Sat. Dec 2nd, 2023

Cutting fans from around the country are poised to descend on Tamworth once more as the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity gallops into town.

The NCHA says it is the “biggest and richest indoor sporting horse event in the Southern Hemisphere”, and the Futurity has gained huge popularity since its first inception at the Moonbi showgrounds 48 years ago. The 2023 event will be held from the 28th of May to the 11th of June at the Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre and promises once again to be a display of excellence in both human and horse ability.

This year’s event is expected to attract over 500 competitors across all categories and has an overall prize pool of over $700,000 in cash and prizes.

For those unfamiliar with cutting, it’s an equestrian competition based around a horse and riders’ ability to work together and use their athleticism and training to keep a cow from returning to the herd. This is a of course a highly simplified description of what is a highly nuanced discipline with many rules.

Leah Michelle has been managing the event’s social media this year and tells us that the event format remains much the same in 2023, with just a few added incentives.

“The main Futurity event is the same as previous years, with our 3-year-old horses all competing. But what we’re really excited about this year is how much bigger the Pinnacle event will be.”

Ms Michelle tells us that the Friday night Open Pinnacle has grown this year and is a display of the athleticism and expertise the older horses can bring to cutting discipline.

“We’ve got a great number of horses entered this category this year and they’re all at the absolute peak of their performance. It’s so amazing to see them come back and compete.”

Other side events on display over the show’s two-week timeframe include campdraft events, farrier challenges and working dog competitions.

Another high-drawcard event will be the Marsh Carney Sale. With some exceptional horses going to auction again this year, the Select Cutting Horse Sale is often a hotly contested auction.

To add an extra incentive this year to the competition, there are also four horses eligible for the Marsh Carney Yearling Incentive. This means that they were sold as yearlings back at the Futurity in 2020 and will now compete for the first time in the futurity. The highest scoring of these four horses will win an additional $10,000 in prize money.

For those wanting to attend the event as a spectator, all competition events are free to attend, however Ms Michelle tells us that they are in the process of potentially sourcing a local charity to support. This would be by means of a gold coin donation for entry to the Futurity Final on the 11th of June.

If you don’t want to miss any of the action, all events will once again be livestreamed. This way you can watch from the comfort of your home, or if you’d prefer to watch with a meal and a drink in hand, official event partner the Longyard Hotel will also be livestreaming the Futurity in their Sports Bar.

The Longyard Hotel will also be holding the official event after party from 8pm on the 11th of June.

The official program of events has now been released but Ms Michelle recommends keeping a close eye on the NCHA’s Facebook page for any changes.   The Facebook page also has a wealth of information and videos available about the sponsors, entrants, and prizes on offer so if you’re wanting to keep an eye on proceedings both before and during the event it’s definitely worth checking regularly.

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