Very similar to cutting, the main difference is Reined Cow Horses are shown with two hands in both the futurity and derby classes. Unlike cutting, reined cow horses must also be trained and perform in two additional events, much like a triathelon
Each horse and rider has 2 minutes, 30 seconds to seperate a single cow from a herd of cattle. The horse and rider then demonstrate the horses ability to keep the single cow from returning to the herd by physical intervention. That is the horse, with little or no direction from the rider, should mirror the movements of the cow, physically blocking the cows return path to the herd. The riders job is to hang on and stay out of the horses way
Each horse and rider should seperate and hold at least two cattle from the herd, three is typical.
In addition to the contestant, two herd holders and two turn back riders are in the arena to manage the main herd as the horse and rider cut the cow.
Horse and rider are scored by a judging panel of from one to five judges. The score is based on several factors including difficulty of he cut, maintaining working advantage, eye appeal and maintaining control of the cow.