The Double HH Ranch
We are a full-service facility with a sixteen stall barn (four with outside runs), a fully covered 300x130 arena with a fiberglass “cutting critter”, a 140x140 outdoor cutting pen with a handheld “pro cutter” mechanical cow, freestyle walker, breaking pens, and fresh cattle and buffalo all year round.
At the Double HH Ranch, honesty and integrity are foremost in our business dealings,; we truly cater to the non-pro and amateur riders. It’s all about you and your horse having fun and learning the fundamentals through advanced riding in an enjoyable atmosphere. We are devoted to helping non-pros and amateurs enjoy the sports of cutting reined cow horses as well as the well-being of our equine partners. We select the shows that fit you and your horse - it’s not about our wins and earnings. We taylor our program to fit you and your horse at your level.
THE SPORT OF CUTTING
The sport originated from cattle ranches in the American West where it was the horse’s job to separate cattle from the herd for vaccinating, castrating, and sorting. Eventually competitions arose between dances in the area. Rules were added, and in 1946 the NCHA (National Cutting Horse Association) was formed.
A cutting horse is an athletic animal that is trained to instinctively keep a cow from retuning to the herd. In the event the horse and rider select (cut) a cow out of a small group (herd). The rider loosens the reins (puts his hands down) and leaves it entirely to the horse to keep the cow separated from the herd as the cow tries to return to the herd. A contestant has 2 ½ minutes to show the horse. Typically, three cows are cut during a run, although working only one cow is acceptable. A judge or judges award points to the cutter based on a scale that ranges from 60-80. A score of 70 is considered average.
REINED COW HORSES
The original training methods of the spanish vaquero have survived unchanged through the formation of the National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA). The traditional Vaquero training program included numerous phases, spanning several years before a horse was considered “finished” and capable of performing to standard the various maneuvers required on ranches, roundups, and cattle drives.
To start, the snaffle bit is introduced to the young horse. It’s purpose is to allow two and three year old horses to beguiled through training without undue pressure on the tongue, roof, or sensitive bars of the mouth. In skilled hands, the snaffle works on the corners of the horses’s lips, providing gently guidance to position the head, to stop, and to turn. At the end of a year, a young horse should be able to perform, at speed, all moves necessary for good cow work. This is possible because of a slow start and schooling taken step by step without pain or fright associated with the training.
To test the horses cow working abilities, there year old horses compete in three events: her work (cutting a single steer from a small herd and keeping it from returning to the herd), rein work (a pattern of figure 8’s, straight runs, lead changes, sliding stops, and spins), and cow work (working a single steer “down the fence” . controlling it’s movements at a dead run, heading it off and turning it both ways along the fence, then bringing the steer to the center of the arena to circle it once in each direction).
As four and five year old horses’ mouths change, they progress from the snaffle to the rawhide or leather covered hackamore to give the mouth a rest. Horses learn to work of pressure and release from the nose of the hackamore. As five and six year olds, horses are introduced to a leverage bit by two-reinign them (leverage bit with a hackamore/bosal) and then progress into the leverage bit.