Training & Showing the Cutting Horse
If you've ever been fascinated watching cutting competition where the horse seems to enjoy working cows so much the rider needs to only sit and follow the hoses's moves, Training & Showing the Cutting Horse by Lynn Campion is a book you should read. Campion's book serves as a good introduction to the realities of cutting.
Cutting competition is not for the rider with shallow pockets. Besides a horse and tack, cutting requires access to cattle, pens, and helpers. While certain aspects of basic training can be practiced alone with one cow, anything more advanced quickly multiplies the complexity of the process.
Campion describes the process from training through competition, from introducing a young horse to the cattle he will be working through the psychology and tricks of competition.
In cutting, perhaps more than in any other equine activity, the rider is judged on how little he appears to interfere with the work of his horse. But the horse's interaction with the cow is not natural. It must be learned.
Although cutting grew out of ranch work, current competition has evolved into a much more structured activity. Campion's book provides information on organizations, shows, and trainers and offers advice on what kind of questions to ask.
The cutting rider needs to know how to read cattle as well as how to ride a horse. The cow he chooses to cut will, in part, affect the way his horse performs and how he is judged.
The author adds other cautions. Campion advises the reader not to push a young horse too much. The pressure of competition has led too many people to start horses before they are physically and psychologically ready. Many also expect too much too soon in the training process.
While this book is a good introduction to cutting, one should not depend on it for advice on how to treat a horse. Among other things, Campion advises testing to see if a horse will stay in position on a cow by asking it to move forward. If it obeys, spur it back into position. A horse should never be punished for doing what it is asked to do.