The nation’s top triathletes converge in Reno, Nev., each September. This triathlon’s events: herd work, rein work and fence work. No, it’s not your typical triathlon, nor is it your typical horse show: It’s the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity! With a total annual payout in excess of $1 million, the Futurity Open Champion comes home $100,000 richer, and with an indelible place in cow horse history.
Warning – if you attend the Snaffle Bit Futurity once, you’ll be hooked for every year to come. Equally compelling is the action outside the show arena, with the horse sales, Best of the West Trade Show shopping and many social activities with other die-hard cow horse fanatics.
Horses entered in the futurity are 3-year-olds, and are shown in a snaffle bit in three different disciplines – herd work, rein work and cow work. The herd work, or cutting, comes first, followed by the reining pattern in the rein work. The signature cow work, often called fence work, is where the horse holds, or boxes, the cow at the end of the arena, then turns it on the fence and finally circles it both ways in the arena. It’s been called “The Greatest Show on Dirt” and the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity is fun for exhibitors and spectators alike.