I was at the 160th Russell Fair shooting the Strongman competition (where men and women lift cars and other heavy things) when I happily stumbled upon the Fall Cutting Horse Competition. While waiting for the Strongman to start (and any chance in between) I was over by the horse arena. The Western world has always been somewhat of a mystery to me as a former Eventer and now Hunter-Princess-In-Training. I have to say I was hooked watching the speed and agility of these horses and riders! This sport draws people of all ages and backgrounds, from nurses and social workers to CEOs of large companies. My favourite part was when the horses really “lock on” to the cow, and you can see he is really into his job! Riders and horses are judged on many aspects but notably the rider is to keep the rein slack and let the horse do his thing while staying out of the way. While watching I heard some ladies walk by and exclaim “oh, I don’t like to see that with the poor cows”… As a former vegan and someone who cares about animal rights (now I call myself “mostly plant based” as to avoid stigma/drama…I also believe yes you can be a vegan for ethical reasons AND participate in horse sports…but maybe that’s another blog post) I instantly took a bit of offence and took the time to explain some of the history of cutting (from my own limited general horse knowledge) that on a working ranch, it is sometimes necessary to separate a cow from the herd for vet work etc. The cows themselves seemed relaxed and playful, and I’d go as far to say I could see their sense of humour. I had a great afternoon capturing these moments and would jump at the chance to try it myself!