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National Reined Cow Horse Association Stakes Begins on Wednesday!
Scottsdale, Arizona - The National Reined Cow Horse Association's Stakes Show begins on Wednesday, March 24 in Scottsdale, Arizona, and unseasonably warm weather only adds to the anticipated sizzle of the annual event.
Both 4- and 5-year-old horses are shown at the Stakes - with four-year-olds presented in snaffle bits and 5-year-olds shown in hackamores. The event is also a showcase for the breeding programs of the reined cow horse world as all the entries are the get of NRCHA Subscribed Stallions. With a payout expected to exceed $200,000, the best of the 2003 futurity class will step up to the challenge of competition, so the stars of Reno will be shining at Westworld!
Also on tap for the week is the debut of the NRCHA's new Bridle Spectaculars. $10,000-added Non Pro and Open Bridle Spectacular events will be held at the National Reined Cow Horse Association Stakes, Hackamore Classic, and Derby in 2004. These events feature the same triathlon of herd, rein and cow work that make up limited age event competition and provide a place for horses of all ages to compete.
History of the NRCHA
The NRCHA World Championship Snaffle Bit Futurity celebrates its 31st anniversary this year, but the history of the unique working horse the futurity was created for, extends back hundreds of years. The ancestors of today's reined cow horse first came to the Americas with the Spanish conquistadors. By the time the Spanish missionaries were making their way into California in the 1700s, the vaqueros (cowboys) were well established in other parts of America and came with them into the most western state.
For almost 150 years, the California reined cow horse - the trusted partner of the vaquero - reined supreme. These finely trained horses worked the great herds of longhorn cattle driven from Mexico to California and performed the day-to-day chores on the vast cattle ranches. The California vaquero - among the finest horsemen of all time - developed the equipment, the riding styles and the training techniques that produced some of the best stock horses the world has ever seen.
Then came the Gold Rush! The sudden influx of newcomers into the Golden State changed the complexion of California and helped to bring about the breakup of the vast cattle ranches of earlier days. On the ranches that did remain, modern livestock management techniques and machinery eventually eliminated much of the need for a well-trained, versatile working horse.
By the early 1900s, the reined cow horse had gone from being a necessity to a luxury, and there was little activity to sustain the history or background of this fine animal. Most ranchers were involved in a grim battle to survive the Great Depression. This trend continued through World War Il; few people had the time to be concerned with the history, the horses and the training programs of "the old days."
Fortunately, all of that changed a few years after the war ended, when a small group of dedicated California horsemen and women decided something ought to be done to preserve the legacy of this magnificent working animal.