THE cream of cutting talent has descended on Tamworth to compete in the jewel in the cutting crown – the National Cutting Horse Association Imax Gold Tamarang Futurity.
The 41st instalment gets underway at the Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre (AELEC) today and is shaping to be its biggest, with entries topping 700.
Among those is Loomberah’s Peter Shumack.
Shumack’s involvement however won’t be limited to just competing.
He’s also the NCHA president although most of his work, he said, is done before the event.
“It’s just trying to make sure everything is ready for when the contestants arrive,” he said. “Being a contestant, I understand what we need to put on a good show.”
A farrier by trade, Shumack has been cutting for around 30 years.
“I came through the western pleasure ranks as a youth rider,” he said.
His interest in cutting was piqued when he saw Doc’s Spinifex show as a futurity horse.
“It’s a challenge working with a horse with an inherent cow sense to create a horse that can work with cattle with very minimum guidance,” he said.
He’ll be showing two horses – one in the non-pro derby and one in the non-pro classic.
In the derby he’s got Fancy Lil Kitten and will be hoping she shows better than she did last year.
For the classic, he’ll be on Time’s Up.
“He only arrived from America four weeks before the event last year and was reserve champion in the non-pro classic,” Shumack said.
“He’s won three classics since then.”
Todd Graham – cutting’s million dollar man – will also show Time’s Up in the open classic.
The stallion will also feature in “Stallion Alley” as it is being called – a designated area where interested breeders can inspect some of the “NCHA’s elite stallions”.
With his president’s hat on, Shumack is excited about the fortnight ahead.
“Obviously the best of the best will be here,” he said.
“The thing about the Futurity is the unknown.
“Two years of preparation and it’s not until you get here and start showing that the cream rises to the top.”
In contrast to him, Zanni Randell has had a long journey to Tamworth – making the trip up from Benalla in Victoria.
She’s up here with trainer- husband Troy and will be in for a busy two weeks, helping Troy prepare the 11 horses he’s got in.
“We’ve probably got three or four horses competing every day for the first week and then two after that,” she said.
He has three in the feature futurity, the best chance of which is probably MC One Stylish Cat.
“She’s a really nice mare,” Zanni said.
“It’s just a matter of what happens out there on the day.”
She’ll also compete in the non-pro classic where she will go head to head with good friend Lara McEachern (Tumbarumba).
They joked they don’t mind who wins as long as they go one and two.
It will be only McEachern’s second Futurity and she’ll also ride Again A Ray in the Gold Cup.