Jenna Brantner, the 2018 Minnesota Cutting Horse Association $2,000 Limited Rider Champion and Minnesota State Fair winner, recently won a “shootout” for a saddle.
Brantner, a Chippewa Valley Technical College student from Menomonie, outscored 11 other riders that had qualified to compete in a cutting competition to win a saddle.
Brantner rode a 17-year-old registered Quarter Horse mare, Euphemia CD, owned by Mike and Mary Jo Lehmann of Menomonie and worked with three challenging cows.
Cutting is a Western equine event where the contestants works cattle, modeled after how ranchers originally separated cows or calves from the herd for branding or medical treatments.
In a cutting competition, the rider enters a herd of cattle and separates one cow from the herd and prevents it from returning to the herd, leaving the horse and rider to compete against the cow’s natural instinct to return to the herd.
The rider has two and a half minutes to show their horse’s ability to “work” cattle and is judged on style, degree of difficulty and specific judging guidelines for correctness. Scores ranges from 60 to 80, with 70 considered average.
Brantner scored a 75 in her win.
The MCHA Saddle Shootout competition was held Oct. 12 at the Minnesota Equestrian Center in Winona, Minnesota. Competitors came from Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin.
In the 1950s, ranchers would boast about who had the best working or “cutting” horse, leading to the start of organized cutting competitions. The National Cutting Horse Association was formed, and over the past 50 years has developed into a multi-million dollar industry with purses second only to the racing industry.
The saddles for the Oct. 12 event were donated by the Minnesota Cutting Horse Association and Bill Zaharia of Owatonna, Minnesota. More information on cutting events in the area can be found at www.mncuttinghorse.com.