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"Making The Cut"


Cutting has been around a long time…since the early 1800's. Cattle drives and working ranches made cutting a necessity!

The need to cut cattle to isolate them from the rest of the herd was a requirement in order to treat any medical conditions they might have had, or for branding purposes. It was discovered, by using a specially trained horse, this task could be accomplished very efficiently, thus introducing the 'cutting horse' and the art of cutting.

Cowboys would get together in the mid 1880's to see who had the best cutting horse. This gained popularity, and by the 1900's was becoming a sport of it's own!

As the sport grew in popularity, rodeos and cowboy gatherings started to feature the event of cutting. With this, the necessity of some rules and guidelines for cutting had to come into play. In 1946 the National Cutting Horse Association was formed. Later the Canadian Cutting Horse Association was formed.

Today cutting is an exciting sport with many competitors throughout our nation.

Competitors have 2.30 minutes to cut as many cattle from the herd that they can, normally there is time to cut 2 or 3 cows. The rider brings the horse into to herd and begins the process of selection. Once the cow is selected and the cut is made, the rider will loosen the reins on the horse, grab hold of the saddle horn and allow his horse to take control of the cow. The horse's job is to prevent the cow from returning to the herd. Many hours of training are involved and a good cutting horse knows exactly what his job is.

Once the cow becomes inactive or disinterested in returning to the herd, the rider is able to 'quit the cow' by lifting his reins as a signal, only after the cow is visibly stopped with no leg movement or is turned in the opposite direction and is moving away from the cutter. The cow is then released to return to the herd, and the rider then goes back into the herd, selects another cow, cuts it from the herd and begins the process again.

Click here for scoring information.

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