Cutting outside the pen

In the many years that I have been frequenting cutting horse shows, the one thing that warms my heart is the memory of meeting some colourful characters. Cutting attracts people from all walks of life, particularly at the weekend show events. People with different views on life and opinions on what is good for cutting. Nothing wrong with voicing an opinion and something that requires encouragement rather than hinderance. Over the years I have forged a special friendship with one Al Hunter, always willing to pass on his wisdom and experience. The following is an account of Al’s journey to this years Futurity and beyond. I am grateful for Allans contribution. I hope you enjoy.

Cutting outside the pen

I started this post in May on my way to 2019 futurity. I was on a promise to visit the Alice Springs Beanie Festival with the boss, but only if I could watch the futurity go rounds. Deal done we were on our way.

As things go we left late and stayed overnight at a pub stay at Drake a little outpost between Casino and Tenterfield in Northern New South Wales.

If you are a caravan traveller pub stays are interesting, usually a free stay or small fee plus a pub meal equals good value.

Belly up to the bar we are acquainted with a local who had had a few rums with a small beer chaser if you know what I mean. Old mate sizes us up and moves in, he has a good head of steam up and uses the ‘F’ word regularly.

Introduction made we talk the talk as the bar manager tries to get him to moderate his ‘F’s. Helen says “if you’re trying to impress me, I’ll have a red please and make it a good one “.

Not sure about his wine knowledge, but as it turns out old mate knew a bit about cutting in the early days.

Next day we arrived at Alec, it was mid afternoon and busy. It seemed that we missed the memo that the in gate had changed. Oh well nothing like showing off your reversing skills (or not. I can report that I was not the only one.

Settled in, we catch up with friends that you only see at futurity time. Up early the next day we check out the practice pens, than settle down to watch the days events. For sure the finals weekend is a buzz but for me I enjoy the futurity go rounds the first show for the 2015 foal drop a, 5 year plan of dreaming, breeding and training comes down to show time. For some it’s the journey, these are the few that sit in stands and watch every run. They are just your average Joe a little old in tooth just a tad slow to sometimes miss the in joke. Yep paid up member, owner, sometimes a non pro rider and breeder, they can be seen sitting in stands, cleaning stalls loping, or perhaps just being there.

They become experts cow pickers and judges, they ride every stop and can see the difference between a good run and a bad cow. They settle in for the big show, the finals, mark up thier sale catalogue, it’s a big weekend.

They read every post on Facebook, collect every draw and mark the scores

Many don’t own a horse, never walked across the timeline, But to my way of thinking they have skin in the game

When a wise man speaks

Between herd changes one of the Ncha initiatives has been to interview interesting people on things cutting, Ncha director Lorie Mackay’s interview with Mr Baillieu Myer of Yulgilbar, a living legend and long term supporter and sponsor of NCHA, was very memorable. Well when a wise man speaks you should listen.

As promised after the first week we continued our nomadic adventures. All accounts the 2nd week of 2019 futurity was successful, good numbers of visitors and great finals.  All the details can be found in your July/August chatta.

As for me and Helen, 9000KM, 7 weeks away seeing things like craft shops and wineries by the dozens. Google Alice Springs Beanie festival, yes there is such a thing and Helen and others make the journey every year, and yes they sell over 6500 Beanies.

And people think cutters are different.


What is your favorite NCHA Futurity moment? Join the conversation.