This month, I thought it would be fun for you to help me respond to the following note I received:

“Hi, Mrs. Schulte! I have just now started to ride cutting horses ……. I was wondering if you had any tips for someone like myself who is just now starting to cut. Thanks!” ~ Liz C

This note gave me pause to reflect on one of my biggest beliefs.

No matter if you are just starting out, or if you have been cutting for a long time … it’s always about the basics.

I thought a list of basics could serve Liz well, AND be a source of reminders to all of us about making sure OUR OWN fundamentals stay sound.

I think it would be beneficial to Liz, and to all all of us, for you to comment at the bottom of this article with any advice you have for Liz starting out. Please feel free to comment on my suggestions as well. Your comments will be posted under this article on our website.

Here are my Top Ten Tips for new cutters and when you’re learning herdwork:

1. Find a horse that suits your needs.

2. Find a trainer/mentor you can trust and who can teach you well. Never underestimate the importance of being a good match with that person personality wise. Just because a trainer is supposed to be “the one” per another person’s opinion, you have to feel comfortable in the relationship.

3. Learn the rules via the NCHA Judges’ Rules and Guidelines.

4. Learn to be very proficient at cutting for shape. You will use this fundamental skill for the rest of your cutting life no matter how skilled you become at cutting specific cattle. 

5. Seek to become a better horseman or woman. Keep learning basic horsemanship skills. Become a student of the horse and cutting through any and every educational resource you can lay your hands on … free, borrowed and purchased. Take what works. Leave the rest. 

6. Understand where you are supposed to be on a cow. You can’t get there if you don’t know where you are going. Learn correct positioning on a cow and how to achieve that on your horse. 

7. Understand and then seek the rhythm of the … stop, draw, “drag” through the turn, acceleration to stop … cow sequence.

8. Cultivate mental and emotional skills as diligently as you cultivate technical cutting skills.

9. HAVE FUN. It’s a challenging sport no matter if you are just starting out of if you have been cutting for a long time. Never lose sight of the fact it is just a sport and you are in it to have fun.

10. As long as you love it, NEVER GIVE UP. Blue skies are just around the corner.


Go ahead and agree or disagree with what I just said.

What are your greatest pearls of wisdom?

Your advice could really click for someone just starting out. It could help them avoid some of the pitfalls you endured along your way.


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