The art of cutting cattle out of the herd, like bronco riding, is a sport which has grown out of old-time ranch work in the West. In recent years, however, it has been carried to the arena and is now one of the most popular horseman sports in the country. The horse, which is usually ridden loose-reined, must cut out a calf and hold it out. Top cutting horses today are Quarter Horses, and one of the best is Jodie Earl (below and on following pages), who can do the job without a rider.
Whirling in a cloud of dust, Jodie Earl, wearing a saddle but without a rider, closes in on cutout calf from the herd on Owner Charles King's ranch in Wichita Falls, Texas
Sequence of moves to keep the calf from rejoining herd begins as Jodie Earl heads it off, keeping the balance of his weight on hind legs so he can spin in opposite direction when calf tries new dodge. Cutting horse must never turn its tail to the cattle
Seeing an opening, the calf streaks toward the herd (above), but the riderless horse preguesses it and whirls to cut it off (lower left). Standing with legs far apart (below), Jodie Earl is ready to pivot either way and is in full control of baffled calf
Now completely cut off from rest of the herd the calf starts running in wide circle, intent on getting back, but the highly trained cutting horse Jodie Earl stays close behind, anticipating which way calf will dodge so he can dodge the same way and prevent him from rejoining them