Hello Friends and Family,

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Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, Part 4

As I sat eating lunch (Indian Fry Bread Taco — most excellent), an older gentleman sat down at the same table and we chatted. He mentioned that I might be interested in photographing the cutting competition. Not knowing what cutting is, I wandered toward the arena he pointed to, camera in hand. It turns out that cutting is an exhibition involving both a well-trained horse and rider, who try to separate a single animal from a herd of cattle and keep it separated for a short period of time. The horse has to instinctively react to the cow, which is smaller than the horse, and block its every attempt to rejoin the herd. I observed that it appeared that the horse did most of the work, the cowboy was pretty much along for the ride.

Not only were cowboys participating in the cutting competition but cowgirls too. They all did quite well — I only noticed one case where the cow was able to outsmart the horse and rider.

BTW, the same fellow who joined me for lunch also gave me a quote with regards to horse-lovers. He said something like, "Getting involved with horses will guarantee that you will outlive your money". As a retiree, I can appreciate the warning.

In a nearby arena, a few younger riders were practicing. This youngster really seem to be enjoying the ride. The horse probably appreciated having a lighter rider as well.

Another young rider approached and flashed a big smile. Love to see the kids enjoying an activity like this.

Moving on, I found a competitor walking her horse — the two appear to have done quite well in the competition — loaded down with numerous prizes.

In a covered arena, competitors were preparing for their next event. I cannot tell if she was meditating to get in the zone, sleepy or just experiencing the accidental timing of blinking at the precise moment when the shutter was open.

And here is the event that she was preparing for. In the main arena, this competition had the horses moving at various gaits — walk, trot, canter and gallop — as called out on the PA system.

The horses are judged according to accepted standards. I found these online.

    • Which horses are in compliance with tack and attire requirements for a given class?

    • Which execute all the required gaits when called for in a class, smoothly up in to and down out of them?

    • Which horses maintain consistency in the given gaits, both ways of the ring, this also means holding the correct gait through the corners?

    • Is a horse doing the required gait at all? Such as, is the horse doing a running walk or stepping pace, rack, etc.?

    • Is there a definite change of speed from walk to the called-for gait?

    • Has the horse reversed correctly for that given class such as English to the rail and western to the center?

    • Is the horse pleasant and mannerly in the ring? No pinned ears, wring of the tail, gapping of the mouth, an over-all glad-to-be-doing-its-job look?

    • Does a horse meet the requirement for a given class such as a trail-pleasure horse versus a plantation horse, English type versus western?

At the end of the competition, all the horses lined up as the winners were announced.

And the first place winner is...(sorry I did not catch their names).

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com