A new documentary film titled The Cut spotlights the cutting horse and its role in the history of the West.
The cutting horse served an indisputable role in developing the breeding and training of Western stock horses, as well as shaping the direction of the beef market. A new film explores the history of cutting and leaves a lasting impression on its producers.
Titled The Cut, the documentary explores the rich history and ranching heritage of one of today’s most elite sports in the Western performance industry. Producers hope to release the film sometime in the coming months.
The film includes scenes from modern working cattle ranches, footage of high-profile competitions, and stories of some of the earliest cutting horses that were revered in the 19th century.
Commentary comes from respected trainers and ranchers, including Lindy Burch, Tio Kleberg and Austin Shepard and John Welch. The central figure in the film is legendary horseman and rancher Buster Welch. Now 92, he was instrumental in establishing the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity, won the prestigious event a record five times, and influenced countless trainers.
“He’s really the driving force behind this film,” says executive producer Charlie Israel.
In the documentary, Welch provides historic perspective and insight into the horsemanship of training a cutting horse.
“The way Buster says it is, ‘There are two kinds of horse trainers. There’s the kind that says, let me show you what I can do with this horse. The other kind says, let me show you what my horse can do with a cow,’ ” says Bob Welch, Buster Welch’s great nephew and the film’s producer.
Israel adds that the film reaches beyond all the particulars of cutting horses. By telling stories of individuals like Buster Welch and trainer Austin Shepard, it offers values that apply to everyone.
““I hope that people will see, through Buster and through Austin Shepard, that you can fulfill your dream if you’re willing to commit,” Israel says. “There is hope in this. And the idea of character and integrity is very important; it isn’t something that just comes and goes. It should be the undercurrent of our whole society.”
Read more about The Cut in the February 2021 issue of Western Horseman.
*Feature photo by Peter Robbins