I have a 7 year old cutting horse gelding who I have been showing for the past two years...We mostly stick to local club shows with a few local NCHA shows only because it's all I can afford to do! He is good enough to go to the bigger shows, but that is not realistic for me right now. (We are with a trainer year-round though, and practice on the flag or cows 3 days a week). Anyways, I am at a point in my life where I'm considering not showing in cutting after this season is over. My life will be getting a little more crazy and time consuming, and cutting is a very expensive and time consuming hobby.
I am very attached to my cutting horse, and I really don't NEED to sell him if I quit showing. He is an awesome horse - I love his mellow disposition, his sweet personality, and not to mention he's the funnest horse to ride. So, I have heard that basically the only other activity you can do with a cutting horse without "ruining" them for cutting is trail ride.
IF I do decide to take a break from showing, I am wondering if any of you other cutters out there know really what I can do with him to keep him active (without ruining him for cutting in case we ever decide to go back, or I end up needing to sell him). I am taking him to a competitive trail clinic this month, just for fun, and as a way to desensitize him a little bit. I would like to do more stuff like this in the future, and will take him trail riding a little bit, but nothing too extreme. Any other ideas? I don't really want to start showing in any other discipline or anything, just ideas of what I can do with him, so I can continue to ride him and expand our skills!