Being a mainly hunter jumper rider that just moved into cowboy land (outside of San Antonio), I am picking up a new discipline to go along with my show jumping... I just am not sure I can choose!
Reiners or Cutters?
What are the perks of both? Negatives? I know a lot of people that do cutters also do reiners and working cow, but I kind of want to try one and stick with it for a while before trying the other!
*Disclaimer, I am not JUST a hunter/jumper rider. I barrel raced for a while and do a lot of ranch work, so I am also comfortable in a Western Saddle. I just don't quite like chasing cans, and I want to try something different... plus, I can't rope with cow poo!
Cutting costs LOTS of money.......think fresh cows all the time Reining is not cheap but cheaper than cutting or reined cowhorse. I ride reining horses and love it but boy if I didn't have a bad back and a money tree I would do cutting in a heart beat!!!
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Why not combine it and do Reined Cowhorse? That is where I am headed! Also, branch into ranch pleasure as well. I came over from the english world 6 years ago and I will not go back! Way to much fun!!!
You really should check out the Stock Horse of Texas Assn (SHOT) and the American Stock Horse Assn (ASHA) which is an outgrowth of SHOT. It's growing by leaps and bounds every year. And you'll be in the perfect location. Very relaxed atmosphere, good clinicians, Good people, Good Horses, Good Food, Good Fun.
They are so different, you should see if you can try them and get a feel for what they are like. I do reining but also play with team sorting, that is a lot of fun and you do not need to rope. SHOT is also a lot of fun, I went to a few shows last year.
Another vote for reined cowhorse - my 1/2 Arab mare and I do it and I loved it so much I bought a QH filly to do it with too! You get reining AND cow work. Many shows are also increasingly offering more boxing classes, too, so you don't have to go down the fence if that is too scary for you.
Also check out the cowboy race organizations - basically a timed obstacle course. They are fun and you can really show off the skills of your horse in one. We do that, too!
Something in between are versatility ranch horse shows. You get to do everything - trail, cows, reining, ranch pleasure riding & halter. We just won our first buckle at a ranch horse show in November. Fun, Fun, Fun!
Cutter99, At first it would be play (because I need to learn) but eventually I would love to show.
Rtph, Looking into SHOT now :3
While cutting is definately A LOT more expensive than reining, you don't have to partake at a high level. Club cuttings are a great introduction to the sport without having to have a top horse or pay for expensive training. The club cuttings are a lot of fun - usually one-day events with good food and cheap beer. Being in Texas, you should Google local clubs. There should be quite a few in your area.
It's an interesting question, though. I showed both reiners and cutters for many years. I loved both. My love for each sport mostly depended on the horse underneath me!
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Another vote for SHOT/ASHA here. I love competing in ASHA, its fun, has a lot of variety, and IME you can be competetive on a slightly less specialized/high up front cost horse. Plus, I love that you can have a not so great run in one section, and not feel like you've blown your entire chance of doing well at the show. Also, every VRH competitor I've ever met has been super helpful and nice, they love introducing new people to the sport, and are really friendly.
If you are in San Antonio area, perhaps call Todd Martin and take some reining lessons and see how you like it. He is up in Boerne, nice little town. And the best way to start your lessons would be to tell them you don't kow anything about western but you do ride english. Reining and cutting are different than barrels so a fresh start at the beginning will be good. Don't worry you won't be doing walk/jog.
I have done both reining and cutting and the cattle fees DO add up. Reining is a more practical way to start, and more likely to have lesson horses available for you to learn on.
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Over where it's HI in the middle and round on both ends.
I have competed in both NRHA and NCHA events as a nonpro. I love both. I agree you should try both. One huge difference in the horses and training is that reining ,by definition, is the horse is "willfully guided" therefore the horse should respond obediently
to the rider. In cutting the horse should "mirror the movements of the cow" so the horse is reading the cow and thinking independently of the rider. Do yourself a favor and try lessons from well respected trainers in each discipline.
Good Luck. You will have fun