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.”
On the evening of March 10, 2013, five men and five horses were inducted into American Quarter Horse Association’s (AQHA) Hall of Fame. This writer was one of the fortunate five who received admission through those hallowed arches, and I must admit, it was a night I will remember for the rest of my life!
There will be a special place in Heaven for trainers’ wives. It will be padded and have a punching bag. There will be a really nice barn where nothing ever breaks or gets hurt or sick. It will be warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and airy and light. It will be full of good horses owned by customers who pay their bills on time and know all the rules of cutting – written and unwritten. All the barn help will be graduates of the Martha Stewart School of Housekeeping who speak the King’s English. The lopers and assistant trainers will stay happy and never quit at the worst possible time.