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Cutting is an American western style sport of the equestrian discipline in which the objective for a rider on a horseback is to separate a few cows from its herd and prevent it from returning.

In cutting, riders are assigned four helpers to assist them during their runs. Two of the helpers are designated as turnbacks, who prevent the cattle from escaping from the back of the arena. The other two helpers are herd holders who prevent the other cattle from straying.

Each run lasts for 2 1⁄2 minutes, and riders are required to make a minimum of two cuts from the herd. One of the cuts has to mandatorily be made from deep inside the herd. The other cuts can be from the edges.

rider cutting a cow rider cutting a cow

All runs are judged by a panel of judges are awarded points. The runs are judged based on several aspects, like courage, team work, degree of difficulty, total time taken for the run, and loose reins. Riders are also penalized points for several infractions like, the cow getting back to the herd or not making a deep cut. The scores are based on a scale of 60 to 80, typically 70, based on the sanctioning organizations. The rider with the most points is declared as the winner.

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