As I walked out of the Modern Art Museum of Ft Worth after viewing Susan Rothenberg's show 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 raised this piqued my curiosity and I went to investigate.
I soon found out a cutting horse competition was at the Will Roger's Coliseum. With my camera in hand, I sallied forth.
I had never seen cutting horses in action, their dexterity and speed was surprising. I started photographing the action, but being new to the event, it took me awhile to catch on and get my rhythm in synch with theirs, but once I did, the experience was breathtaking for me.
For two and a half minutes in the middle of the arena, a chess game is played between the horse and calf each attacking and counter attacking trying to figure out the weakness of the other and anticipating their opponent's next move.
The rider selects a calf to cut out of the herd they then drop the reins and the horse takes over.
For those two and a half minutes, the action is very concentrated. During this short period, they will work with multiple calves. The horse and rider score points based on how well they do in keeping the calves from getting back to the herd. In most cases, the calf is just as determined to get back to his herd as the horse is from preventing that from happening. The way in which the horses have to anticipate the calves every move almost before the calves make a move is implausible The horses will start in one direction, just as suddenly stop, and go in the opposite direction in what seems like the blink of an eye.
My goal in this series is to show the raw power of these magnificent animals with all their intensity and beauty to people, who like me a couple of years ago, have never observed them in action.
I acknowledge the trainers and riders are essential to the success of a cutting horse, but I am concentrating on the horse's actions only and only from an artist's interpretation of a cutting horse.
While people that are more knowledgeable in cutting than I am may see mistakes or faults in these photographs, my only intention as stated is to show the beauty of the cutting horse in action.
I have now been to over twenty cutting horse events across Texas, and every time I witness, these animals compete I am still amazed by their beauty and sheer athleticism.