Penning and Cutting
The Penning, or cutting, saddle is designed for “cutting,” the process of separating a single cow, steer, or calf from a larger herd. Cutting is a acyivity that utilizes finesse and requires a finesse saddle. A cutter is designed to keep the rider balanced and to stay out of the way of the horse during sharp starts, stops, and turns. Be careful, a cutter is not an overly secure saddle, so it's up to the rider to use their balance to stay in place during what can be quite a wild ride.
Typical features of a cutting saddle include:
- Tall, thin horn for an easy handgrip
- High, wide and straight swells - the one feature on the saddle designed to hold in the rider during sharp turns
- Forward-hung and free-swinging fenders to allow the rider to stay balanced and deep during sharp stops and turns
- Flat, long, smooth seat to allow maximum maneuverability. (Cutting seats tend to be longer than other styles.
- Rough-out jockeys and fenders for better grip
- Slim stirrups to keep the boot in place
- Low cantle that won’t hit the rider in the back
- Double rigging - front cinch and flank cinch
A cutter saddle is a relatively versatile saddle, which can make it an economical saddle to own. In addition to cutting, a cutter can be a good choice for training, for penning events and even for reining, if you really need it. These activities all require close contact and movement by the rider to stay out of the horse's way.