In cutting, riders try to separate a single cow away from a cattle herd and hold it away from that herd. The horse must match every move of the cow, anticipating its every maneuver. So they’re “cutting” the cow away from the herd, just like you sometimes have to do on a real ranch. Cutting a cow from the herd also helps ranchers easily doctor or check the cows for health checks. Sorta like the way your mom cuts you from the house and herds you to the car when it is time for a doctor’s visit!

Cutting is not about speed. Cutting is about the ability and agility of the horse to “work” a cow. During a competition, a judge gives a rider a score based on a number of factors. Some of the things you are judged on include:

  • Courage
  • Ability to keep the cow from returning to the herd
  • Cow sense of the horse
  • Attentiveness of the horse and rider

This kind of cutting is way more exciting than anything you can do with a set of plastic scissors!

Grace says:

A great cutting horse is said to have cow sense. This means it knows cattle so well they automatically know how to anticipate where the cow is going before the cow knows.