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What began on the historical ranches of the cattle drive days has progressed into a multi-million dollar sport pairing horses and their riders up against a cow for a fierce competition lasting two and a half minutes. When competing, a rider will guide their horse through a herd of cattle to pick out one cow and "cut" it away from the herd. Once the cow is cut, the rider will drop their hand and let the horse go to work, using its natural instinct paired with training and subtle cues from the rider's leg to keep the cow away from the herd. During these two and a half minutes, riders will guide the horse back into the herd to cut two to three cows in total. 

Cutting competitions are held around the world each weekend, offering classes for beginner riders who don't own their own horse all the way through to the highest level of the sport. Whether you have been riding horses your entire life or just grew an interest, there is a home for you in NCHA. 

NCHA members come from all walks of life and are of all ages, with members ranging from less than 10 years old to over 80 years of age. Some of our members are fans who never swing a leg over a horse, while others are professional trainers who compete throughout the year and everything in between. Our membership includes students, artists, lawyers, construction workers, teachers, and more. With the varying levels of commitment to the sport, we are confident that cutting will fit your lifestyle.

One of the best ways to get started in cutting is by contacting a trainer. Trainers are located across the world, and there is someone close by that can help you. To find a list of trainers in your area, visit our trainer directory.

Member Testimonials


Geoffrey "Spud" Sheehan


Mary Jo Milner


Kylie Knight Rice


Free Ride Membership

If you have never been a member, your NCHA membership is free for the first year! 

This membership allows you to ride to herd and compete without the annual membership fee. With this membership, you will have access to our online version of the Cutting Horse Chatter magazine and the NCHA Rulebook. 



Annual Membership

This membership is for members, except Youth, who are renewing their membership for another year. 

Annual members can compete and show, as well as get access to NCHA membership discounts with select NCHA Sponsors and a printed and mailed subscription to the official NCHA Publication - The Cutting Horse Chatter.

In addition to the annual membership, qualified competitors can apply for an Amateur/Non-Pro to add to their existing membership. Not sure if you are an Amateur or a Non-Pro? View the application to learn more or contact us with any questions!


Youth Membership

Youth memberships are available to individuals 18-years-old and younger as of June 30 of the current point year. 

Not only does this membership allow you to compete in our youth classes at the weekend level shows but it also makes you a member of the  National Youth Cutting Horse Association (NYCHA). Through the NYCHA, members can receive scholarships, serve in leadership roles, and compete for year-end awards.

Cutting Competitions

Cutting competitions are held throughout the year all over the world. There are two main types of competition: weekend competition and limited age events. 

Weekend competition includes 13 standard classes that are based on the qualifications of the horse, qualifications of the rider, or qualifications of both the horse and rider. To find a schedule of weekend events, click here. Through your membership, you will be eligible to compete in one of NCHA's 13 circuits within the NCHA National Circuit Program. The National Circuit Program provides a way for riders to compete for NCHA titles while showing at weekend shows close to home. 

Limited Age Event competition, also known as LAE, is open to horses of eligible age divisions and classes based on the rider's eligibility. The NCHA Triple Crown is held annually in Fort Worth, Texas throughout the year and includes the NCHA World Championship Futurity, NCHA Super Stakes, and NCHA Summer Cutting Spectacular. In addition to the NCHA Triple Crown, LAE events are held throughout the year around the country, and a complete schedule can be found here

New Member Guide

We Are Here To Help

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National Cutting Horse Association
260 Bailey Ave.
Fort Worth, TX 76107

Office Hours

Monday thru Friday 8:30am - 5:00pm CST