That last pix on your 2nd post is Brother Jackson & Ken Wold. I'm hoping to get a baby from him ... either this year (if my mare ever decides to settle) or next. He's a nice horse.
In the reined cow horse, there are futurities for three year olds, but from what I have seen, reined cow horse trainers focus on the longevity of the horseís career more than reining trainers usually do.
I have been showing in reined cowhorse for 10 years; my first two horses I trained myself. I have been to MANY MANY clinics with some of the top names in reined cowhorse. In my experience, sadly, this is not necessarily true. The focus is really on Snaffle Bitters and if a horse doesn't make it there, if they are up there in the results at a Snaffle Bit Futurity, they might be campaigned for the Derby. And depending on the horse (and who they end up with) if they are money earners, they are campaigned as Bridle horses. To get a competitive Snaffle Bitter, the training can be hard on the babies, but since they are being required to do three events, the trainers are concerned with conditioning, but it's a fine balance in the youngster to condition & train them to be competitive at the Snaffle Bit.
If a horse is not competitive at the Snaffle Bit, depending on the owners' funds and the trainer's opinion of the horse's abilities, many horses are sold, re-sold and resold again. Some Non-Pros end up with these horses, but many of the horses are mentally fried, which can be too much to many Non Pros. Some are mentally fried and have physical problems. It's not easy to keep a horse sounds before & through the Snaffle Bit. Some of the horses go on to be barrel horses and/or rope horses. Very few go on to compete as Bridle Horses in the Open division. Some actually do get rested and conditioned back up for Non-Pros.
It is a business, just like reining. Owners want results; trainers want to give them. After listening to Andrea Fappani's Podcast (Along for the Ride - it's pretty good; he gets some good guests on), it sounds like reining & reined cowhorse are very similar.
Reining trainers are also sometimes seen as cruel or abusive in some ways, and while this is certainly not true for all, it is seen more in the reining than the cow horse, most likely because of the higher pressure, higher stakes, higher competitiveness, and higher paying shows.
I don't agree with this at all. Abusive/cruel trainers are found just as often in reined cowhorse; it's just not as well known a sport and doesn't have the attention on it that reining does.
reined cow horses travel in a collected frame, breaking at the poll more like a dressage horse, reining horses, especially in recent years, have the very low headed, sometimes forced style where they break at the withers and drop their head down, sometimes almost in the dirt.
Listen to Andrea Fappani's podcast; they talk about this alot. He says it's the judges who reward these types of horses in reining, so that is what the trainers focus on. Reined cowhorse is certainly not without its' faults, but you can't work a cow with your nose on the ground.
While there are obviously good and bad trainers in both disciplines, what is yíalls opinions on the ethics, training methods, showing techniques, and overall care for the horses in both disciplines? Which have you heard more positive or negative things out of, and for what reasons?
Listen to Andrea Fappani's podcast & the cowhorse podcase, Cowhorse Full Contact with Russell Dilday and Chris Dawson (this is my favorite podcast). They have trainers on there who started in reining (and got to the top) and are now competing in reined cowhorse. These trainers all say the same thing - they like the versatility of reined cowhorses and they like that reined cowhorses are allowed to think. Reiners typically are required to be totally obedient; cowhorses have to think for themselves in the cow work (sometimes with a little input from the rider).
What I do like about reined cowhorse is that you CAN take the long route if you choose - go from snaffle bit to hackamore to two rein, then straight up in the bridle. I did that with my 2nd mare; what a great journey that was!
I really wish both rings would toss futurities out the window though, and give these horses time to mature. * * * Plus, even if they are showing at three, that likely means they were started at two, which is limiting the work being forced on their still-growing bodies.
I agree with you. It would be nice if they would move the futurities to the 3 or 4 year old years. My mare that I compete on now, I bought as a 2 yo; she had been started before I got her. She was not seen as a Snaffle Bit contender so was sold early. There are some youngsters who are mentally and physically mature at 3 yo (and you can see it in their 2 yo year), but she wasn't. We let her mature a bit with light riding before I started showing her. But I didn't really compete on her until later.
Both reining and reined cowhorse have their good points and bad, as with all disciplines. I loved reined cowhorse and was taught before I got into it to take care of my horses body and mind; But I have no illusions that it is "better" than reining in training or ethics, methods or show practices.