A class in which a horse and rider enter a herd usually on the back wall of the arena and separates one from the group. The horse keeps the selected cow from returning to the herd. The horse is judged on skill, agility and ability and is given 90 seconds to work two cattle. There is an option to a third cow if time allows. There are two herd holders to the right and left of the area were the rider works the entry (they keep the herd on the rail) and two turn back riders on the opposite side of the rider working the cow. Their job is to keep the chosen cow interested in returning to the herd.
Watch for the following:
Don't use the fence to control the cow that's a strong penalty.
A horse slightly ahead of the cow is not in control and risks losing the cow. Judges should "plot" the next moves of the horse & cow as the cow could escape the horse and return to the herd.
Horses eye should be in a direct line with the eye of the cow as the horse must watch the cow or he could lose it.
Bovines used in cutting are usually cows or steers and not calves. If calves are used there should be a penalty.
Goats and other animal can used in cutting or stock work classes in training conditions but this should be specified with a comment line.
You Score Cutting on the following basis:
2) When an animal is cut from the herd, it is more desirable that it be taken toward the center of the arena, and credit will be rewarded for same. Additional credit will be given the horse which drives his stock sufficient distance from the herd to assure that the herd will not be disturbed by his work, thereby showing his ability to drive a cow.
3) Riding with a loose rein throughout a performance is a requirement and will be recognized.
4) Credit will be recognized for setting up a cow and controlling it in a working position as near the center of the arena as possible.
5) If the cutting horse or his rider creates disturbance at any time
throughout his working period (2-1/2 minutes), he will be penalized:
6) A horse will be penalized three (3) points each time the back fence actually stops or turns the animal being worked within one step (three  feet) of the fence; the back fence to be agreed on and designated by the judge or judges before the contest starts; meaning the actual fence only, no imaginary line from point to point to be considered. If any of the contestants voice an objection before the contest starts, the judge or judges shall take a vote of the contestants, and a “back fence” acceptable to the majority shall be designated and used.
7) If a horse turns the wrong way with tail toward animal being worked, an automatic score of 60 points will be given.
8) While working, a horse will be penalized one (1) point each time the
reins are used to control or direct (to rein) the horse, regardless of
whether the reins are held high or low. A one (1) point penalty shall
also be charged whenever a horse is visibly cued in any manner. If
the reins are tight enough that the bits are bumped at any time, he
shall be penalized one (1) point each time even though the hand of
the rider does not move.
9) If a horse lets an animal that he is working get back in the herd, he will be penalized five (5) points.
10) If a rider changes cattle after visibly committing to a specific cow, a five (5) point penalty will be assessed.
11) When a horse loses his working advantage, loses eye contact with cow, misses a cow, or is working out of position; he will be penalized (a) ½ point, (A) 1 point, or (F) 1 point.
12) Unnecessary roughness, such as a horse actually pawing, biting or kicking cattle, will be penalized three (3) points.
13) A contestant may quit an animal when it is obviously stopped, obviously turned away, or is obviously behind the turnback horses and the turnback horses are behind the time line. A penalty of three (3) points must be charged if the animal is quit under any other circumstances.
14) If a horse quits a cow, a penalty of five (5) points will be assessed.
15) If a horse clears the herd with two (2) or more cattle and fails to separate a single animal before quitting, a five (5) point penalty will be charged. There is no penalty if time expires.
16) Horses must be ridden with a bridle having a bit in the mouth or with a hackamore. All bridles on horses must have split reins. A bridle shall have no nose band or bosal and hackamores shall be of rope or braided rawhide with no metal parts. Braided rawhide balls across the horse’s nose are not permissible. A judge must be able to freely pass two fingers between the hackamore and muzzle completely around the horse’s nose. Choke ropes, tie downs, wire around the horse’s neck, nose, or brow band, tight nose band, quirt, bat or mechanical device giving the rider undue control over a horse will not be permitted in the arena where an NCHA approved or sponsored event is being held. Wire of any kind and on any part of the curb device is not permissible. Leather curb straps or curb chains must be at least 3/8 of an inch in width and must be attached to the bit by nylon string, nylon straps, or leather straps. Decorative knots, rawhide balls or tassels are not permitted on curb devices. Breast collar may be used, no portion of which may pass over the horse’s neck. Breast collars attached to the swell of the saddle on competing horses will be considered illegal. Chaps and spurs may be worn. A competing horse’s tail cannot be tied in any manner which would restrict movement of the tail. Any time a contestant is guilty of an infraction of this rule or any part therein, he shall be disqualified. Contestants must wear long-- sleeved shirts with collars and buttons or snaps completely down the shirt front. T-shirts and slipover knits are not permissible. Sweaters may be worn over an appropriate shirt. Long sleeves must be worn rolled down. For youth classes only, safety helmets are permissible in place of a western hat.
17) When a contestant is thrown from a horse or the horse falls to the ground, the run shall be terminated and no score (0) will be given.
18) Any rider who allows his horse to quit working or leave the working area before his allotted time is up will be disqualified for that goround with no score.
19) A contestant will be awarded a complete rework if in the judge or judges’ opinion 2-1/2 minutes time was not allotted for the work, or if excessive disturbances had been created by factors other than those caused by the contestants or their help and the judge or judges have stopped the time. Such factors would include gates coming open, fences falling down and objects entering or falling into the working portion of the arena, but would not apply to cattle scattering through wildness or normal arena activities. Any rework must take place within the group of cattle drawn by the contestant and must occur before a change of cattle is executed. At the contestant’s option, the rework may occur immediately or as the last work in that set of cattle. No rework shall be granted if the contestant involved has incurred a three (3) or five (5) point (major) penalty prior to a disturbance. After the cutter has completed his 2-1/2 minutes work, if in his/her opinion a situation has occurred of suffi cient seriousness so as to warrant a rerun, he/she may immediately make a request for the same to the Contestant’s Representative or to the designated judge or judges who shall report this fact to show management before the next horse is called to work. Show management shall make such facts as are available known to the judge(s) and if the majority are in agreement that due cause did exist a rerun may be granted provided the original work was free of a three (3) or a five (5) point (major) infraction. If the clock has not started, a re-work will automatically be granted.
20) A judge marks from sixty (60) to eighty (80) points. One-half (1/2) points are permissible.
Points Should be Deducted If...
Penalties: 1 point off:
Give Credit For...
Rule 22) CREDIT:
23) RUN CONTENT:
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Updated: January 14, 2013