Wednesday, December 7, 2011

NCHA Futurity in Fort Worth

Just how different could two events possibly be? And we attended both on the same day...the Christmas extravaganza at the Gaylord Texan Resort and the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity!

NCHA Futurity is the oldest and most prestigious of all Cutting Horse competitions. The world's most promising three-year-old cutting horses are competing in Fort Worth's Will Rogers Coliseum for a total purse of $4 million.
Cutting is an equestrian event in the western riding style where a horse and rider are judged on their ability to separate a single animal away from a cattle herd and keep it away for a short period of time. The horses involved are typically Quarter horses, although many other stock horse breeds may be used. A cutting horse is an athletic and willing animal that is trained to instinctively keep a cow from returning to the herd.
In the event, the horse and rider select and separate a cow (typically a steer or heifer) out of a small group. The cow then tries to return to its herd; the rider loosens the reins ("puts his hand down" in the parlance) and leaves it entirely to the horse to keep the cow separated, a job the best horses do with relish, savvy, and style. A contestant has 2 ½ minutes to show the horse; typically three cows are cut during a run, although working only two cows is acceptable. [description from Wikipedia]

Rich and I watched this event for a couple of hours this afternoon. Lucky for us, a cowboy sitting in front of us is a trainer and competitor from California; he provided a Cutting for Dummies course which helped us enjoy it even more. These horses are such magnificent creatures and so hard working! Here are a few shots...
Picking a cow to cut from the herd

Keeping the cow separated from the herd

Another rider selecting a cow to cut

Again, keeping the cow separated from the herd

Here are four shots where you can see how the horse twists and turns, anticipating and thwarting every move of the cow to keep it from returning to the herd.


Of course we did make time for lunch between these two special events. You can see the smoke from the pits at the Hard Eight Pit BBQ long before you arrive.

You get in line next to the outdoor smoker pits and select your food from here...

The sides are priced individually and you pay for your meat by the pound. All the food you selected is tossed onto a tray and you find yourself a place to sit at one of the many long, communal tables. The restaurant is fabulously western and the smoked brisket was delicious. Here Rich is bringing our drinks on his tray.

Well, yes, of course we brought some home for the girls. Tomorrow's breakfast will finish with brisket and eggs! Now that's quite a dog's life!

Lovin' Life ~~ Enjoying New Special Events

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