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cutting horse (plural cutting horses)

  1. A horse which has been trained to assist its rider in managing livestock by separating selected animals from a herd.
    • 1911, Andy Adams, chapter 21, in Wells Brothers:
      The average cow can dodge and turn quicker than the ordinary horse. . . . Cunning and ingenuity, combined with the required alertness, a perfect rein, coupled with years of actual work, produce that rarest of range mounts—the cutting horse.
    • 1953 April 13, "Sport: Cutting Horse," Time (retrieved 8 May 2014):
      A cutting horse needs high spirits and a high I.Q. His highly specialized ranch job is to nose into a herd and cut away calves marked for market.
    • 2006 Jan. 2, Verlyn Klinkenborg, "The Rural Life: Magnus," New York Times (retrieved 8 May 2014):
      [T]he other day Magnus, our 300-pound Tamworth boar, got out. . . . Remedy, the retired cutting horse, cut left and right, agile as a cat, flaring and snorting, to keep Magnus at bay.