We all know that cutting is practiced in many countries around the world, but it may surprise you to learn there’s a burgeoning cutting scene in South Africa. A small number of passionate riders have created an informal but fun cutting group according to Anthony Galliers, who discovered CHTO as a learning tool. He is from Rosetta in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
We found it interesting to hear how cutting was structured in South Africa, as well as some of the challenges they face to get quality
How long have you been involved in the industry, and what brought you into it?
“My wife and I come from jumping and Polo Cross back grounds. We dairy farm so [we] don’t get out much. So we were looking for fun activities to do on [our] farm. We had luck when we stumbled on a western disciple show in 2014, this lead to our daughter falling in love with reining. This lead to the sale of all things English (tack and horses) and to us sourcing western tack and quarter horses.
The whole family soon got hooked. My wife, daughter and son compete in reining. It left me to find my thing. I started to look up what else was out there and came across cutting via you-tube about 2 years ago. So we built a sand arena which allows us to ‘play’ in between milking cows.”
What is the cutting industry like in South Africa?
“It is just a few of us committed folk getting together every six weeks and to see where our horses are at. We have a lot of laughs and we share the little we have learnt between meetings, you tube videos and videos brought over from the States. This is 1000% hobby but hell we are having fun.”
How often do cuttings take place, and how far do you have to travel?
“As mentioned we try to meet and hold fun cutting days every 6 weeks, work and season depending. The six of us farmers are all located in our province (state) known as KwaZulu Natal. What is great is that we are all located in a 100 km (60 mile) radius of each other so we travel to one of the two farms where cutting pens have been made.”
What are the challenges with importing horses/genetics to South Africa?
“Importing horses is an option but a very expensive procedure, especially with the weak Rand to Dollar [conversion rates]. There are horses here in South Africa that have been imported mainly for reining and pleasure work. As a result the studs here are reining and pleasure genetics. We have however had a bit of Colonel Freckles, Smart Little Lena, a Highbrow Cat great grandson and Peppy San Badger genetics brought into to our gene pool. And that is what we have focused on for our cow horses. Regarding semen imports we have major governmental barriers in place that prevent us from importing semen at present which is a massive hurdle. We are working through this, however in Africa this requires governmental intervention so we can’t hold our breath for this to happen quickly.”
What is the most popular horse discipline in South Africa?
“We have a large race horse industry which feeds horses into various sports. Polo and Polo Cross are big team horse sports here. South Africa is the current holder of the World Cup Polo Cross trophy.
Thoroughbreds have been the main horses used for many English disciplines. The Aussie Stock horse crosses have recently come into their own, for polo cross, via a breeding program that has been going on here for some 10 years. Then jumping, dressage and eventing is well set up with good followings, warmbloods and thoroughbreds are mainly used. Gymkhana events [similar to a 4H show] are held under the banner – Mounted Games and this is very popular.”
What is the cutting horse market in South Africa like?
“Cutting specifically, it is still very small, however there is a demand for the ranch type horse. But we like to believe we will attract folk to the sport as more horse and rider combinations are able to showcase the sport.
We rely on CHTO DVDs and you-tube for some kind of direction. As well as investing in trips to the US. In June, our family spent time with Uwe Roeshmann and Cody Lamont which was an awesome learning experience and we have tried to implement what we have learnt here in SA.
Recently we had Mark Lyon from M&M Horsemanship take a trip to South Africa, who taught us a lot. Mark is a colt starter and horsemanship clinician by trade. However he knows enough about cutting and ranch roping and was able to add massive value to us as a group as we got to work on our own horses.”