Of course, being that we're all horsemen, we watched horse porn. The 2016 National Cutting Horse Associations Super Stakes Championship was on and some of our folks ride Quarter Horses. It's also always a treat watching a good cutting horse.
For my non-Western/ European friends, I'll tell what 'cutting' means. Back in the old West, (and, honestly, to this day), cowboys managed free range cattle. Twice a year the cattle were brought in to the corrals for all sorts of things: vaccinations, weaning the babies, separating bull calves (and subsequently castrating them, turning them into meat producing 'steers'), branding and ear tagging the new cows, etc. When you have a large herd of cattle all in one corral (pen), you have to separate each and every one from the rest of the herd. Cattle do not like to be separated from their families and do everything in their power to keep from being so. Roping each one takes too much time.
Many years ago, it was discovered that many horses, especially Quarter Horses, have an innate ability to 'cut', meaning to out maneuver a panicky cow and keep it from rejoining the herd. To watch the horse read the cow's body language and head it off is like watching a giant border collie keeping a sheep out of its flock.
The rider is merely along for the ride. Her job is to choose the cow she wants cut and then let the horse do his job. The instinct to cut is truly that-instinct. You can't force a horse to cut. You can refine his performance, but like a good TB wants to race, either the horse cuts or he does not. You cannot force it.
|Hang on, Dad, I got this 'un|
|Wes Galeyn cutting horses|
Cutting horses are true athletes. They put unimaginable strain on their ligaments and tendons, and sometimes injure themselves, but the hardest part of owning a cutting horse is keeping him from cutting...anything that moves, to include kittens and chickens...when he's supposed to be healing up.
Watching a cutting horse is like watching a chess match. You have one smart horse who lives to cut, and one cow who wants desperately to be back in the middle of her herd. There aren't too many cows that can outwit the horse...but there was one: Sweetness. Please read my post on my old wordpress blog about one of the best and smartest cows I ever saw:
(I can't get the URL to highlight, so cut and paste it into your search bar)
I had never seen a cutting horse match of this caliber before, but I have watched plenty of dressage, show jumping and cross country. In the first two, spectators are respectful of the competitors. The folks in the stands are quiet. They understand that the person on the horse's back in the arena in front of them is communicating with her horse, is concentrating, is competing. We're quiet.
Apparently, not so the cutting horse spectator, or maybe I should say one. Or perhaps a handful.
The above named competition was on the TV, so I have no idea who the person was who inspired this post. Let me set the scene:
A girl on a Quarter Horse (in fact, all of the competitors), rode into the arena. Her horse, while calm and peaceful, was nevertheless alert and scoping out the herd, waiting for his rider to choose which cow she wanted cut. It was all calm..until the young lady selected her cow by riding into the herd.
From the audience erupted the most amazing sound..at first I thought it was a turkey being torn limb from limb without benefit of being dead. I have never in my life heard such a piercing screeching come from a human throat. Some girl was squalling like a banshee,
shrieking at the top of her lungs (and someone with her was whistling) during the unfortunate competitors' entire performance.
What in the hell? I asked my Western compatriots.
The next competitor came into the arena...and not a sound from the Screecher.
What in the hell was THAT all about?
That, I was informed, was a woman in the audience's attempt to frighten the cow in to bolting so that the rider on the horse would lose...either lose the cow, or her concentration.
It was a way to influence the outcome of the competition without actually being a competitor.
That, in my mind, is cheating, on the spectators part.
This particular show was videotaped on 11 April 2016 in Fort Worth Texas. The rider had 2nd herd, or 2nd bunch, of cows.
So if someone out there is reading this and recognizes herself, I say Shame On You. If I were so lucky as to be able to find out who you are, I'd make a point of finding out what you do on horseback , and the next time YOU are in the ring, trying to win, I'll do the same thing that you did to that poor girl in the arena.
Although I doubt I can reach the pitch you did, or scream so loudly that the entire audio portion of the video was YOU.
It was disgusting.