Among the pile of horse magazines in my “library” are publications covering stock horse events such as versatility ranch horse competitions, reined cow horse contests, and working equitation and trail horse shows and tests.
There is a veritable explosion of fun things to do with horses that perform useful functions.
Owing to the enormous growth and popularity of the quarter horse in the USA these venues are pretty much dominated by america’s horse.
There are however events open to all breeds which include other traditional western cow pony breeds such as Paints, Appaloosas, and Morgans for example.
In addition, we are now starting to see the emergence of older livestock handling breeds such as the Andalusian and Lusitano.
These are domestic horses from Spain and Portugal with centuries long histories as herding and livestock working horses. They also have histories in combat and even in the mounted bullfight known as the Rejoneo.
If you aren’t familiar with that sport, it is somewhat analogous to cutting, only with the bovine having a more adversarial role. The analogy with cutting horses reminds me of a definition I once heard for Bluegrass music, given by the great Banjo player Earl Scruggs.
It is folk music in fifth gear!
Well, if so, the Rejoneo is cutting in hyperspace!
The Andalusian and Lusitano have courage, cow sense, rideability, and trainability that is a wonder to experience.
Of course, I was raised with, and on, American Quarter horses, and I still ride, breed, and train them. Now I’ve added Lusitanos to our ranch string, along with PRE or Spanish andalusians, and, boy howdy, I’m fast becoming an enthusiast!
So keep you eyes open for the Lusitano stock horse!