Cutting is a western styled sport involving one rider, one horse and a herd of cattle. The objective is for the rider to separate or cut a single cattle from the herd ad keep it separate for a short period of time. Cutting is very simillar to ranch sorting, reining and team penning with the dicipline of the horse and his willingness to work. Much like the three events just mentioned cutting originated from the work of cowboys. A cutting horse's job was to seperate a single cattle from a herd for vaccinating, castrating ad sorting. As time went on the cowboys would start to compete to see who had the best cutting horse. Rules were added eventually and in 1946, the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) was formed. In the year 1972, Australia formed its own NCHA, that is an afiliate of the American NCHA.
The horse and rider will select and seperate a cow out of a small herd. The cow will try and return to the herd and it is the horses job to keep him from rejoining the herd. When the cow is first separated the rider will loosen the reins, leaving it entirly up to the horse to keep the cow separate. The amount of time a contestant has to show his horse is 2 1/2 minutes and most of the time 3 cow will have been seperated or cut but no more than two at a time.
Scoring is based on a scarle of 60 (being the lowest) to 80 (being the highest). A score of 70 is considered to be clean and perfect so anywhere higher is very hard to reach and needs to be flawless. Scoring is based on the horses ability to keep the cattle seperate. It should look easy, smooth and natual. The horse should stay collected and not get out of control. All commands from the rider are to be followed with no hesitation.
Any horse breed is welcome in this event but most riders prefer to use the American Quarter Horse or the stock horse types. Horses bred on ranches who have jobs working with cattle tend to have a cow sense which is described as being able to minic or anticipate a cows moves. These horses are very quick, agile and able to turn on a dime.
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