Cutting saddles are used when you are cutting a calf, steer, or cow from the herd. These saddles are designed to keep the rider as balanced as possible, so you can stay with your horse as he stops, spins, and pursues a cow. Cutting saddles are suitable for competition, but they also serve as working saddles when you’re separating stock on the ranch. Some riders even use them for training and even some basic reining.
A cutting saddle is designed with your balance, but not necessarily your security, in mind. Cutting saddles are larger than other saddles, like barrel racing saddles, and they give you room to move around in the seat in order to direct and respond to your horse’s movement. Cutting saddles feature flatter seats, and the cantle is lower so that it doesn’t hit you in the back as your horse moves. The saddle horn is tall and thin so that you can easily grab it, and the stirrups are often somewhat thin so that they help to hold your boot in the stirrup.
Because a horse moves suddenly in so many directions during cutting, cutting saddles are equipped with both a front and back cinch. This double rigging design provides the saddle with additional stability, reducing the chance of it moving or shifting during the ride.
When buying a cutting saddle, you should look for a saddle which naturally puts you in a balanced state. The more balanced that you are, the better you’ll be able to stay with your horse so that he can perform at his best.