My good friends Leon and Alexandria Harrel have started a new program at their Springtown, Texas Leon Harrel Training Center ranch which I think is fantastic. It’s called “Show Cutters for Kids”.
Some excerpts their website describing it:
“The week before Christmas 2012, Jane Tomczak and three of the eldest girls in her Challenge Ranch program flew to Ft. Worth, Texas to be our guests for four days. We were about to introduce them to cutting horses for the very first time in their lives. Aside from the video I sent them, they had never seen such a spectacle of flying dirt and hooves before.
“From the moment Jane and the girls saw the Christmas lights coming up the drive at midnight, they suspected the next few days would be unlike any they’d ever known. The girl’s riding background was entirely english and under Jane’s keen and loving eye, their horsemanship was exceptional. The 14 and 15 year olds had never set foot in Texas and had only a week prior spent an afternoon being introduced to a western saddle and some basic neck reining by John Van Aken, their beloved ranch farrier.
“On the first day it’s all about getting the hang of western gear on new horses, combined with brand new horsemanship skills and preliminary flagwork. First thing’s first, stirrups and reins. It looks so easy in the video. A bit of struggling with that, feels so horribly unnatural. There are frequent collisions between horns and bellies every time they shift in the enormous saddle looking for a comfortable spot. In spite of excellent horsemanship skills, the foundational differences in both the girls’ and the horses’ training programs are obvious – at first.
“It’s not as easy as it looks! Cutting is very humbling that way. A well tuned horse can make anyone look good for a few calves, but after that, the work starts. The more horses you ride the steeper your learning curve. It’s a fact. It’s a painful process for some, but for those who embrace it, the doors of insight, feel and timing swing wide open. In this game, glimpses of paradise are offered fleetingly. Just enough to entice one to desire more. Then it’s up to the rider to choose between a frustrating path of hit or miss performance and a firm commitment to excel at something that requires the discipline of a serious artist in order to be anything other than mediocre.
“Kelly, Bree and Sarah worked diligently to overcome their obstacles in a new environment and did a fabulous job. For children with limited financial resources, they proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that money can’t buy “try”. Their attitude and efforts put their performance ahead of regular cutters overnight and the results were undeniable. So many folks just want to write a check and show up without investing the hard work and focus necessary to succeed. They blame their trainers and their horses, when in reality they believe the hard work they’ve already put in – which enables them to write a check – is all they owe to their dream.
“We rarely get to see the brightest and most talented in our sports arenas because the money factor prohibits so much talent from ever competing at the top levels. We are a nation resplendent with extraordinary children who lack financial privileges and advantages and who are almost entirely dependent on the kindness and generosity of strangers in order to pursue their dreams of greatness.
“Our part in this story is simple. Showcutters For Kids (SFK) is a privately run independent incentive program. SKF is an exciting equine team working adventure that offers 3 fun and highly focused days of personal training for three children at a time.
“It’s being offered as an incentive to strive for higher academic goals and to encourage positive modification of dysfunctional social behaviors in children from underprivileged homes, group homes and foster homes.
“Our goal is to keep children on track in times of adversity and encourage them to succeed in overcoming their obstacles.”
If you have problems seeing the video below click HERE.