I've been cutting for awhile, but only started showing recently and so I can only give you the basics on how cutting is judged. You aren't suppost to reign the horse on a cow. If you pick your hand up, you get docked a point. Everyone competing starts with a 70. You can go up or down. The lowest score you can get is a 60. You lose points if you: loose a cow, pick up your reigns, make noises (like whitsle, shout, or slap your knee) to get the cow to move. Once you show that you locked onto a cow, you can't switch cows or you get docked points. You get DQ if you fall off, your horse falls, your horse bites the cow, if you use a bit that makes your horses mouth bleed, or if you exit the arena before your time is done.
These are VERY basic and there are probably some basics I missed. I don't have a rule and judging book with me right now. Hope this was some help!
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