Choosing A Horse
It is wise
to spend time getting to know the rules of the sport, as well as your own
goals, before you invest in a horse. Enter the sport at a level you can
An ideal horse for the beginner is an older, seasoned horse that
knows the rules of the game. A horse which will not be flustered or
confused by an inexperienced rider's body language is best. While it is
difficult for most horses to stop when the rider is hanging on with both
spurs, a good beginner's horse is forgiving.
Once you learn the basics
and earn a few checks in competition, you will be ready to move up to the
next level. That is the beauty of the sport.
Finding the Right
After the horse comes the saddle one made
specifically for cutting competition with a spacious, flat seat. The
saddle should fit both the horse and the rider, and may have a breast
collar or back cinch. A list of details to look for in selecting your
first saddle would include the following: seat size, fender length and
stirrup style, shape and height or horn, height of swells, and hard seat
or padded seat. Other features such as tooling, conchos, and color are
cosmetic. Another factor to consider, is the trade-in or resale value of
Choosing the Right
When picking out tack, take someone knowledgeable while
shopping if you are unfamiliar with the NCHA equipment rules. Choose your
equipment so it may be something that your horse can be "worked" in while
practicing as well as shown in. Stay focused while shopping; purchase
items that are proven basic and practical. Good equipment helps you and
your horse stay competitive enabling the "WIN"!
"Gimmick" items always need to be checked on with your trainer before
purchasing. Quality and fit should always be your highest priority.
Examine the product, think about how it will "feel" and "how much you will
feel back from your horse".The tack items needed are as follows
: A leather
headstall is preferred, brow band, split ear or slot ear designs are the
options. A bit made from "Sweet Steel" that will enhance a "Wet Mouth";
your bit will need to be matched to both your and your horse's ability. A
curb chain made from either all leather or leather and chain combination
to fit the horse's temperament. A pair of split reins made of heavy
harness leather; they may be sized in both length and width to fit the
comfort of the rider's hands.
Saddle Blanket: The blanket should be constructed from all
natural fibers; hand-woven 100% wool is the most common. It should be
larger in size than the skirts on the saddle and have wear leathers on
both sides to help protect the edges underneath the fenders and tie-straps
for the cinch.
Leg Protection: The horse needs splint boots for the front legs
and back boots or skid boots. These boots will protect the horse's legs
during the rigorous stops and turns demanded during cutting
Chaps: Although they are not required, leather chaps or leggings
protect clothing and help the rider stay put in the saddle. Whatever your
choice in style and design, it is recommended to have them custom
Grooming Kit: Good grooming is as important for the horse as it
is for the rider. Top quality brushes, sponges, shampoos, and coat
conditioners are a necessity.
Information contained in "Finding the Right Saddle" and "Choosing
the Right Tack" is courtesy of M.L. Leddy's Boot & Saddlery.
For more information about purchasing your first saddle contact
Leddy's at (817) 624-3140. The NCHA is proud to have M.L. Leddy's as the
"Official Saddle of the NCHA". All M.L. Leddy's saddles are hand fitted to
the lifetime guaranteed tree.
Finding a Trainer
are an invaluable source of information. In addition to teaching you the
fine art of cutting, your trainer may work with you on basic riding and
horse safety skills, depending on your needs.
Remember, do not be afraid to ask your trainer questions, no matter how
trivial a question may seem to you. Contact the NCHA for a
list of trainers in your area.
Preparing for the
Cutting is both a physical and a mental game and
preparation begins well in advance of the competition. Just as you lope
and exercise your horse, you should prepare yourself physically, as well.
Consult your doctor or fitness instructor for a stretching and exercise
routine to fit your needs. Not only will it help your muscles to relax, it
will help you prepare mentally, as well. Take a few moments, if possible,
before you show, either by yourself or with your trainer, to focus and
review your game plan for inside the competition arena.
Loping Pen Etiquette and
Stay to the inside if you want to go slow, stay
to the outside if you want to go fast.
Never stop in traffic. Stop in
an area with no traffic. Groom and apply boots in areas with no
If you must tie your horse, tie him to something secure.
A rider must be in control of his/her horse at all times.
before leaving or entering traffic. Yield to lopers.
Do not exercise
horses or train young horses when there is limited space in the loping
Do not weave in and out of traffic without looking. Maintain
constant speed and stay to the inside when going slow.
directions and maintain flow in one direction when asked. Always ask when
you wish to change directions.
Yield to tractor and be careful of
pedestrians and other lopers wishing to exit or enter. Leave pen when
asked by announcer.
Try to maintain a good sense of humor. People may
be tired and nervous. Be patient with newcomers and try to help them learn
by referring them to these guidelines.
Benefits and Services