision. All decisions are ultimately yours. No one always makes the right decision, but making the decision the right way for the right reasons will go a long way toward making it the right decision. Making the right decision for the wrong reasons may well doom the decision.
Cutting is fun. It is supposed to be fun. Fun is a very important component of Cutting. If you, your trainer and/or your next of kin are not having fun, then your program is all messed up.
People tend to get it backwards. They aren’t winning, so it isn’t fun. Not winning isn’t fun, but quitting the fun part won’t make you start winning. When it isn’t fun is when the winning quits. If the only thing that makes you happy is winning, then you won’t be happy very often. After all, the Cutter’s prayer is, “Lord, I don’t need to win, just let me be third. Every time.”