RENO, NV - 15-year-old Emma Lanning from Ellensburg, Washington has brought her horse Beau to Reno for the N-C-H-A Western National Championships.
A former barrel racer, she's been competing in Cutting Horse events for three years now exclusively.
“The barrel racing is you don't warm your horse up as much. You go out there and run as quick as you can. In cutting the horse does it. You put your hand down and all you've got to use your legs, it's different. It’s almost like they want to get it; they don't want it to move anywhere,” says Lanning.
Amateur riders own their horses and they compete together.
In other classes, paid professionals compete on horses owned by someone else.
“2 minutes 30 seconds to go cut 3 cows--a maximum of 3. You can cut 2. It just depends on how the cows are and how your run is going. Judges are looking for how you cut those cows, how the horse is working. Is it accurate on a cow, and take all that into consideration,” says trainer Brent Erickson.
More than 600 horses and their riders will be in Reno until this Sunday.
$5,000 to $6,000 along with saddles and other prizes go to those who win top honors.
But the money these competitors bring with them is perhaps more important to our community as a whole.
The riders eat and buy gas, clothing, stay in hotel room for nearly a week--giving business a much-needed boost.