New Mexico Cutting Horse Association, a National Cutting Horse Association affiliate, never fails at providing a great cutting competition. Show producer Les Bates brings out the “Best in Cutting”. His hard work and dedication to the Cutting Horse Industry is an inspiration to all! This year our stop was in Ignacio, Colorado at the Sky Ute Fairgrounds. Competitors from California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado and Texas have traveled to compete for money and prizes in the Caught in the Crossfire Circuit.
This morning the show starts at 7 AM, the temperature is a dry 54 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a sunny and beautiful morning. Upon arrival we see some entertaining signs! Ahead of us is a parking area full of RVs, trailers and buses setup for camp cooking and visiting after the show. Around the bend, horses are tied to trailers getting groomed and saddled for their day of work. Past the first stall barn is a race track with riders out warming up horses. Not sure if races are held here but what a great place to warm up and exercise! In the middle of the track is another area to warm up and a flag set up for flag works. Next to the competition arena is an Equine Spa set up to treat the Equine Athletes! The competition arena is an indoor arena with bleachers, concession and restrooms, great for the spectators. Who do we see that has a booth setup inside? Jennifer Palmer with Elite Bemer Associates & Calvin Allen Saddlery.
Show secretary Cheryl Callis calls the draw for the first class. In true Western sports fashion, before the show starts there is prayer and United States of America Pledge of Allegiance. Now the day has officially started. Many times it has been said sitting at a cutting is like watching paint dry, NOT the case with NMCHA shows. This affiliate has a structure that keeps the show moving and has a lot of fun. This was a tough competition, the cattle were good and so were the horses. Check out a few of the great Equine Athletes in our playlist (click here) compliments of NCHA videographer Sophie Feger.
NCHA Executive Director Kirk Slaughter was there and got a first-hand look at how great this NCHA format works. The comradery is great, everyone is friendly, supportive and helpful. Throughout this circuit there are added activities in the evenings scheduled. Announced during our visit was the after show activities to be held during the circuit which included the Loper Olympics, Turnback Olympics and a NMCHA dinner & dance.
The “Olympic” events were fundraiser events created not for the NMCHA but for a local animal shelter. A Loper’s job is a combination of care taker, groom, exercise/warm up rider, tack master, etc. of the horses. This event was an exhibition race of a typical show day that a Loper experiences; wrong saddle on a horse, wrong bridle on a horse, polo wrapping legs, etc.
A 2 person team (must be a loper) has a saddle, 20 bridles, a saddled horse and set of polo wraps. One loper has a saddle and 20 bridles at one end of the arena, at the other end is the second loper holding the saddled horse and 4 polo wraps. The objective is the loper with the saddle and 20 bridles must deliver all the equipment to the second loper standing across the arena, together they must swap the saddles and correctly polo wrap all four legs of the horse then take the horse and hand carry all the equipment back across the arena. Time ends when all four of the horses legs are unwrapped. The teams were cleverly announced by Roper Curtiss and Kirk Slaughter was chosen to countdown the start. Everyone did a great job! The Loper Olympics video in our playlist (click here). The best part was the winning team’s time was 2 minutes and 30 seconds which is the same amount of time an exhibitor has to show their cutting horse. Hats off to the Lopers and all their hard work taking care of the Equine Athletes!
I am very grateful to have been a part of such a great event. There is a still time for you to experience a NMCHA show so pack your bags, load your horses and hit the road 😊
Caught in the Crossfire Circuit 2 at Sky Ute Fairgrounds in Ignacio, Colorado July 17-20, 2019
NMCHA at the Phoenix at Phoenix Ranch in Watrous, New Mexico July 24-28, 2019
NMCHA at the Phoenix at Phoenix Ranch in Watrous, New Mexico August 30-September 2, 2019
Kenny Paul Memorial at Rocking Horse Arena in Moriarty, New Mexico September 26-29, 2019
For more show details visit the National Cutting Horse Association website