Different Types of NCHA Shows
While Cutting competition is the same (horse, rider, cows, 2.5 minutes) - the classes in which they compete are different. For example, classes can be based on the horse and its earnings, while others are based on the rider's classification and earnings.
Additionally, some classes are based on both horse age and rider classifications/earnings.
When discussing NCHA cutting events, you'll usually hear cutters referred to shows as either a "Weekend Event" or an "Aged Event". These two terms simply refer to the type of event. Each of the events will offer different classes you can compete
in, depending on your eligibility. This page discussed the differences.
Limited Age Events (also called "Aged Events" or "LAE")
Aged Events place a restriction on the age of the horses.
- Futurity - an event with classes for 3-year-old horses
- Derby - an event with classes for 4-year-old horses
- Classic / Challenge - an event with classes for 5- and 6-year-old horses
Usually, these age groups are broken into three rider groups; Open, Non-Professional, and Amateur. Those rider groups are broken down into earnings categories like Intermediate or Limited based on rider earnings. Most Aged Events offer a vast
number of horse/rider combinations, and each show is different. Therefore, it benefits a rider to make sure they know their eligibility.
The biggest and most lucrative Aged Events are the NCHA Produced Triple Crown Events.
When someone describes an NCHA approved event as a "Weekend Show", they usually refer to a local event that offers classes for riders with a wide variety of skill levels and horses of any age. The term "Weekend" is a generic term encompassing
two different types of shows: Championship and Challenger.
Weekend Championship Shows
Shows with more than $200 added in the Open and Non-Pro and offer at least an Open, a Non-Pro, and one Amateur class of the 13 "standard" classes are considered to be "Championship" Shows. Earnings in these classes count toward the World Finals Standings.
The top 15 placings in the standings of each of the 13 Championship classes are invited to compete at the World Finals. The Youth World Finals are held in July during the Summer Cutting Spectacular and the remaining 11 World Finals classes are held in conjunction with the Futurity in November/December in Fort Worth. In addition, to earning monies toward the World
Championships, riders and horses at these shows also earn circuit points which count toward National Circuit Program standings.
Weekend Challenger Shows
Shows that do not offer the minimum $200 added in the Open and Non-Pro, or do not offer the required minimum classes are categorized as Challenger Shows. Competitors in these shows earn points, which count toward the National Circuit Program standings. And while they may also earn monies
at these shows, those monies do not count toward World Finals standings.
World Finals Standings - Horse Classes+
- Open - open to any horse with any rider regardless of either's earnings.
- $25,000 Novice Horse - open to horses with less than $25,000 in earnings+ regardless of rider earnings.
- $25,000 Novice Horse Non-Pro - open to Non-Professional riders on an owned horse with less than $25,000 in earnings+ - regardless of rider earnings.
- $5,000 Novice Horse - open to horses with less than $5,000 in earnings+ regardless of rider earnings.
- $5,000 Novice Horse Non-Pro - open to Non-Professional riders on an owned horse with less than $5,000 in earnings+ regardless of rider earnings.
World Finals Standings - Rider Classes+
- Non-Pro - open to Non-Professionals on any owned horse regardless of rider earnings.
- Unlimited Amateur - open to Amateur riders on any owned horse who are:
- NOT in the Non-Pro Rider Hall of Fame AND
- Are EITHER under the age of 60 and have not won more than $250,000 in Non-Pro money+ OR over the age of 60 regardless of Non-Pro money+.
- $35,000 Non-Pro - open to Non-Professional riders on any owned horse who have earned less than $35,000+ as a rider.
- $50,000 Amateur - starting in 2023, open to Amateur riders on any owned horse who has earned less than $50,000+ as a rider.
- $15,000 Amateur - open to Amateur riders on any owned horse who has earned less than $15,000+ as a rider.
- $2,000 Limit Rider - open to riders on any horse who has earned less than $2,000 as a rider.
- Senior Youth - open to youth riders aged 14 - 18
- Junior Youth - open to youth riders aged 13 and under
+ See Standing Rule 8 in the current NCHA Rulebook for additional earnings qualifications and calculations.