|Walker Co.’s Huck McCullar Offers Horsemanship Clinics|
Cutting Horse Enthusiast “Makes Horse Calls”
By Don Linker
Showing Appaloosas at the Dixie Nationals for a man in Walker County, brought McCullar in contact with the equine event that would become the focal point of his training-cutting. He was hooked by the excitement and the athletic ability of the horses in the event, and was sure he could do it himself. Back home he pursued this action-filled event starting with young horses and some calves, Huck relates that he made every mistake that could be made. About this time he was hired to ride horses for Mr. GradySparks of Kitti-Waite Farms and the cutting dream was about to get a huge boost.
Mr. Sparks contacted Mr. Joe Cameron, a cutting horse trainer in Moulton, about giving Huck lessons in riding cutting horses. Understanding cutting takes years and Huck credits Cameron and Mr. Todd Gann of Muscle Shoals, as well as other cutters, for getting him on the right track and helping him along the way, while competing in shows in most of the Southeastern states.
What are the basics of cutting and what advice would McCullar give to a person wanting to get into cutting?
"Cutting is a mental game, a challenge and a constant learning process that consists of three basic components. The first of these is learning to rate cattle, stopping straight and making good turns. My advice to someone wanting to learn about cutting is to first seek professional help from a trainer in your area and then watch, listen and ask questions. It is best to start with an older finished horse because you can concentrate on your riding and learn from the horse. I love to see and help people getting involved in cutting and then watch them progress and grow in the sport. Cutting horse enthusiasts with the proper start add to the viability and growth of the industry."
Which part of training do you enjoy most?
"I enjoy starting colts because you can see them change and learn as the training process continues. I like to keep a young horse for at least 60 days to give them the foundation they need for whatever discipline they are destined. If after two weeks a young horse doesn’t show potential, the owner is contacted and can pick up the horse at no charge. A client shouldn’t waste money on an animal that is not going to work for them."
What is your goal when doing a clinic?
"I really enjoy doing clinics because it gives me the chance to give back to the industry what has been so good to me. My clinics are a basic horsemanship class that involves everything from haltering to mounting.
"The equipment used and what every part means to you and the horse is covered as well as the proper way to move around and handle the horse. My goal is for people, whether a novice rider or a veteran horse owner, to leave my clinic with a better understanding of their equipment and their horse, and to give them the basis for a positive experience with their horse."
What do you think of the equine industry as a whole?
"The equine industry, as a whole, is still strong although certain events have taken place that have depressed the market to a certain extent. The good ones are still in demand in any discipline. A horse with the breeding and ability to do a particular job or event will always be in demand. Prospects also are sought to maybe be the next great one."
Always remember your local Quality Co-op is ready and willing to help you with all your equine, pet or other livestock needs. If we do not have what you need, we will be happy to find it for you.
Don Linker is an outside salesman for AFC.