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Show Type Terminology

While Cutting competition is the same (horse, rider, cows, 2.5 minutes) - the classes in which they compete are different. Some classes are based on the horse and its earnings, while some are based on the rider and their classification & earnings.  Further more, some classes are based on both horse age AND rider classifications / earnings.

When discussing NCHA cutting shows, you'll hear usually hear them referred to as either a "Weekend Event" or an "Aged Event".

Limited Age Events (also called "Aged Events")

Aged Events place a restriction on the AGE of horse on which a rider can compete.   

  1. Futurity classes are for 3 year-old horses
  2. Derby classes are for 4 year-old horses
  3. Classic classes are for 5/6 year-old horses

Usually, these 3 age groups are broken into 3 rider groups: Open / Non-Professional / Amateur.  From there, those rider groups are broken down into earnings categories like Intermediate or Limited based on rider earnings.  Most Aged Events offer a dizzying combination of horse / rider combinations and each show is different.  It behooves a rider to make sure they know their eligibility.  

The biggest and most lucrative Aged Events are the NCHA Produced Triple Crown Events

Championship / Weekend Shows

The words Championship and Weekend shows are usually used interchangeably and are focused more on a rider’s ability in mind, regardless of the horses age.  Results from classes at approved Weekend shows are tracked for year-end World Standings and National Circuit Program standings.  Riders past earnings help to classify their riding ability.

Horse Classes

  1. Open - open to any horse with any rider regardless of either's earnings.
  2. $25,000 Novice Horse - open to horses with less than $25,000 in earnings regardless of rider earnings.
  3. $25,000 Novice Horse Non Pro - open to Non-Professional riders on an owned horse that has earned less than $25,000 in earnings.
  4. $5,000 Novice Horse - open to horses with less than $5,000 in earnings regardless of rider earnings.
  5. $5,000 Novice Horse Non Pro - open to Non-Professional riders on an owned horse that has earned less than $5,000 in earnings.

Rider Classes

  1. Non-Pro - open to Non-Professionals on any owned horse regardless of either's earnings.
  2. $35,000 Non-Pro - open to Non-Professional riders on any owned horse who have earned less than $35,000 as a rider.
  3. $50,000 Amateur - open to Amateur riders on any owned horse who have earned less than $50,000 as a rider.
  4. $15,000 Amateur - open to Amateur riders on any owned horse who have earned less than $15,000 as a rider.
  5. $2,000 Limited Rider - open to riders that have earned less than $2,000 on any horse.
  6. Senior Youth
  7. Junior Youth