By Marlys Kruger
Colfax freshman Abby Suvada, representing the state of Wisconsin, placed 18th in a field of 45 competitors at the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) World Show in Oklahoma City where she competed in the Cutting Class this past August. Competition included riders from Spain, Italy, Mexico and several other countries as well as from all over the United States.
Abby has been riding horses as long as she could walk and started competing in several areas such as Gaming, Western Pleasure, Sorting, Team Penning and Trail Riding at age four, and Reining and Working Cowhorse at age six.
“I won a saddle when I was ten years old, then won a saddle and bridle in the Youth and Junior Youth classes in the North Central Reined Cowhorse Association competition,” she said. “I started competing in the Cutting class three years ago. This consists of entering an arena with a herd of youngstock on one side of the arena. There are four “turnback” people in the arena and in two minutes and 30 seconds, you need to ride into the herd, get one cow sorted out from the others and keep that cow from getting back to the rest of the herd. When that cow stops or turns away, you have completed a cut and you can go get another cow. The object is to get three cuts in the time alotted. It’s really important to choose the right type of cow. You want one that doesn’t run back and forth a lot,” she added.
Abby wasn’t aware she had qualified for the World Show until she was competing in the Working Western Celebration held in Cannon Falls, MN this past June. After winning the competition, someone from the organization approached her and told her he thought she had qualified, and it turned out he was right.
Having a horse experienced in cutting is essential for this type of competition. A horse must be athletic and possess cow sense, and must be able to respond quickly and turn sharply. Abby and her family traveled to Texas where their cowhorse trainer had moved, to look for a more finished cowhorse to compete on. They didn’t see anything they really cared for and after being shown a cutting horse, it was love at first sight, thus beginning her interest in that type of competition.
Abby plans on continuing to compete in several types of competition and hopes to make a return trip to the World Show next year. When she is not competing, she likes to start young horses or give tune-ups to the family horses. She also enjoys giving lessons to young kids.
“I will be preparing for a big competition coming up this January,” Abby said. “Working with horses is and always will be a big part of my life,” she added.