The voice of West Coast cutters since 1950, the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association is dedicated to maintaining the standards of cutting and attracting new participants to the sport.
The association sanctions over 150 competitions each year throughout the nine western states of Association territory. The five biggest events - the Futurity and Gelding Stakes for three year olds, Derby and Cutting Stakes for four year olds, and the Classic/Challenge for five and six year olds offer combined prizes of over $1 million.
Anyone can join. Current members include owners, trainers, riders, sponsors and cutting enthusiasts. The $50 yearly fee includes a subscription to the official publication of the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association Performance Horse Magazine which contains a special cutting horse section each month.
Cutting - What It's All About
One of the world's fastest growing equine sports, cutting offers tremendous excitement and drama for horse, rider and spectators alike.
The challenge: to select a single calf form the herd... gently guide it into the center of the arena, and then, with lightening-fast starts and turns, prevent it from ducking past the horse and escaping back to the herd.
Cutting has its origins in the Old West, when a horse that could select an individual cow for branding or medical attention was a cowboy's most valued possession.
Cutting attracts men and women alike, from across the nation and from all walks of life. Yet, diverse as cutters and cutting fans are, they share a feeling for the Old West, a craving for excitement, and a heartfelt love of horses.
The Cutting Horse
Most cutting horses are specially trained quarter horses. The ideal horse must have speed, savvy and a hard-to-define trait cutters call "cow sense" - the ability to guess what moves a calf is going to make before the move takes place.
Because cutting requires a horse to think for itself, training is a lengthy, demanding procedure, often undertaken by a professional cutting horse trainer. yet, once trained, a good cutting horse often is a valuable asset to its owner; winning prizes today while breeding tomorrow's generation of winners.
Cutting, like skating or gymnastics, is judged by a panel of experts who rate the horse's performance in points. Each judge's point rating may range from 60 to 80. The horse and rider are given 2 1/2 minutes to perform. During that period, they may cut as many as three cattle. Penalties are assessed for such errors as scattering the herd, attempting to guide the horse with the reins after the calf is separated, quitting a calf, or allowing the calf to escape back to the herd. On the other hand, points may be added to the horse's score for a particularly spectacular performance.