I know next to nothing about cutting, so excuse this possibly dumb question.
How much of this is the rider and how much is the horse's instinct? It seems this appy is very adept at judging the body language of the buffalo, and acting accordingly. Kind of amazing.
I'm not a cutter but I know a few things. Riders do direct their horses but they are very subtle cues from the leg. The rider never uses his/her reins until they want to stop their horse and put their hands on the horse's neck.
Cutters often wear chaps in order to hide the cues they are giving their horse.
So cutting mostly consists of showing off how good the horse and rider work together as well as how well the training of the horse is.
If I said something wrong, feel free to correct me! This is just my knowledge from just starting cutting and my mom doing it for many years.
This man is a open cowhorse rider. First time ever sitting on a cutting horse and if you watch that horse and know cutting...that horse for any rider would be a difficult ride. The buffalo barely twitches a ear and that horse is jumping side to side and late on his ends which means he has to work extra hard to get back across then by the time he gets there he is late again...nice horse...athletic...but not as nice as some might think...