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Cutting or Reined Cowhorse in AZ - Realistic?

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  • Cutting or Reined Cowhorse in AZ - Realistic?

    I am interested in getting into cutting and/or reined cowhorse. There's a lot of options in AZ for it (I'm here for the winter), and I *do* know that there's a plethora of trainers. HOWEVER, I am a self-employed, single parent. Although I just want to play around in the low level, local type stuff - is this even realistic? I'm unsure if my income will make it impossible to afford lessons, plus I would be a haul-in client and I've been told that many trainers won't allow that, that they want the horse on-site for long term training.

    Some background on me/my horse... My horse is cowbred, in his mid-late teens (100% sound w/ no maintenance). He ran barrels professionally (wpra) for about a decade. He also roped a small amount, and did a teenie bit of sorting for fun. Obviously he is more forward/on the bit than a lot of cutting/RC types, but he does stop, back, pivot, etc and is well broke. I've been trying to do sorting on him more recently, which is he at a natural at, except there are so few competitions here that I lost hope. However, cutting and RC seem to have quite a bit more low level shows available. I myself am an experienced rider (3 decades worth), and trained professionally in the same disciplines as my horse. I am forced to compete in the Open because of that, but I am a total brand new person as far as cutting/RC go. I read the *entire* NCHA rule book, I've read a ton about both disciplines, and youtubed videos all over the place. I have a good idea of what to do, but I need a trainer to help me and my horse thoroughly before I ever consider a competition.

    Ideally, I would like to haul-in for a lesson once a week. I could realistically send my horse out for 30-60 days of training, but this horse does ranch work at home and being a weekend/playday type competitor, would not be kept in training long term with someone. I'd go bankrupt! For those that compete in these disciplines, can I realistically find a trainer willing to take me on? I feel sheepish about even reaching out to ask any of them. If anyone can recommend someone - I would greatly appreciate it. I do know Al Dunning is an option, but to the tune of around $120 an hour (so I was told). That would break the bank a bit for me. If I'm doing lessons that are more than $100 an hour, I'm going to have to take less frequent lessons.

    Anyway... I hope that gives enough of an idea... Can this realistically be done as a "not wealthy" person? Who wants to be a haul-in client? And compete locally, for fun? Or should I just keep my head where it is, and just play at home :-\

  • #2
    You could call around until you find a trainer that would give you a first lesson on their horse?
    That would not be too expensive and would help you get a feel for it.
    Not sure I would bring up right off that you intend to use your barrel and team penning horse.
    I would leave that for after you know more.

    Then the trainer can tell you more about how you may proceed.

    Cutting and working cow horse horses are talented at that and finely trained, even at the lowest levels.
    There are not a horse someone takes from another discipline and just tries their hand at that.

    As a newbie, you also need to learn on a horse that shows you what that is all about.

    Someone that has only watched barrel racing would not take a cutter and just start barrel racing without long training time for rider and horse first?
    Not a good idea to overwhelm a horse like that, creating all sort of problems.

    Cutters and working cow horse people are way nice, they really are passionate about what they do and always willing to help someone that is interested in knowing about their disciplines.

    Some cutting, reining and working cow horse shows even have special events their associations present.
    They have a trainer and suitable horse to show visitors just how that works, promoting their disciplines.
    May want to go to some and see what they have and talk to some trainers there.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by Bluey View Post
      You could call around until you find a trainer that would give you a first lesson on their horse?
      That would not be too expensive and would help you get a feel for it.
      Not sure I would bring up right off that you intend to use your barrel and team penning horse.
      I would leave that for after you know more.

      Then the trainer can tell you more about how you may proceed.

      Cutting and working cow horse horses are talented at that and finely trained, even at the lowest levels.
      There are not a horse someone takes from another discipline and just tries their hand at that.

      As a newbie, you also need to learn on a horse that shows you what that is all about.

      Someone that has only watched barrel racing would not take a cutter and just start barrel racing without long training time for rider and horse first?
      Not a good idea to overwhelm a horse like that, creating all sort of problems.

      Cutters and working cow horse people are way nice, they really are passionate about what they do and always willing to help someone that is interested in knowing about their disciplines.

      Some cutting, reining and working cow horse shows even have special events their associations present.
      They have a trainer and suitable horse to show visitors just how that works, promoting their disciplines.
      May want to go to some and see what they have and talk to some trainers there.

      Thank you! I should say that both the horse and I have been retired from barrel racing for over 5 years, and do not 'appear' to be barrel racers (we never did fit in to that crowd to begin with). But I was hoping the more we did sorting, the more we might have an ability to cut. I liked RC because 'boxing' has been my favorite thing to do, as I box at home a little bit for fun and see my horse love it in a way that's new to see!

      I am very accustomed to riding cutting horses, just not in a cutting setting. I have owned several, and trained several into other disciplines. I've just never used a cutter for their original purpose LOL! But I do like the idea of going and taking a lesson on the trainer's cutter. I hadn't thought of that. I will look into doing that first!

      There's several local shows here in December - I am actually planning to attend at least one to get a feel for the scene and see if I can talk to riders for trainer recommendations (or 'bewares'), and anything else I can learn! One of our clubs is offering a "Beginner Cutter" class that is meant specifically for cross-over riders & horses. The first one was this month, and it caught my eye! Unfortunately the first one isn't until Dec 14th so my impatience and excitement brought me to here! I will start calling trainers and hopefully getting an idea of pricing at the very least for lessons on their own horse.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Chaos05 View Post


        Thank you! I should say that both the horse and I have been retired from barrel racing for over 5 years, and do not 'appear' to be barrel racers (we never did fit in to that crowd to begin with). But I was hoping the more we did sorting, the more we might have an ability to cut. I liked RC because 'boxing' has been my favorite thing to do, as I box at home a little bit for fun and see my horse love it in a way that's new to see!

        I am very accustomed to riding cutting horses, just not in a cutting setting. I have owned several, and trained several into other disciplines. I've just never used a cutter for their original purpose LOL! But I do like the idea of going and taking a lesson on the trainer's cutter. I hadn't thought of that. I will look into doing that first!

        There's several local shows here in December - I am actually planning to attend at least one to get a feel for the scene and see if I can talk to riders for trainer recommendations (or 'bewares'), and anything else I can learn! One of our clubs is offering a "Beginner Cutter" class that is meant specifically for cross-over riders & horses. The first one was this month, and it caught my eye! Unfortunately the first one isn't until Dec 14th so my impatience and excitement brought me to here! I will start calling trainers and hopefully getting an idea of pricing at the very least for lessons on their own horse.
        Sounds like you have a good plan going.

        That beginner class seems made to order for your situation.
        Then it should be easier to decide where to go from there.

        I think they have boxing classes at shows you could try, not depending on participating in other classes, just sign up for boxing to get started, since you are already familiar with that?

        Comment


        • #5
          OP, COTH is heavily an English discipline board, and I can't, off the top of my head, think of a poster in your area who can point you in the right direction. The Western section is kinda sparse. Two suggestions - go over to Off Course and do a quick post asking for Western trainer recommendations in your area. There may be some English riders who know of someone. Second, go to a show and look around and talk to people. And yes, you can be very successful as a haul-in. That's been my MO for many years, first as an amateur in a high density hunter/jumper area, and now doing ranch in a quickly developing location. I've had my horses at home for two decades and can't begin to count the tricolors and year end awards. It's what YOU put into it, not where you ride on a daily basis.
          "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

          Comment


          • #6
            There are tons of reined cowhorse in AZ. It is extremely competitive. There are several trainers in the area as well. BradBarkemeyer is in Scottsdale. Grant Linderman, Shadd Parkinson and the great Corey Cushing are there. Go to some shows and talk to people, the reined cowhorse people are some of the friendliest, passionate people I have come across. https://azrcha.com/index.htm. Good luck!

            Comment


            • #7
              Think you would do better and get more bang for your buck seeking out a more general Western trainer rather then a WCH/ Reining specialist BNT in that field..

              Many good Western trainers can help you learn the basics and teach the horse or even put you on one of theirs that knows the skills, even if not a big name,

              Some take haul ins and they are not going to charge what a BN Reiner will. You need basics right now, not polished perfection from a specialist that can run close to100 bucks a session if you add hauling costs and fees. Just like top HJ and Dressage costs.

              Check the QH barns, not just the Reining trainer facilities. Might even check the mixed discipline and breed barns, lots of them can turn out a pretty good reined horse and rider pair if not superstar level performers.
              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

              Comment


              • #8
                There are a ton of Reining and RCH trainers in Arizona. I don't know many cutting trainers in Scottsdale.
                Only two emotions belong in the saddle: One is a sense of humor. The other is patience.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi OP: Maybe try posting on the FB group, "Arizona Horse Network", and see if you can get any answers there. Lots of posters and very well connected ones. You can probably get the questions answered via PM on trainers, and maybe just general information on how this might work for you. Good luck!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    OP, you can find someone, but those top-tier trainers maybe wouldn't be the best fit right off the bat -- they have very limited time and thus have a cost to match, and you and your horse might be better served elsewhere while you're acquiring the foundational learning of cow work. You can always work up to them as you gain skill.

                    The style and requirements for cutting might possibly be a little too much of a challenge for your horse at this stage in his life, but RCH - especially the boxing class - would be awesome. Also, ranch events (versatility ranch horse) would probably fit you and your horse very well, considering you're apparently currently doing it, and there's a good circuit in Arizona (look up National Ranch and Stock Horse Alliance/Western States VRH Association and Arizona VRHA). Cow horse and ranch people are very welcoming and I bet you'd fit right in.

                    I'll PM you a trainer recommendation in north Phoenix that might be a good fit for you.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post
                      OP, COTH is heavily an English discipline board, and I can't, off the top of my head, think of a poster in your area who can point you in the right direction. The Western section is kinda sparse. Two suggestions - go over to Off Course and do a quick post asking for Western trainer recommendations in your area. There may be some English riders who know of someone. Second, go to a show and look around and talk to people. And yes, you can be very successful as a haul-in. That's been my MO for many years, first as an amateur in a high density hunter/jumper area, and now doing ranch in a quickly developing location. I've had my horses at home for two decades and can't begin to count the tricolors and year end awards. It's what YOU put into it, not where you ride on a daily basis.
                      Thank you! I came over here from MHF/HGS when it went poof - I was there for gosh, I want to say a decade or close to it? I've been pretty sad without it and while COTH works, it isn't quite the same . I'm headed to a show on the 14th to chat with people and watch!

                      kelo - Thank you! I'm not looking for top tier, but it's honestly hard to tell who is BNT and who is more suitable for me (I know the names listed by snotnnotfarm are BNT, or appear that way from their websites). Thank you for the advice regarding cutting vs RCH too! I do feel intimidated about cutting or our ability, so that may be a fantasy to save for another horse one day - I have a cow-eating 2020 foal on the way so maybe there. I saw the versatility clubs and saw those look right up our alley. We've shown ranch classes before at small, local saddle clubs (no cow classes though). After doing more research after posting here, it seems like RCH / Versatility and similar events are plentiful here in AZ and would be a fun thing to do before I go home for the summer! Oh - the trainer you PM'd me about is only 20 minutes from me so I'm calling tomorrow!

                      As a general update - I spoke with my sorting trainer some, who says about the same as Kelo. Believes my horse is a hint too forward on a cow for cutting, partially from previous training and partially from sorting haha. But they thought that RCH and ranch/versatility classes would be an easy transition with minimal effort. Thank you everyone who has responded with advice! I will update a bit on how things turn out, in case anybody is interested

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sounds like you are on your way! I'm a bit jealous; being on the East Coast there is very limited access to cows, so we don't get to do all the fun stuff very often.
                        "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          call Ashley Wilson-Hammer, I have known her since she was in high school, she helped her dad train our Morgan... she is in Scottsdale . Ashley will be a good source

                          Ashleysbarn Equine Performance

                          https://www.facebook.com/ashleysbarn/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post
                            Sounds like you are on your way! I'm a bit jealous; being on the East Coast there is very limited access to cows, so we don't get to do all the fun stuff very often.
                            How far are you from TN? There is TONS!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Most of those BNT in the Scottsdale area offer clinics or have assistant trainers that could help also. Look into that. Send them an email. I know Corey would point you in the right direction.
                              Only two emotions belong in the saddle: One is a sense of humor. The other is patience.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by spotnnotfarm View Post

                                How far are you from TN? There is TONS!
                                At least 500 miles!! Have always wanted to visit Nashville and intend to do so in a couple years.
                                "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

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