JOHN DE GROOTE
Stephens Media Hawaii
Horse enthusiasts from around the state gathered Saturday at Anderson’s Arena in Waimea to participate in the Big Island Cow Horse Championship.
Nearly 35 riders and over 70 horses competed in the futurity, maturity, super horse, reining and cutting events.
The events are meant to test the horses cow sense and herding ability, emphasizing on the bond between rider and horse.
“You have to be very trusting of your horse,” said Hawaii Island Cutting Horse Association vice president Carol Spierling. “As competitors become even more proficient at this, the goal is to have your hand down and not show any visible queue of what you are doing and really let the horse do the work.”
The Hawaii Island Cutting Horse Association was founded in 1998 and hosts monthly cutting and reining events for youth and adults, culminating with the weekend’s championship event.
Horse cutting started in the 1800’s within the ranching community. There were always natural reasons for cowboys to separate particular cattle from the pack like vaccinating, castrating and sorting. Eventually, a competition arose between the best cutting horses and riders.
In cutting events, riders and horses are judged on their ability to separate a single animal away from the herd. Horses have to respond quickly, turning sharply and mirroring the movements of the cattle. However, the art of cutting is selecting a cattle that will face the horse and challenge or play with it, rather than run.
“Cattle are herd animals,” Spierling said. “They want to stay in a herd and riders goal is to keep them away from it.”
The horse and rider have 2 minutes and 30 second to complete their work. Each rider begins with 70 points and a judge awards or subtracts points to the cutter based on a scale that can range from 60 to 80. A loose rein is one of the keys to a highly marked performance.
The total scores from the three events — herd, reign and fence work — are added together to from an overall combined score.
Rod Kelley — a National Cutting Horse Association approved judge from Millsap, Texas — was flown in for the event. Kelley has judged events all over the globe, but was enjoying himself in the rainy Kamuela weather.
“Of course, in Texas you are talking about the major leagues of events like this,” Kelley said. “There it is really the cream of the crop with a lot more horses to go through. But everywhere I go it is really the same thing of people coming together for the love of the sport, just on a smaller scale.”
The event continues through today at Anderson’s Arena and full results will run when made available.
1. Josie Cat/Herman Holland
2. Dualin Brooksi/Allen Mendes
3. Lil Mans Richochet/Julian Mautz
4. Shesa Jewel Cat/Kerry Schumann
5. Stylish N Quick/Kerry Schumann
Cutting: Adult Green as Grass
1. Misters Lil Laura/Kimi Greig Nagatoshi
2. Nevada Poquita Mas/Kathryn Cross
3. Aleana pep/Peter Fuller
4. Fayalena Doc/Elizabeth Hamilton
5. Win N Mister/Paulette Gose
Cutting: Non-pro Division
1. Dualin Brooksi/Allen Mendes
2. Nu Cash uno/Heidi Clayton
3. Lil Mans CD/Alex Penovaroff
4. Stylish N Quick/Kerry Schuman
5. Just Plain Magic/Lilia Kupuniai
6. Josie Cat/Claren Kealoha-Beaudet
7. Shesa Jewel Cat/Kerry Schuman
Cutting: Open Youth
1. Lil Man Richochet/Julian Mautz
2. Fletches Dual Lena/Ikena Nakoa
1. Docs Montana Duster/Brenden Valenzuela
2. Nu Cash Uno/Heidi Clayton
3. Mister Kassuth/Karoll Penovaroff
4. Mister Don Luzada/Not available
5. Fletch’s Dual Lena/Kiyo Nakoa
6. LM Four Wheel Drive/Carol Spierling
Two Handed Herdwork: Open
1. Redman Moon/Charles Stevens
2. Da Nu Colonel/Laakea Vicar
Snaffle Bit Futurity
1. Peptos Oak Smart/Phil Selby
Snaffle Bit Maturity
1. Redman Moon/Charles Stevens
2. 2. JE Remys Hi Majic/Kalai Nobriga