Cutting Horses - The Ulitmate Equine Athletes

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  • Cutting Horses - The Ultimate Equine Athletes
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  •  As I walked out ofthe  Modern Art Museum of  Ft Worth after viewing Susan Rothenberg'sshow of horse paintings a couple of Decembers ago I looked across the street and saw a parking lot full horse trailers of different sizes,shapes and colors.  Being ranch raisedthis piqued my curiosity and I went to investigate.
    I soon found out a cuttinghorse competition was at the Will Roger's Coliseum.  With my camera in hand, I sallied forth.
    I had never seen cuttinghorses in action, their dexterity and speed was surprising.  I started photographing the action, but beingnew to the event, it took me awhile to catch on and get my rhythm in synch withtheirs, but once I did, the experience was breathtaking for me.
    For two and a half minutesin the middle of the arena, a chess game is played between the horse and calfeach attacking and counter attacking trying to figure out the weakness of theother and anticipating their opponent's next move.
    The rider selects a calfto cut out of the herd they then drop the reins and the horse takes over.
    For those two and a halfminutes, the action is very concentrated. During this short period, they will work with multiple calves.  The horse and rider score points based on howwell they do in keeping the calves from getting back to the herd.  In most cases, the calf is just as determinedto get back to his herd as the horse is from preventing that from happening.  The way in which the horses have toanticipate the calves every move almost before the calves make a move isimplausible   The horses will start inone direction, just as suddenly stop, and go in the opposite direction in whatseems like the blink of an eye.
    My goal in this series isto show the raw power of these magnificent animals with all their intensity andbeauty to people, who like me a couple of years ago, have never observed themin action.
     I acknowledge the trainers and riders areessential to the success of a cutting horse, but I am concentrating on thehorse's actions only and only from an artist's interpretation of a cuttinghorse.
    While people that are moreknowledgeable in cutting than I am may see mistakes or faults in thesephotographs, my only intention as stated is to show the beauty of the cuttinghorse in action.
    I have now been to overtwenty cutting horse events across Texas, and every time I witness, theseanimals compete