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A cutting horse senses his responsibility. You can see it when he enters the herd by quickening his cat-like steps, just as though he were walking on eggs. Staying far enough back to counter a cow’s every move, he shuffles, weaves and bobs, ducks, dodges, drops low with forelegs well apart, gathers up and steps sideways, head and turn back with the lightning quickness of a jackrabbit.
Now, imagine yourself in the saddle. Cutting horse competition, as promulgated by the National Cutting Horse Association, is an amazing sport that connects horse with rider in a unique and rewarding way. Like all equestrian sports, it requires a dedicated discipline of training for both horse and rider. Although the equipment is basic—the right saddle, tack and leg protection—the dress is Western, and the cowgirls (who rank among almost half NCHA membership) bring a style of their own.
COWGIRL takes a look at some of the equipment and trending styles you can expect to see in competitions around the country.
NCHA competitor McKenzie Parkinson in CR Ranchwear shirt, $159, crranchwear.com.
Assorted headstalls, contact for pricing, joey-jemison.com.
Kerry Kelley 65 Shank Bit with floral mounting and Al Dunning mouthpiece, $500, kerrykelleyspurs.com.
American 20X ivory & tan vent straw, $150, thecowlot.com.
Joey Jamison Basket corner stamp cutting saddle with Carlito Border, contact for pricing, joey-jemison.com.
Joey Jamison Shotgun Chaps, contact for pricing, joey-jemison.com.
Ariat Rich Brown Round Up Remuda Square Toe Cowgirl Boots, $159.95, sheplers.com.
Weaver single-ply heavy harness leather split reins, $79.95, ridethebrand.com.