1. Rise Before The Sun (and the Heat)
For cutters, it is imperative that you beat the heat to the barn. When cattle get hot, they usually get harder to work, which adds a whole lot of time and frustration to your relaxing morning at the barn. Not only that, but it is a lot more difficult for your horse to recover in the heat of the day than in the cool, wee hours of the morning. Basically, between the hours of 4am and 7am, the practice pen at every cutting looks like a scene out of The Walking Dead: just a bunch of tired zombies in spurs, getting the job done.
2. Leather Doesn’t Breathe
Something unique to the western equine world and required for cutters is the use of traditional chaps when we compete. Of course, in the blazing summer months when our legs are already sealed to our jeans with sweat, wrapping them up in heavy leather blankets isn’t the most comfortable thing we can think of doing. It’s a little hard to ride your horse when it feels like your legs are slowly melting into your boots, but the feeling of ripping those chaps off when you’re done showing is, like, top 5 most relieving moments of your life.
3. Cows are Enemy #1
You know that shirt in your closet that looks awesome on you but it’s really itchy? That’s the kind of love-hate relationship that cutters have with cows. Good cows are the reason people win cuttings, but when the cows are bad, they can be the reason that some of the best horses don’t get their time to shine in the finals. Every time you step to the herd, you’re gambling the rest of your run on the choices you make. We are basically all just channeling Aretha Franklin and hoping the cows have a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T for our horse.
4. Talking Dirty is Normal
Don’t let the title fool you – you will never meet anyone in your life who appreciates dirt more than a cutter. To be honest, I really don’t know if there is another group of people who exist that can stand around and talk about dirt, and not a single person questions it.
5. Don’t Be Caught Dead In Yellow
I know, I know, but we are a very superstitious group. Not only is showing up to a cutting in a yellow shirt bad luck, it’s social suicide.
6. Don’t Put a Hat on the Bed
Ok, this is another superstition, but why risk it? You never put your cowboy hat on the bed. It’s bad luck, bad juju, bad energy, all of the bads. Just don’t do it, ok?
7. Cutters Make Great Cheerleaders
Never been to a cutting? You’re in for a treat! Get ready for a mix of unexplainable, shrill noises and a lot of non-rhythmic hand clapping. That noise that your mouth involuntarily releases when you see a snake or walk through a spider web? That’s kind of what cheering at a cutting sounds like. YEE!
8. Soft Hands are a Myth
Not for us. Years of bridle reins, lead ropes, and saddle horns have diminished any possibility that we will gently caress anything, ever. Our palms are calloused and our blisters have blisters. Need to sand down a barstool to repaint it? Just ask a cutter to come rub their hands on it for 10 or 15 minutes and you’ll be ready for a new paint job! None of us can figure out how girls put on panty hose without putting runs in them due to bristly palms.
9. Never Let Someone Else Wrap Your Horse’s Legs
No one will do it the way we like it. They will be too tight or too loose or they don’t come to a perfect V in front or the Velcro isn’t straight or they didn’t tape them or literally any reason in the world, are just a few examples of what we will use as an excuse to never let another person touch our horse with Polo Wraps. Also, we will pretend like we aren’t anal about it. We are. And if we do let someone else wrap their legs, we are definitely going to take the wraps off and re-do them as soon as we are alone.
10. You Can’t Put a Price on a Good Turn Back Horse
The true heroes of the cutting horse industry are the turn back horses. They are an integral part of the sport and they work longer hours than anyone. They have different riders all day long, they battle bad cows and they are probably the practice horse for all of your beginner or limited riders. They are definitely the first horse that you let your kids ride (and inevitably fall in love with) and they have to put up with all of the extra things we throw at them, like barrel races, ropings, grand entries, carrying the flag and more. They might not be bringing home the paychecks, but they certainly put in their time, and for that, we love them.