Vice President candidate Dick Mulligan

As a child I always wanted a horse. It didn’t happen. As a young man, through my family’s involvement in the Thoroughbred horse racing industry, I had the opportunity to observe the equine athlete and the people who owned, trained and rode those superb athletes.

When I moved to Wyoming 37 years ago, I discovered the cutting horse on which the owner could compete. I was hooked! I wanted to show, which led me to become a member of the NCHA. Eventually, at the urging of friends, I was nominated and elected as a Director of the NCHA representing Wyoming. My commitment to the NCHA has been and continues to be as follows:

  • Member of NCHA since 1983.
  • Lifetime NCHA member.
  • Director representing Wyoming since 2007.
  • Member of Long Range Planning Committee for 6 years.
  • Chairman of Long Range Planning Committee 2012 to 2014.
  • Vice Chairman Long Range Planning Committee 2010 to 2012.
  • Nominating Committee for Selection of Candidates for Vice-President 2013.
  • President’s Governance Task Force Member 2014.
  • Member of Wyoming Cutting Horse Association since 1983.
  • Director, Past President and Past Vice President of WCHA.

Some accomplishments during my tenure as a member of the LRPC include drafting and presenting several Amendments to the Constitution and By-Laws which were adopted by the members of the NCHA in two successive years. The amendments include additional confidentiality protections to the election process and attendance requirements for Directors at the annual convention.

If elected, I would continue to support:

  • NCHA Constitution and By-Laws.
  • The Rule Book.
  • World Finals.
  • Grievance and Appeal procedures.
  • Youth Program and Scholarships.
  • Triple Crown Events.
  • Affiliate Organizations and Weekend Events.
  • Protection of the equine athlete through the Horse Welfare Task Force.
  • Transparent and Open Management.
  • I would be open to a revision to the following:
    • Restructuring of the NCHA approved classes.
    • Restructuring the Governance System.
    • Realignment of the Decision Making Process.

If elected I would bring my past experiences as a judge, lawyer and mayor of a major city to assist the NCHA and its members in furthering the goals of the membership and the NCHA.

My wife, Brenda, and I live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Our five children also live in Jackson Hole and we are the proud grandparents of 5 grandchildren. My commitment to family—both personal and the cutting family of friends—is of primary importance to me.

It has been an honor to serve the members of the NCHA and if elected, I will continue to dedicate my efforts to strengthen the NCHA. I would appreciate your vote. Thank you.

—Dick Mulligan

Vice President candidate Chuck Smith

Reasons why I am interested in serving as NCHA Vice President: I think there are three components to being an effective association leader.

  1. Know the history of the association
  2. Have a vision of what it takes to make it better.
  3. Know how to work within the system to accomplish established goals.

I have made a living in the cutting horse business as a trainer, show producer, director, judge, and teacher of cutting over the last 30 years.

Here at my cutting facility located just outside Columbus, Ohio, I have introduced hundreds of new people to our sport. Many have stayed with me for over twenty years. I have produced over 150 weekend shows at my location and 35 limited aged events at the Ohio Expo Center. I have been a director for 25 years and am also a AAAA judge. I am serving my fourth term on the Executive Committee, and have chaired the Long Range Planning and Limited Aged Events Show Producers Committees. Therefore, I have a thorough knowledge of our association, its past, and how it works.

My vision is to help our entire association maintain stability and grow.
I see the association basically in three parts; major limited aged events, seasoned hard-core weekend cutters, and others doing it just for fun (where most new people enter the sport). Each group is motivated by different goals, but all three must be functioning well for the association to grow. I think we are currently out of balance. The first two groups are solid but the third group (the new people and those doing it for fun) need attention. This group is where our future riders and horse owners come from.

A lot of work has gone into creating the great association we have. Let’s not tamper with the parts that are working. Triple Crown events, Major Events Trust Fund, Premier LAEs’, Mercuria events, and World Finals at Fort Worth during the Futurity have all been great successes. Let’s make sure we continue with their improvement and needs, but let’s now focus on our affiliates who are struggling to stay solvent and who need help in maintaining membership and recruiting new members.

Each area and even affiliates within the areas deal with different sets of problems. A few of the problems range from cattle availability and cost to show facility availability, and distance to shows. We need to listen more to the affiliate needs and try to become as flexible as possible without giving up the standards that set us apart from other associations. I think the grassroots program we started last year is a step in the right direction, but is by no means the only step.

We should do what ever it takes to give new people a good first experience, make them feel like there is a welcome place for them in our organization, and that we recognize and reward achievement and advancement.

My proudest moment in NCHA was back in 1998 when I spearheaded the Achievement Buckle program and it became a reality. Winning a buckle seems to define us as a true cutter whether at the Triple Crown level or as a grassroots cutter. The achievement buckle has been the first step for many in a long cutting journey and hopefully a first step for many yet to come.

I would appreciate your vote for Vice President and will do my best to help keep us in balance.

–Chuck Smith

NCHA takes additional steps for animal welfare

The National Cutting Horse is investigating new measures at shows it produces in Fort Worth in 2014 to protect the health and safety of cutting horses. The steps the horse and cattle welfare committee are looking at include having an official veterinarian on-call during the shows, setting up an emergency treatment area, and having an equine ambulance readily available.

Plans for these new measures were advanced following an incident at the 2013 NCHA Futurity where Miss Callie Cat, ridden by Tarin Rice, colicked during her run in the Open Semi-Finals. Rice immediately ceased working the horse once he recognized her signs of distress, and walked her to the back of the arena. Numerous friends and fellow equine professionals rushed to the horse’s aid, according to Rice, for which he was grateful. The mare was promptly transported to Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery, and she immediately underwent colic surgery.

“Evidently, her gut twisted during my run in the Semis,” Rice said. “I knew something was wrong, and when I walked out, she immediately started having trouble. As soon as we got her stable, we got her in the trailer and to the vet clinic. They did surgery and from the time they woke her up, everything has been right on plan.”

The surgery was done by Dr. Ty Tipton who, according to Rice, expects the mare to make a full recovery.

“The cutting horse community rallied to help the mare and make sure she was well cared for,” said NCHA Executive Director Jim Bret Campbell regarding the mare’s colic. “NCHA’s drug testing veterinarian arrived as quickly as possible, and we were also prepared to evacuate the mare from the arena within minutes, but unfortunately the mare wasn’t in a position to be loaded. From a medical standpoint, we were doing everything we could to take care of the horse.”

Lindy Burch, chairperson of NCHA’s Animal Welfare Committee, concurred that the horse’s well-being was top priority throughout the incident, and added that the NCHA is doing everything possible to ensure any future injuries can be treated promptly and efficiently. “Everybody was very concerned about the incident, and it highlighted the fact that we must always be prepared for illness or injury,” she explained.

“We’re fortunate to have some of the world’s best veterinary and surgery facilities within 40 minutes of Will Rogers Coliseum,” Burch said. “Our main goal is to have the best possible way to stabilize and transport a horse to one of those facilities.”

Immediate access to veterinary care, a treatment area stocked with veterinary supplies, and an equine medical transport vehicle are changes being made that Burch said will more than likely be in place for the NCHA Super Stakes, which begins in March. Burch said her committee is also working to develop protocols for a horse to be cleared for competition if it appears to be unsound or in distress, similar to the procedures that are commonly used at racetracks, but putting those procedures into place will take a little more time.

Miss Callie Cat’s colic was the second unfortunate incident for the horse, who had also cut her tongue on baling twine the day before. As Rice explained, the mare was tied outside of her stall while his helpers blanketed her when she grabbed the twine that held up the blanket bar with her mouth. Rice said he’s not sure how it happened, but somehow it caused the horse to cut her tongue.

“It was a very freak deal,” Rice explained of the injury. “I’ve dealt with horses my entire life and I’ve never seen anything like that. I don’t know if it got around her tongue; I don’t know what happened.”

Rice called upon Dr. Chris Ray, also of Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery, who was on the show grounds at the time. According to Rice, Ray examined the mare’s tongue and said no further action was needed for treatment. The injury required no stitches, and Ray approved the horse to continue in competition as long as she was drinking and eating properly.

“There was no bleeding on the tongue when I got there,” said Ray of his initial examination of the horse. “I told Tarin that as long as she was acting herself and eating and drinking, that she would be okay to show. She was eating and drinking within hours, and it was our opinion that she was healthy.”

Ray added that the team at ESMS did not feel that the mare’s colic was in any way related to her tongue injury.

“She had a displacement [of the intestine], which is not associated with any sort of injury to the mouth. She was fine before he showed her that night. To have that much displacement that quickly, we believe it happened during her run.”

The injuries that Miss Callie Cat suffered from during the NCHA Futurity were a series of unfortunate occurrences, none of which were a result of lack of care on Rice’s part, he assured. Rice recently reported that the mare is back at his barn and is well on her way to a full recovery.

“We haven’t started riding her yet, but there’s no reason to believe she won’t come back one hundred percent and be able to show this year,” Rice concluded.

“These animals are our whole life, so we take the very best care of them that we can.”

Denver to host 2013 NCHA Western Nationals

On Sept. 27, NCHA and the National Western Complex of Denver, Colo., reached an agreement to host the NCHA Western National Championships presented by 6666 Ranch in Denver, April 28-May 9, 2014. It has previously been in Reno, Nev., and Ogden, Utah.

While NCHA did not solicit bids for the Western National Championships, Denver and Nampa, Idaho, submitted bids along with Reno.

After analyzing the bids, the final contenders were Denver and Reno, and NCHA appreciates the hard work by the committees representing those two sites. It was a very difficult choice for the Executive Committee because of the impact the selection has on so many members and the challenges they face because of the sheer size and mountain ranges of the West.

After reviewing the very competitive bids, the Executive Committee requested staff investigate the potential for having championship shows in both locations. After thoroughly reviewing the financial impact of two shows, available dates at the facilities and access to cattle, it became clear that having a total of three championship shows per year is not feasible at this time.

However, the NCHA Executive Committee has established an outstanding compromise plan that addresses the needs of the greatest number of members by rotating the event between Midwestern (Denver or similar) and Western (Reno or other) locations on an annual basis through at least 2017.

For the 2014 site selection, the committee voted to go to Denver because of the city’s competitive financial bid, number of anticipated entries and drive time. Substantial numbers of NCHA members called and/or emailed in support of both Reno and Denver.
That is why the Executive Committee has made a commitment to rotating the Western Nationals to accommodate the largest number of NCHA members on an annual basis.

NCHA members have until November 10 to qualify to compete in the Eastern Nationals to be held in Jackson, Miss., and the Western Nationals in Denver. Qualification requires that an entry fee be paid and the rider rides to the herd in the event in which they wish to qualify. A total of $200,000-added is offered at each event, along with a significant prize package that includes RooHide saddles, Gist Silversmith belt buckles, Joey Jemison chaps, 5 Star Equine saddle pads and Platinum Performance and Lubrisyn products.

NCHA receives latest payment from Texas Major Event Trust Fund

The National Cutting Horse Association, in partnership with the City of Fort Worth, received $2.1 million from the Texas Major Events Trust Fund on September 25. The payment includes funds derived from the 2012 NCHA Futurity. The funds are the final payment of more than $4.1 million received from the METF for the NCHA Triple Crown events held in 2012.

“NCHA and the City of Fort Worth had a very productive meeting with the State Comptrollers office September 23 in the association’s continuing efforts to meet all requirements of the Texas Major Events Trust Fund,” said NCHA Executive Director Jim Bret Campbell. “Through the process of the last year, NCHA is grateful that it has been instrumental in changing legislation that will ensure even greater accountability for all groups applying to the Major Events Trust Fund.”

“It is undeniable that enhancing the purses at the Triple Crown events has had a positive effect on the value of the cutting horse throughout the country,” he said. “Much like the Kentucky Derby drives the sales of Thoroughbreds, the NCHA Triple Crown provides for an economic incentive that drives the value of the cutting horse.”

Campbell also noted that a portion of the funds can be used to promote the Triple Crown events and encourage attendance by out-of-state visitors.

“NCHA’s participation in the fund is a partnership with the City of Fort Worth and the State of Texas, which means NCHA has a responsibility to honor its commitment by finding new and innovative ways to market and expand its events with the goal of bringing large groups to the state and city.”

The NCHA’s Triple Crown – the NCHA Futurity, the NCHA Super Stakes and the Great American Insurance Group Summer Cutting Spectacular – are the only equine events included in the Texas Major Events Trust Fund (METF). Other events in the fund are Formula One Racing, which earned $29.3 million and the NCAA Final Four Men’s Basketball Tournament, which earned more than $11 million.

Other equine groups are included in the Texas Events Trust Fund (ETF), which operates under a different reporting period, and includes such entities as the American Paint Horse Association, the American Miniature Horse Association, the Reichert Celebration, the National Reined Cow Horse Association and the American Quarter Horse Association.