Up, Up & Away!

Author: Alex Taft

Up, Up & Away!

All of us in the cutting industry have different dreams. One person may aspire to win the NCHA Futurity, while another might just be hoping to add their first cutter to their barn. But one goal that is shared throughout the whole community is the desire to build the sport. Growing the fan base, rider and horse numbers has been something plenty of focus has been on over the past several years.

Recently, there has been talk of the overall breeding numbers in the cutting industry being up. It would be difficult to gather exact data from the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), since they do not separate the breeding percentages by discipline. But a few managers from popular stallion stations have reported an increase in overall breedings to cutting stallions in the last few years.

"Koey" • Photo by Morgan Middleton
Several factors may have contributed to this increase, including adjustments to the reined cow horse industry. Not only did the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity move from Reno, Nevada, to cutting’s home in, Fort Worth, Texas, but breeders have seen cow horse riders really delve into the cutting stallion market.

“The cow horse market has changed over the last three or four years,” said Oswood Stallion Station Owner, Jeff Oswood. “They are utilizing more of the cutting studs. People are utilizing more of this market, and I think the market itself has been better over the last few years. The individual value is up.

“For the cow horse people, I think moving the Snaffle Bit [Futurity] here was a huge plus for the market,” Jeff continued. “I think it will increase all of the breeding numbers, and think the numbers will continue to inch up over the next 10 to 20 years.”

"Styx" & "Lorelei" • Photo by Morgan Middleton

Brazos Valley Stallion Station Co-Owner, Jeremy Barwick agreed and mentioned the versatility of the cutting stallions has even gone beyond the cow horse industry and into other markets, as well.

“For cow horse people, just like the reiners, they used to have very specific bloodlines,” Jeremy said. “Over the past five or six years, the cutters have basically taken over as far as the bloodlines go. Our bloodlines are so versatile, and you see a lot of those cow horse people riding some of our horses now, and also the reiners. Some of the horses that aren’t making it in the cutting have gone on to make good barrel racers, and the team penners buy them, too. We have a bit of an advantage over other disciplines, because other disciplines don’t have the variety of groups to buy their horses like we do. That gives cutters an advantage and gives an advantage to our breeders.”

Beyond the expansion of other industries into the cutting market, many cutters have started breeding their own horses for the first time.

“I do think there are more people, who never really bred, getting into breeding,” Jeremy said “They would show, and then they would sell their horses and get another one. You see more now that those people are ‘embyroing’ those mares and raising a few colts. I think there are definitely more people getting involved in the breeding, and a few breeders that have gotten a lot bigger.”

"Lorelei" • Photo by Morgan Middleton

Of course, we can’t forget about some of the hot, new breeding stallions who have undoubtedly contributed to the rising overall numbers. Some young cutting studs like Hottish, Metallic Rebel and Hashtags have taken off in their first years in the breeding market, and some of the new players have helped expand the bloodlines in the cutting industry even more.

“We have a lot of new studs that are in their first couple years of breeding, and they may be breeding 200 plus mares,” Jeremy said. “I think some of those numbers will continue to grow.” 

It’s great to see the industry expanding and building, and we appreciate the input from respected breeding managers like Jeff Oswood and Jeremy Barwick, who help make this growth possible!

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