Lifetime Earnings: $2,342,759
Top Three Horses Trained:
• Crafty With Cows
• A Little Bossy
• Sueper Kitty
Lifetime Earnings: $2,342,759
Top Three Horses Trained:
• Crafty With Cows
• A Little Bossy
• Sueper Kitty
It’s that time of year again! Two year olds are being started and the ever important foundation for the rest of their career is being established.
Reserve NCHA Futurity champion for the second year running, Adan Banuelos has already earned in excess of $3 million in the show-pen. At just 31 years of age, Adan has proven his mastery in the show pen. Now we take a closer look at his skill as a horseman and learn how he handles his two year olds.
Adan is captivating to watch and listen to because he is such a student of the horse. His respect for the horse is admirable. He reiterates all the time how he likes to TEACH his horses something rather than TELL them!
Adan wants to instill a “where’s the cow” mentality in his horses, so that no matter what angle they land or where they end up (past the cow or behind the cow) that they want to find the cow and go with it.
Cody Patterson started off with humble beginnings in the horse business cleaning stalls for Phil Hanson Sr, from California (Futurity Champion Phil Hanson in Texas is his son). At the time, Hanson trained cutters but he also trained cow horses and made the Snaffle Bit Futurity finals a few times. Patterson always gravitated to the cow horse side of the performance horse world, appreciating the versatility of the sport.
One of the biggest complaints about cutting is that it’s a rich man’s sport. Sure, if you buy the best horse, get the fanciest truck and trailer, have a full time trainer and compete in the triple crown events (not to mention vet fees), it will cost you a pretty penny, even if you do win. But it’s a myth to suggest cutting is only a rich man’s sport.
There are countless cutters around the world who don’t have unlimited means and still get to indulge in their love of the sport. All it takes is some realistic expectations, a bit of planning and the discipline to stick to it.
Yes, it sounds simple, but it’s not always easy to do, mainly because we can be our own worst enemy and our wants often speak louder than our needs. But a bit of common sense, and some extra effort and patience, particularly when looking for the right horse for example, can pay off big.
We spoke to a variety of cutters who have all managed to make cutting affordable for themselves and they have shared their thrifty habits and handy tips here.
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How did you get started in cutting?
“Been involved in cutting since ‘79 or ‘80. My dad [got me involved]. My dad was Olan Hightower. He trained Colonel Freckles. I was fortunate enough to have a teacher that knew more about the cow and horse than anyone I ever encountered…the good Lord blessed me with some ability and feel for a horse. Dad’s way of teaching was about the horse and the cow and not you.”
With all the recent turmoil in cutting with declining membership, staff turn-over and controversies over how to make the sport fairer and more accessible, it can be hard to stay positive. But two cutters who have optimism to share are Star Roberts and Amy Jones.
When they started out in cutting, both knew that they weren’t going to go buy a six-figure cutting horse, if ever. They each began with a horse that was at their level and gradually moved up in horse power as they developed. Their trainers helped them learn and improve, knowing full well that they were not going to spend a lot of money on a horse. As a result, both riders have thoroughly enjoyed their time in the sport, making great friends.
Who would have thought, in a country barely the size of New Jersey and located in the Middle East, that there is a flourishing performance horse scene that even includes a cutting group which shows five times a year?
Sarig Brosh has been training horses for over 20 years. His student, Yafit Junker, has been riding horses for six years.
“I took my first riding lesson six years ago, and about a year later I was brought to Brosh to make him laugh….I find cutting as addictive and progressive. I started with a frequency of once a week and very soon it became my everyday routine,” Junker said.
Junker purchased a horse and very soon one horse turned into three and now Junker is a lifer in all things horses and a cutter to boot.
Her trainer Brosh spent two years in the United States learning about training horses. One year of that was spent breaking colts and roping, and another year learning to train cutting horses from Terry Harlen from Texas.
Karl Jenkins isn’t a stranger to hard work. Jenkins spent 46 years building a successful Chevrolet Dealership in Wapakoneta, Ohio which didn’t allow too much time for indulging his passion for horses. However, after retiring 3 years ago, Karl could pursue cutting horses to the full extent.
“It’s nice being retired. The days go by fast, but it sure is great being able to spend that time with my horses all day,” said Jenkins.
Jenkins has been in the saddle ever since he was 10 years old, running barrels and poles. In college, he got his first taste of cutting.
“Shorty Freeman let me turn back for him, and I was hooked,” Jenkins said. In his late 50’s, Jenkins purchased a very special horse, a daughter to Freckles Play Boy, Betty’s Little Freckles rose to the top time and time and time again. The duo never placed below second in any show they competed.
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If you’ve ever bred or even owned a horse, then there’s a good chance you may have contracted this alarming disease at some point. It knows no racial, ethnic or religious boundaries. Early symptoms include excessive grooming of your horse, and constantly posting pictures on social media of every “cute” and “adorable” angle of said animal/s.
It can quickly develop into a chronic condition when most of your waking hours are spent comparing your horse/s to all others only to find all others wanting.
The disorder can even progress to its most acute stage when you believe judges are unfairly penalizing your horse if it doesn’t achieve the score you think it should have and you become highly sensitive to any comments about your horse that are not superlatives, especially by trainers (cause what do they know?)
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For Hannah Venne, horses have always been the center of her life.
“My dad used to try to sign me up for all different sports, “she said, “but according to my mom and I, the barn is where I needed to be.”
From dressage to hunter jumper and onto Polo Cross, Venne has done it all. At 17 years old, Polo Cross brought Hannah Venne to Burnett, TX.
In a twist of fate, Hannah’s search for a Polo Cross Horse on Craigslist led her to a little black mare that was advertised as a finished cutting horse.” Venne soon realized her new mare was “not so finished.” Knowing very little about cutting, she turned to trainer Mike Crumpler for lessons.
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In our February Newsletter, CHTO featured Hall of Fame Rider Kobie Wood’s training program. He explained how to position your horse with the cow and interestingly, how he believes using turn-back help at home hinders his horse from cowing up. Wood is the reining Super Stakes Derby Champion. He won the title in 2018 aboard Cool N’ Hot. This month we delve deeper with Part II where he focuses on the cow. When it comes to cattle, Wood describes them as “The million dollar question?”
What do you look for when picking cattle?
“You want to pick a cow that’s not real lazy and you want to pick one that’s so alert you can’t get ahold of her in the back of the herd. So you’ve got to find that middle of the road cow that’s got enough eye appeal and enough move that [it] will look at you and honor you without trying to run you over.” “I can keep the dance,” Wood describes it. “I can keep it moving if I can find a cow that’ll let me stop and I can draw it in or I can push it away and they’ll still come back to me.”
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.”